On first reading this Psalm can seem arrogant, ‘look God how good I am so please look after me.’ However this is far from the truth. In this Psalm David asks God to examine his desires, thinking processes and actions.
How comfortable are we saying a prayer like that?
The exact reason for David’s desire to have God reassure him of his goodness, protection and eternal security is not given. But this only adds to the timelessness of the Psalm. The Psalm is in couplets with the same idea either repeated or expanded in the second line of each verse. David is living in a world were there are godless people around him and he desires not to be mixed up with them or be judged as one of them. In verse 1 & 2, David asks God to examine him and agree with him that his motives (trust) and actions (led a blameless life) are godly. He then paints a picture of what this has looked like in his life. Verse 3. He has kept in the front of his mind God’s love and faithfulness. Verses 4 & 5 this has led to not associating socially or forming work alliances with those who speak lies, say one thing and do another, or who plan evil.
Such places might have been at the city gates or market squares with groups of people sitting around planning business deals or other activities. David says he actively chooses to keep clear of those with godless intent. In our setting today, if we picture rebel bikie gangs planning hits on people or drug deals planned in dark pub corners we may feel clean. But we don’t have to go out and collude face to face with evildoers, with the internet, tablets, ipads, smartphones, TV, and magazines we can collude with nameless others in the privacy of our own homes or work places and engage with all manner of godless activities that pollute our hearts and minds. Are we as confident as David in declaring pure hearts?
David goes on the say what he does enjoy in verses 6-8, being where his salvation lies, at the altar, in God’s presence. His joy is in telling others of God’s wonderful activity.
Do we rejoice in being in God’s presence? It is no longer a physical place, but in our hearts, our bodies are the temple where the Spirit of God dwells (1 Cor 6:19), and God is especially present when his people gather together (Matt 18:20). Do we have the same passion as David did for being in God’s presence, for example; in our own quiet times, bible study, or in church?
David’s plea to God in verses 9 to 11 reveals his reliance on God’s grace and mercy in leading a godly life and his eternal salvation. The reality of the evil world he lives in and their eternal destruction of the wicked is a fact to David, and he is asking God to remember he is walking in integrity on level ground. David walks the talk and has a confidence in God’s mercy towards him.
Interesting that a large part of godly integrity results in praising God in the community of God’s people (verses 7,8 & 12).
Some see this Psalm a prophetic, David speaking of the future Messianic King to come, Jesus Christ who can claim perfect obedience and trust in his heavenly Father. So we who have put our trust in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, have his perfect life credited to ourselves see Romans 4:4-8,11,23. So we can confidently say, “I have trusted the Lord without wavering…I walk continually in your truth.”
Romans 5: 9-11, 8:1-4, if Christ died for us while we were an enemy how much more confidence can we have in his salvation and assistance now that we are reconciled.
How immense and wonderful is the love and grace of God toward us.
Lord give us a heart that shuns evil influences and desires to be honest with you, to walk with godly integrity, praising you for your gift of a righteous life.