The Righteous One’s Resolution to be Pure

a brief study of Psalm 26, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 11 Dec 2006

Psalm 26 may be known as the Righteous One’s song of resolution to be pure and holy. When you read this song you will realize that the singer appeals very much to his own integrity and righteousness.

Verse 1 opens with “Judge me, O LORD: for I have walked in mine integrity.” Verse 6 reads, “I will wash mine hands in innocency,” and verse 11: “I will walk in mine integrity.”

Now, these words were written by David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As a man who sought after God’s own heart, David could, of course use these words to describe himself. Yes, he did sin grievously against the Lord on a number of occasions. But if you look at his life as a whole, you will see that he was indeed a man of integrity who walked in innocence.

And so too should every Christian be! But if we are honest with ourselves, we will find that there are many times when we will not be able to sing those words to refer to ourselves without any reservation.

The only man who can use these words with a clear conscience at all times is our Lord himself.

The rest of us can only use these words honestly because we are united to Him as our head. We can only sing these words in the knowledge that the righteousness of Christ covers us and that God does not deal with us according to our sin for He looks at us as a people covered with the righteousness of Christ.

So as Andrew Bonar puts it:

In this psalm, “our head speaks… as well as His members. We may consider Him as teaching His members to take up his words, and address them to the Father in His name.”

With this in mind, we shall, in this study, look at this psalm as the words of Christ, taking Christ to be the primary speaker in this psalm.

We may break this Psalm into 4 parts:

· Verse 1-3­­­­­­­­­­­­-The Lord’s Reflection.

· Verse 4-8-The Lord’s Resolve.

· Verse 9-10-The Lord’s Request.

· Verse 11-The Lord’s Repose.

1. The Lord’s Reflection

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.

Our Lord was tempted at all points like as we are, yet without sin.…

…And it was not just that He did not sin outwardly. He did not sin in deeds, words and thoughts.

This is why He could ask the father to examine Him: to certify that He is indeed walking in integrity and not hypocrisy. Our Lord was truly a man without guile, a man who says what he means and means what he says. Never did he say something to flatter anyone when in his heart he thought another.

As believers we must imitate the Lord. Though we fail, we too must desire to be pure. For this purpose, we should examine ourselves. And we should ask the Lord to examine us. Of course, unlike the Lord, we should ask the Father to examine us not so much to certify us, as to lead us in the way of truth.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24)

But in any case, our attitude should be as the Lord’s attitude as expressed in the reason for wanting to be examined:

3 For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.

The Lord requests for examination because He desires to live a life of gratitude occasioned by this knowledge of the covenant lovingkindness of the Father.

Beloved brethren and children, how often do you think about God’s lovingkindness? And when you do so, do you ask the Lord to examine yourself? How often do you take heed to repent and walk in the right way when the Spirit through your conscience points you to the right way?

3 Let us imitate the Lord’s example. Let us think about God’s covenant lovingkindness toward us, and when we do so, let us examine ourselves to see how we have ungratefully fallen short of His expectation; and then seek the help of His spirit to turn back to the way of truth.

And let us, secondly, follow the lord’s example in His resolution to keep Himself pure and holy.

2. The Lord’s Resolve

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:

We have seen this attitude in psalm 1. Our Lord does not look at holiness as a subjective thing. He calls sin, sin; wickedness, wicked. He does not tell people who are evil-“I love you.” He is not politically correct. He is not a compromiser.

His resolve is that He would be pure. He resolves to keep His hands pure from wicked deeds. So He did not want complicity with anyone who has no regard for purity and holiness.

But why? Why does the Lord so resolve to keep Himself pure?

6b 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.

The Lord’s reason is very simple: He desires to worship the Father with sincerity. He desires to sing the praises of God without hypocrisy. He loves the habitation of God’s house. He does not want to worship God with a cloud over His conscience. For how can He enjoy God if He lives a hypocritical life? The LORD sees through His heart.

So brethren, let us likewise resolve to be pure and holy as the Lord is holy. Each time we come for prayer; each time we come for worship, let us resolve as the Lord did to approach the Father in sincerity.

Only such as approach the Father in sincerity in this life can expect to enjoy worship in the heavenly dwelling of God for all eternity.

And it was because [Christ] lived such a life that he can confidently approach the Father.

3. The Lord’s Request

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.

As He lived a righteous life, the Lord desired to die a righteous death. He petitions, therefore, the Father not to take away His soul or life in the manner and occasion when He would judge the wicked such as at war or natural calamity.

Our Lord is not saying (you must realize) that He does not want to die with the wicked by His side. For as Isaiah would prophesy 300 years after this psalm was written, the Lord would make His grave with the wicked. He would, in particular, die between two malefactors. One of them would indeed repent, but the other would remain to his last breath a wicked blasphemer.

No, no: the Lord was asking to be looked upon uniquely.

11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

He recognizes that sometimes God in His wrath will sweep a multitude of people into eternity in a moment. Sometime the children of God are caught up in the disasters too. Is it an earthquake, a tsunami, a typhoon or a hurricane or a terrorist act? The child of God who lives distinctly from the wicked has the privilege of asking to be delivered from such a mass destruction.

Think of Noah’s flood: how God preserved Noah. Think of Sodom and Gomorrah. How Abraham prayed for his nephew Lot and God promised not to destroy the city if only 10 righteous people were found in it. Well, God did destroy the city, but not before pulling Lot and his daughters out.

So, beloved brethren, and children, if you are seeking to walk in the way of the Lord, you need not fear to be swept along with the multitude when God sends His judgment. Cry unto the Lord on the basis of your covenant unto Christ and on the integrity of your own walk. He is a prayer hearing God.

It is in this confidence that the Lord has His repose or rest.

4. The Lord’s Repose

12 My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.

Because the Lord was perfectly righteous in His earthly ministry, He could not fall. His foot stood firm, as it were on level ground. He knew that He would enjoy the eternal worship that the great congregation of God’s people would enjoy for all eternity.

As a people united to Christ, we too can share in this confidence. As long as we are walking in integrity and trusting the Lord (v. 1), our feet will be on level ground. We shall not slide and fall.

Yes, today we may still fall because of the remnant of corruption that is in us. But one day, we shall be made perfectly righteous: then we shall never fall, and we shall ever enjoy worshipping the Lord in the great congregation of the Lord.


Beloved brethren and children, what is this psalm to you? We have seen in this psalm the Lord’s reflection, resolve, request and repose in respect to a holy and pure walk.

We see the Lord reflecting on His own life. We see Him resolving to be holy. We see Him requesting the Father to treat Him according to His integrity. We see Him resting in the confidence that all will be well for Him.

What is this psalm to you? I hope it is not merely an interesting psalm about the Lord. I hope that as we consider the Lord’s life and attitudes, we may examine ourselves against His example and see if we are living the holy life that we should.

Christ our Lord laid down His life for us to redeem us out of a sinful and destructive life, which is neither glorifying to God nor satisfying to us.

The sad thing is that as a swine going back to the mud, we love to go back and wallow in that kind of life rather than seeking to live a life with Christ in the centre—Where our decisions are made according to His word, where our aim is His glory, where our motivation is His love, and where our example is Christ Himself.

May the Lord grant us that as we meditate and sing this psalm, we may be, by the power of the Spirit of Christ, spurred to be holy as He is holy! Amen.

— JJ Lim