PSALMS 26, 27 AND 28
All three of these Psalms were written by David, and it is believed that all three were written around the same time possibly during the conflict between Absalom and David.
In Psalm 26, David seems to have been accused of hypocrisy, and he wants God to test him and judge his integrity. In fact, the main theme in this Psalm is integrity. Some good definitions of integrity are:
In other words, a Christian who has integrity is not perfect but is committed to serving God with a dedicated and honest attitude without compromising Godís truth.
Psalm 26:1 A Psalm of David. Vindicate me, O LORD, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip.† 2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.† 3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth.†
David feels confident that he has been faithful to God, and he wants God to judge him based on his integrity. David is not claiming that he is perfect, but he is sincere and is doing his best to walk in the way of righteousness. Even though he stumbled from time to time and was constantly surrounded by enemies, he always kept his trust in God and felt like he would never slip in this area.
We are fortunate to have a God we can trust in and know that He will always be there for us even though we are not perfect. But I wonder how many of us would be confident enough to ask God to examine us and to prove our faithfulness? Not only did David want God to examine his actions, but also his mind and heart. In other words, his deepest thoughts would be open for examination.
As you think about your spiritual condition right now, how do you think you would fare by you actions and your thoughts? Sometimes it easy for us to control our actions, but controlling our thoughts is much more challenging, but we can have integrity in our thoughts just like David did by keeping Godís lovingkindness before our eyes and by walking in the truth. As Paul said, we must learn to
2 Corinthians 10:5 †bringÖ every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Our thoughts should be the first thing we try to conquer because once you control your thoughts, you will have no problems with your actions.
Psalm 26:4 I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites.† 5 I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked.†
David starts by stating what he hasnít done. He hasnít stayed around those who practice falsehood and are full of hypocrisy because he knew the more time you spend around those who practice evil or play the hypocrite, the more they will rub off on you. In fact, he made up his mind that he would hate the evil way, which is why he could not stand it when evil men would assembly and plot vain things. He would not even sit with the wicked.
This attitude that we should have today as well. We should not linger around sinful people, and we should learn to hate sin, but not the sinner. We are taught in the NT to mark those who cause division in the church and avoid them (Rom. 16:17). Also, Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person.
If we want to learn to keep our integrity in tact, then we must take heed to this advice and stay away from the evil way and from those Christians who are intent to live in sin.
Psalm 26:6 I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O LORD,† 7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.† 8 LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells.† 9 Do not gather my soul with sinners, Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,† 10 In whose hands is a sinister scheme, And whose right hand is full of bribes.
Washing you hands was a sign of innocence. If you remember this is what Pilate did to show his supposed innocence in crucifying Jesus (Mt. 27:24). Unlike Pilate, David could proclaim his innocence because of his sincere heart. He would approach the alter to praise God for His wonderful works and offer up thanks to Him. In the Psalm and other Psalms, David has always found great joy in being in the house of God because He knew Godís glory was there.
Every Christian should have this same attitude when it comes to worshipping God, because when we assembly as the body of Christ, Jesus is there. What greater joy could we have in being in full fellowship with God and sharing that experience with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Like David, we should take every opportunity we have to proclaim the goodness of God and the mighty works He has done in our behalf.
Since David was a faithful servant of God, He doesnít want God to lump him in with the sinners of this world, and we know from our Bibles that the faithful will not be treated the same as the wicked because they will be separated. The faithful will receive the blessing of heaven, and the wicked the torments of hell (Mt. 25).
David ends this Psalm by saying:
Psalm 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; Redeem me and be merciful to me.† 12 My foot stands in an even place; In the congregations I will bless the LORD.†
Whatever happens to him, he is determined to keep his integrity for the rest of his life. He asked God to redeem him and be merciful to Him. I have no doubt that David knew that God would do this for him. Because of his trust in the Lord, he was able to have stability in his life because both of his feet were squarely planted in his trust in God, and he will never stop praising God in the assemblies.
As Christians, we can take comfort knowing that God will redeem us and be merciful to us when we keep our integrity. Like David, we can have stability in our life we learn to trust in God as he did, and it should cause us to never stop praising God in the assembly of the saints.
In Psalm 27, David starts out expressing his faith in God and then talks about the fear of his enemy and then goes back to his faith in God. This Psalm captures the emotions that we can go through from time to time. Even though we know we can trust in God and that He will be there for us, we may allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with fear or some other emotions and the only thing that will prevent that emotion from consuming us is by remembering our faith in God.
Psalm 27:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?† 2 When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell.† 3 Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident.
As far as I know, this is the only place in the OT where God is called the light. When I think about God being our light, I think of warmth, comfort, and being able to see things with clarity. Of the course opposite of that is darkness, which causes me to think of cold, fear, and not ever being able to see anything clearly, which we should all prefer the light over darkness. God is also our salvation, which is why David said He would not fear. He knows how powerful God is, and he witness first hand how God has made it possible for him to be victorious over his enemies, so when conflict arises, he will be confident in the Lord.
Every Christians must learn to have this type of faith in God. We must realize that while man may destroy our body, they cannot touch our soul, so donít ever give over to fear because our God is bigger and stronger than any enemy we way may face in this life. David understood this more than anyone because he faced his giants including a literal one, and he won because of his trust in God.
Psalm 27:4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.† 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.† 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
David greatest desire is to be in the presences of God and to remain before Him forever and behold His beauty. Again, this is the attitude that every Christian should have. We should all desire to be in the presences of God and enjoy every minute of time we spend in worshipping Him. If being in Godís presences doesnít bring joy into your hearts, then you might not be as committed to God as you think you are.
As long as David remained faithful to God, he believed God would protect him. He knew that he would still have to go through trials and tribulation, but in the end, He knew God would make things work out for the best. Since he had this kind of trust, he knew in his mind that he would be able to lift his head high above enemies because they would not be able to defeat him with God on his side.
Since God would continue to bless him against his enemies, he would continue to offer sacrifices of joy to Lord and continue to praise Him for all that he does. We should do the same because God is working in our lives, and if we will trust in Him, we can hold our head high over our enemy the devil, and when think about what God has done for us and is doing for us right now, we should want to express our joy to Him and continually praise Him for being our God.
Psalm 27:7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.† 8 When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek."† 9 Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.† 10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.
Davidís mood changes here as he petitions God to hear his voice when he cries out to Him. One of his greatest fears was that God would depart from him. Again, this would fit well with the situation of his son Absalom and how tried to depart from him and rise up against him. David feels like everyone has abandoned him, but even if his own mother and father forsake him, he feels confident that the Lord will be there for him and take care of him.
This thought should strengthen our faith because we can know that if everyone abandons us and treats us like dirt, God will still be there. He will be our shinning beacon of hope and greatest fear should be losing our connection with God, but we donít have to worry about that as long as we keep walking in the light and seeking His face.
Psalm 27:11 Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.† 12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.† 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.† 14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!
David understood the importance of keeping Godís Law and he wants to make sure that he is being led by it. Oh, how I wish more people today understood the importance of Godís Word and how vital it is to our salvation. If more people would use Godís Word as their authority and guide, there would not be so much religious confusion. One of our goals as Christian should be to let Godís Word dwell in our hears and we should pray for wisdom that we might understand it better and have the desire to live by it because when we do we can defeat our enemy the devil.
David makes it clear that if he didnít have his faith in God, he would have given up along time a go, but he is confident that he will see the goodness of God, which why he is able to continue with his battles because he willing to wait on the Lord. I love the encouraging message he ends his Psalm with: Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!
No matter how hard our lives becomes, we can still hold our head high knowing that God is with us and will be there for us. So, I hope all of us realize what a privilege we have to have a God that loves us and will take care of us. Knowing this should cause us to be of good courage and be able to wait on the Lordís timing to help us.
In Psalm 28, David makes an urgent plea to God in his time of distress.
Psalm 28:1 A Psalm of David. To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.† 2 Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
God is described as a rock 33 times in the OT, which gives us the idea of something solid and dependable. David cries out to God for him to answer his prayer. He does not want God to be silent because if He does not answer his prayer by helping him against his enemy, then he knows that he is as good as dead.
Could you imagine not having the ability to be heard by God or to know that if you prayed, that God would never answer your prayer? To me, that would be devastating, but thankful, we know from Scripture that God does hear us and answers our prayers, but it is on His timing and not ours.
When David lifts his hands in prayer, this is not emphasizing his posture, but the sincerity of his heart as he pleads to God. This similar to the idea found in:
1 Timothy 2:8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;
When we pray to God, no matter what our posture may be, we need to have sincere hearts and pray without doubting knowing that God is our rock and we can rely on Him.
Psalm 28:3 Do not take me away with the wicked And with the workers of iniquity, Who speak peace to their neighbors, But evil is in their hearts.† 4 Give them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve.† 5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD, Nor the operation of His hands, He shall destroy them And not build them up.†
David does not want to be lumped in with these wicked people because he is nothing like them. He describes how wicked they are in their heart because they will say one thing to their neighbor, but their heart will not match up with what they say. We have all known people like this that try put up a front, but deep down, they are wicked through and through. As Jesus said,
Luke 6:44 "For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.† 45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
The wicked can only pretend for so long before they let there true colors come through. David wants these wicked people to be given a just punishment for their wicked deeds, and he doesnít believe they deserve to continue on because they have set themselves against God.
Like David, we should do everything in our power to distinguish ourselves from those of the world. We must not act like them or participate in their evil deeds. The last thing we should want is to look like them and then be punished with them by God, but this will not happen as long as we remain faithful to the Lord.
Psalm 28:6 Blessed be the LORD, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!† 7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.† 8 The LORD is their strength, And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.† 9 Save Your people, And bless Your inheritance; Shepherd them also, And bear them up forever.
David ends this Psalm with great confidence in God. He has no doubt that God heard his voice and will answer his prayer. He knows that God is his strength and shield because he has seen God work in his life already, and he knows He will continue to help him in battles against his wicked enemies. When David thought about God, it always moved him to praise Him in song. As an anointed king of God, he also prayed for his nation that they might be blessed and that God would continue to protect them forever as a Shepherd protects its flock.
These three Psalms have taught the importance of keeping our integrity by standing firm in Godís Word and by trusting in Godís timing. Even when we allow emotions to run wild, we gain control of them by remembering our faith in God and His ability to supply us with strength. No matter how big our enemy might be, they donít stand a chance against God and we can rest assured that when we pray God hears our prayer and will answer it in accordance with His will.