A Psalm of David
1 Judge me, O LORD: for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD: therefore I shall not slide.
2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me: try my reins and my heart.
3 For Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in Thy truth.
4 I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.
5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers: and will not sit with the wicked.
6 I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass Thine altar, O LORD:
7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Thy wondrous works.
8 LORD, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thine honour dwelleth.
9 Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:
10 In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.
12 My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.
David puts the test to his relationship with God.
Where does your relationship with God stand? What does the relationship look like? By nature, we are enemies with God, but the Christian is reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. But sometimes doubts overwhelm us and it is hard to tell where our relationship stands with God. We may be assailed by the accusations of the devil himself, or we may be the objects of slander and lies from other men, making us question our standing before God. As Christians, we know that we can appeal to the Judge of the whole earth at any time. We run to Him for our salvation and our vindication resting in His declaration of our innocence.
Verse 1. In order to properly understand this psalm, you need to picture David standing in the court room of God Himself. God is the highest Judge of all and it really doesn’t matter how all the judges of the earth perceive us. It is our relationship with this Judge that matters most of all. That is why David begins the psalm with a cry to Yahweh, “Vindicate me!”
Formulating a plea in this judicial setting, David points out both his faith and his walk as considerations in the court decision. Much controversy has raged over the last thousand years in the Christian church as to whether we are justified by faith or by works. Here David points to both, but we must be careful to bring other Scriptures to bear for the sake of clarity. James tells us that faith and works are intimately connected just as the body and soul are connected and it would be utterly impossible to have one without the other (Jam. 2:26). Any living person has both a body and a soul. Therefore, works are not only a clear indication of the presence of faith but they are intimately and inseparably connected to faith even as the physical body is intertwined together with the invisible soul. Faith and works are distinct, but never separate.
While Paul tells us that we are justified by faith without involving works (Rom. 3:28), we must also conclude that it is impossible to have faith without a faithful thought, word, or action. So David is right on the mark when he refers to both his faith and works as he defines his relationship with God and lays claim to his participation in the covenant.
He is not, of course, pointing to sinless perfection, otherwise he would not need God’s redemption and mercy (v. 11), but he does point to his walk in the good way. A man of faith is known by the direction of his walk, the general inclination of his heart. He is set on the “upright” course. Can you say this of yourself?
Verses 2–3. Now David invites Yahweh to test his heart and mind as to that inclination. To submit yourself to the examination of God can be a little frightening. Will He really find a heart that loves God and intends to serve Him? Indeed, the only reason that David can submit himself to such scrutiny is because his eyes are fixed on the faithfulness and goodness of God. Again, faith (“Your lovingkindness is before mine eyes”) and obedience (“I have walked in your truth”) are both mentioned.
Verses 4–8. Now David gives evidence for the direction of his heart. What we love is a great indicator of our relationship with God. For example, he does not enjoy the company of evil men. He does not sit with them nor does he spend a great deal of time with them. In other places the Bible warns us about companionship with ungodly men (1 Cor. 15:33). This is typically the first sign that a young man or woman raised in a Christian home does not love God: they are drawn to the companionship of those who hate God.
Conversely, he enjoys being in the house of God (v. 8), which we interpret to mean the congregation of the church. As he approaches the altar (v. 6), he comes with confidence, knowing that his confessed sins are forgiven by the mercy of God. Moreover, he loves to declare the praises of God and render thanksgiving for all of His goodness. David enjoys being in a place where the saints are gathered to worship, honor, and praise God. Where do you like to be? If you think about it, this is a good indication of the direction of your heart.
Verses 9–12. In these verses, we find David’s appeal. His concern is his final destination as he cries out to God, “Do not drag off my soul to the trash heap where you take the sinners and the bloody men. Please do not take me off to hell.” He cries out for God’s redemption and mercy. If you study the use of the word “redeem” in the Old Testament, you know that redemption is salvation from slavery and death, usually accomplished by the payment of a redemption price. Here we must conclude that David knows his salvation does not rest upon his works but upon the redemption price that God Himself will pay.
He will continue to walk in humility, trust, and obedience to God. This is his commitment. This position of integrity is a position of safety. It is an even place, a place of surety, and a place where we can hold on to God’s promises. It is a place where our feet will not slip. The Psalmist ends with a call to praise: “In the congregation of the saints (the church) I will bless the Lord!”
We must live our lives in faith and obedience to God’s ways. We are either growing and walking in God’s ways or we are wandering out of God’s ways. When we are wandering and we are not true to the covenant, we will lose our confidence and assurance. Our feet will be prone to slip. Therefore, we must trust in Christ and commit to walking in His ways. With a commitment like this, we will be confident and assured of God’s protection and salvation.
1. First, this teaches us about a proper attitude towards worship. The Christian loves the church or the congregation of the saints. The high point of his life, the high point of his week, is thanking, praising, and blessing God in the church.
2. Secondly, worship includes public testimony of our commitment to the Lord as well as a call for God’s help and vindication or justification of His saints in the face of ungodly accusers.
1. Give two examples of Faith psalms.
2. What is the relationship between faith and obedience?
3. What is redemption and who must provide it?
4. What is the Psalmist’s attitude towards God’s worship?
5. Give two examples of Messianic psalms.
6. Which psalm says, “For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell: neither wilt Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption”?
1. How do you know if you have a right relationship with God?
2. What is the high point of your week? Can you say, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house”?