By Faith, Walk In Integrity / Knowing Christ In Psalm 26

By: A.T. Walker

Psalm 26:1-12

Vindicate me, O Lord,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the Lord;
I shall not slip.
Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.
I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
I have hated the assembly of evildoers,
And will not sit with the wicked.
I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.
Do not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes.
But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;
Redeem me and be merciful to me.
My foot stands in an even place;
In the congregations I will bless the Lord.

David begins with a plea for Yahweh to judge him, to see the false accusations being brought against him and vindicate him. David’s plea of innocence is based on 2 things: Faith and good works. How do we reconcile the fact that David doesn’t separate the two here? David’s external fruit (I have walked in my integrity) is evidence of his inward faith (I have also trusted in the Lord). Psalm 35:23-24 says:

Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication,
To my cause, my God and my Lord.
Vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness;
And let them not rejoice over me.

Here, David is vindicated, not because he has been judged by his own righteousness but by the righteousness of God. David is calling upon his God for mercy. Hebrews 4:16 says:

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”

So David is being judged and vindicated by a righteousness that is not his own, one that was granted to him by mercy, one that was imputed to him by Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says:

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Jesus is the only one who could face the judgement of God and be declared innocent, but for our sakes He was condemned. Look at what David says here:

Do not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes.

David is crying out to God for mercy so that he will not be treated like Jesus was treated. Jesus was condemned to die a sinners death and was brutally murdered by the hands of bloodthirsty men. This was all part of a sinister scheme, which began by paying Judas thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus. David is aware he deserves this death. We all do. Our only hope is that God shows us mercy, and He has in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus Christ. Now, because of this, we can be judged by God and be declared righteous by, in, and through Jesus. Because the innocent One was declared guilty, the guilty ones are declared innocent. It is because of him that we can walk in integrity, that we can recognize evil and run from it, and that we can wash our hands in innocence. What is the response of one who understands this?

I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.

Worship and a desire for God. A heart that has trusted the Lord will not be satisfied with idolatrous mortals and hypocrites, or as the NASB puts it “I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders”. Sadly, as long as evil exists, there will be a crowd, an assembly, a congregation of evildoers. By the work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8…yes, read all of it!) we do not have to sit with the wicked and be swept away with them, but rather we can flee from them and we can approach the throne of grace and find mercy

But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;
Redeem me and be merciful to me.
My foot stands in an even place;
In the congregations I will bless the Lord.

We see again this collision between faith and good works. David declares again that he will not be like the evildoers, but will walk in integrity. This is immediately followed by a cry for the Lord to be merciful and redeem him. How do these two ideas coexist in the same believer’s body? Spurgeon explains:

“See again, my beloved, how in the Christian’s practice good works and faith are seen happily blended. He declares that he will walk in his integrity, but still, still note, he prays as one that is conscious of a thousand imperfections-“Redeem me and be merciful unto me.” We do rest on Christ alone, but still we desire to walk in holiness with as much exactness as though our salvation depended upon our good works.”

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. But as Martin Luther said, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” There will be evidence of true faith. The Spirit will bear fruit. Because the Father had mercy, I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will lead me to walk in integrity. I can be assured that my foot stands on level ground, a solid rock. Isaiah 28:16 says:

“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.”

Unsure if you’re standing on the Rock?
Cry out to the Father for mercy
Ask for the righteousness of Christ
Turn from evil and walk in the Spirit

“We shall be judged according to our works – this is why we are exhorted to do good works. The Bible assuredly knows nothing of those qualms about good works, by which we only try to excuse ourselves and justify our evil works. The Bible never draws the antithesis between faith and good works so sharply as to maintain that good works undermine faith. No, it is evil works rather than good works which hinder and destroy faith. Grace and active obedience are complementary. There is no faith without good works, and no good works apart from faith.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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