A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I think of that quote as I read Psalm 26.
What comes to your mind when you think of God’s reaction to these words?
“Vindicate me, Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered. Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.” – Psalm 26:1-3
Me? I see God sitting in a chair with His arms crossed, rolling His eyes. I hear Him respond, “Don’t you know that I am an all-knowing God? You are calling yourself blameless? How could you be so self-righteous? Seriously. Show a little humility next time.”
I have always struggled with these kinds of psalms. It’s hard to understand how someone can claim blamelessness.
But perhaps it’s not the Psalm, but my view of God, that is skewed.
It’s true, God is a righteous, holy, and all-knowing Judge. He understands the depths of our sinfulness. In fact, He recognizes it more than we do.
But God is also a loving Father who wants to receive affection from His children.
I think of times I ask my son to do something, like clean up after himself. If he runs to me and says, “Mommy, mommy, come look at the play room! I worked my hardest. I did what you asked me to. I picked up all my toys.” How would I respond?
Would I say, “Hmm, I’m not sure you worked your hardest. You could have done it faster. And look, you even missed a few over in this corner. You said you picked up all your toys. That’s not true. You missed some.”
No way. Absolutely not.
My primary concern is not my child’s precision in following instructions. I care most about his heart. I hope to see a posture of obedience that shows his respect and a desire to follow through that demonstrates his love.
I would accept my child’s enthusiastic declaration of obedience as a demonstration of his love.
And I believe that’s what God does with these kinds of Psalms.
The words of this Psalm are not untruthful. Or inauthentic. If I get past the language that initially rubs me the wrong way, I see that Psalm 26 can be inspiring.
It reminds me that the most important part of obedience is the posture of my heart. And it calls me to boldly declare my faithfulness to God is an act of love and worship.
“My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.” – Psalm 26:12
What do you think of this kind of language in the Psalms? How do you picture God reacting to it?
Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could meditate on it, whether that takes us through inspiring or frustrating territory.