Psalms of Honesty and Truth
I don’t know all the reasons why, but I have always loved going to church since I was a little girl. Like David, I loved being in a building that was designed and dedicated for worship of our living God. It’s not that I left God there at that building, but it gave me renewed faith that after meeting Him and worshiping Him that He would then go with me wherever I went.
I was taught early in my life that I was to dress my best when meeting the Lord at church. Yes, I grew up in the days of dress your best. This meant a Saturday night scrub and soak in the bath, curlers in my hair that were put on my head by mom. I would sit in the floor, watching Bonanza, while she did this meticulous operation. It also meant putting on stiff shoes, (I went barefoot a lot in the summers), wearing the scratchy can can slip under an even more uncomfortable dress. But I did it, out of respect for my mom.
I then would watch her get dressed in her best after dressing me. As I watched her put on the final touch of lipstick, she would always ask, “Do I look okay, is there lipstick on my teeth?” She always worried about that because she had a bit of an overbite and her coloring would sometimes slip to her front teeth. I was the designated inspector before we went out the door for church.
Dad always worn his suit. He would overdo the smelly aftershave, but I loved his scent of Avon. Being a blue collar worker who wore jeans and old shirts all week to work as an electrician on Tinker Air Force base, I think it made him feel better to clean up each week and look his best.
So, why am I telling you this? I am rambling about my past because somewhere along the way, our attitudes and preparation of coming into the sanctuary together, dedicated to bring God into focus, seemed to have slip. The pendulum of thinking has gone from dressing our best to anything goes. I understand that we want people to know they do not have to “dress the part of church goer”. I understand that scripture that says don’t play favorites and don’t look down on a beggar who enters the sanctuary and might not have the right clothes to wear…but in whose minds? Now, we look down on those who wear more than our work jeans or shorts to church. The pendulum has swung the other way. I have been to Haiti many times. This is one of the poorest countries, but people come into the sanctuary, in their best, coming barefoot to protect their shoes from the dust, and then put those good shoes on before entering the doors. Wow. Respect. Honor. Integrity.
It is a proven fact that our attitude of dress affects our attitude at work. Many articles have been written about coming to work without bathing, in our sloppy, sometimes unwashed clothes bring in an attitude of not caring what kind of work is done . I am not suggesting that we go back to when I was little and we “dress to the nines”. What I am suggesting is that, like David, who loved coming into the sanctuary, laying his heart bare, and respectfully bowing to God, the Father, that maybe our attitudes might need evaluation before coming into the place where we gather to focus corporately on God. Maybe our coming into the sanctuary with a heart of David’s means preparing our hearts with respect and integrity, with repentant hearts, expecting God to meet us where we are on the journey with Him. God goes in with us, is there to speak to us and then is with us as we go back out into a world who needs Him, too. Mm. Hypocrisy swings both ways, it seems.
This Psalm reveals David’s love for God’s sanctuary (26:6-8; 27:4-7; 28:2), which in David’s day was the tabernacle on Mount Zion. God didn’t permit David to build the temple (2 Sam. 7), but He did give him the plans for the temple and helped him accumulate from the spoils of battle great wealth to provide material for constructing the temple (1 Chron. 22; 28–29). But not all who gathered to worship at the sanctuary were sincere in their walk or their worship, and some of them were openly disobedient and spread lies about the king. It was this situation that led to the writing of this psalm. In it, David makes three requests of the Lord.
1. Vindicate Me.
2. Examine Me.
3. Redeem Me
David couldn’t stop the hypocrites from joining the worshiping congregation, but he could help from becoming like them; so he asked the Lord to deliver him from that sin. “Don’t sweep me away with the wicked!” The sheep and goats and the wheat and tare may be mixed today, but there is coming a day when God will separate them; on that day, the wicked will perish (1:4-6; Matt. 7:21-23; 25:31-46). The godly must constantly beware of the evil influences of the world and especially of those who profess to love God but are using “religion” as a cover-up for their sins. To remain faithful, we must also ask God to be merciful to us and help us maintain our integrity.
A psalm of David.
1 Declare me innocent, O Lord,
for I have acted with integrity;
I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.
Test my motives and my heart.
3 For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to your truth.
4 I do not spend time with liars
or go along with hypocrites.
5 I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
I come to your altar, O Lord,
7 singing a song of thanksgiving
and telling of all your wonders.
8 I love your sanctuary, Lord,
the place where your glorious presence dwells.
9 Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
10 Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
and they constantly take bribes.
11 But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
So redeem me and show me mercy.
12 Now I stand on solid ground,
and I will publicly praise the Lord.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for redeeming me. Now, help me live like a redeemed person who is love first by You. Help me to live with integrity in all I am inside and out, all the days of my life.
In Jesus Name, Amen