Scripture: Psalm 26
Key verses: (1-3, 12)
1 Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
in the great congregation I will bless the LORD.
Reflection: My first reaction to this Psalm is that the writer is sort of full of himself. A little self-righteous. He lifts up his integrity to the Lord. He proclaims his innocence. He insists that he is faithful, and asks God to test, prove, and vindicate him. I don’t like this kind of attitude, most of the time. I tend to assume that we are all in need of God’s grace because we just can’t help ourselves. None of us is blameless. We may try all we want, but our human condition prevents us from being truly righteous on our own.
I love that our worship order helps us remember this. When we come to worship God we begin, rightly, with praise. Recognizing our need for grace, we then move pretty quickly into a call to confession. I know there are folks who don’t like that move, Sunday after Sunday. We sometimes hear that it seems like a bit of a downer, especially so early in the worship service. Or we hear that the prayers of confession don’t really apply to them all the time.
But that proclamation of God’s grace, Sunday after Sunday? The words, ‘You are forgiven” offered to all of us over and over again? That is worth doing! And it can’t really be heard and understood without an honest assessment of our need, both individually and corporately, for that grace.
What I do like about this Psalm is the writer’s insistence that he does everything while attending to God. When he sits, when he stands, when he walks and sings, he tells of God’s wondrous deeds. Perhaps this is a Psalm for one who is just leaving worship. Having confessed his sins, and been forgiven, he is indeed made right with God. Then he goes out to live like it. May we all do the same.
Prayer: Lord, I am not blameless, but I want to follow you. Hear my honest confession. Help me hear your words of grace. Then send me out to live like the forgiven follower I am. In your Son’s name I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].