Vindicate Me, O Lord
Please take a look at Psalm 26 and read the whole Psalm. Here’s how it starts:
“Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.” (NASB)
To ask God to judge us can be both uncomfortable and purging at the same time. It forces a sense of honesty from us and causes us to tear away any wall of hypocrisy. Is that uncomfortable? Yes, but it is also necessary. Paul urged his readers to test themselves:
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor 13:5)
Many other psalms pursue the same basic sentiment:
“The Lord judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:8).
“You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” (Psalm 17:3)
We must constantly evaluate our relationship with God, lest we fall into complacency, taking everything for granted, and just floating along with little thought. Psalm 26 is a good reminder of this.
Taking a look at Psalm 26, notice how well this fits with the way we ought to be thinking and living.
1. See the necessity of God’s judgment and examination (vv. 1-2). The Christian should welcome God’s vindication and judgment. This goes to the very heart and mind. Note Hebrews 4:12-13 where the text moves from the word of God, which can judge the intents of our hearts, to God Himself, before whom all things are laid bare.
2. We must fully trust God if we are going to walk in integrity and faithfulness (v. 1). We cannot fool God into thinking that we are something we are not.
3. We must always keep these two matters before our eyes: A) God’s lovingkindness (kindness, mercy), and B) His truth, so that we may walk in it. Jesus is the ultimate revelation and fulfillment of these qualities, as John said, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
4. We must identify wickedness so that we will separate ourselves from those who practice it (vv. 4-5). See Paul's argument in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 for more on this. We cannot be servants of God while at the same time tying ourselves to wickedness. We must stay separate from the world while striving to influence the world for truth and righteousness.
5. Be prepared to offer sacrifice to God in purity and holiness (v. 6). See Romans 12:1-2 and Hebrews 13:15-16 for the types of sacrifices we are to offer God under Christ. We are living sacrifices who offer up ourselves before God (see also 1 Peter 2:4-5).
6. Serving God also has the goal, not only of personal purity and sacrifice, but also of proclaiming the message to others. We must have the “voice of thanksgiving” and the desire to “declare all Your wonders” (v. 7). God's people are not content to sit on God's truth; they want to share it so that others may also be blessed.
7. God’s people love to be where God is, where His glory dwells, and they love to be with each other (v. 8). The tabernacle and temple represented God’s dwelling among the people. In Christ, we are His temple, and our purpose is to glorify Him (Eph 2:20-22).
8. There is an intense desire for salvation and not wanting to be carried away with the wicked (vv. 9-10). Once again, wickedness is identified and shunned. See Ephesians 5:1-12 for the New Testament counterpart to this point.
9. We must make a full commitment to walking in integrity (v. 11). We cannot expect God to redeem us and be merciful to us if we do not trust Him and commit to truth.
10. Stability is found in God, and once we recognize this, nothing will stop us from blessing and praising His name (v. 12).
But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the great assembly I will bless the Lord. (vv. 11-12)
Psalm 26 is a great reminder of what it means to serve the Lord completely and faithfully. We strive to glorify Him, praise Him, tell others of Him, and maintain personal holiness, offering up ourselves as sacrifices for Him.
While it may be uncomfortable to ask God to judge us, this is exactly what we need to do in order to keep our integrity before Him.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)