Psalms 26: Never a Victim
As a counselor, I often hear people say, “I hate my life.” The person who does this will often question why God is doing this to them. They want their lives to be free of “hassles” or negative influences, and they think that God is playing some sort of sado-masochistic game of “see if you can take it.” They use this as an excuse to turn their back on God and to justify their own sin. When we read Psalm 26, we see something different about David. While he is facing some rather tough trials, his appeal to God is not to stop the trials but rather to protect him in it. Instead of blaming God for his troubles, God is examining his own heart, asking God to do the same and then appealing to God for help in, not removal of, his situation. What a concept! David is learning how to work with God instead of becoming a “God victim.”
In verses 1-2, David is saying “Lord, try my heart.” He says, “Look to see that my heart is trusting you.” David actually asks God to test him and his loyalty to God. In verse 3, David declares that he has always seen God as loving. He believes God’s word is truth. He trusts God.
In verses 4-8, David does something interesting. David tells God that he practices holiness because he loves God. Notice he is not asking God to notice him because he is good. David understands that “holiness” is a response to God’s goodness and not an attempt to get God’s attention. David is not trying to set up a “quid pro quo” or deal with God. Whereby, God is obliged to do what David wants or eliminate “unpleasant” situations. David is very mindful that God does not owe him anything. God is who God is and it is God’s integrity in himself that David trusts.
Notice, near the end of that section in verses 7-8, why David wants to be holy! Therefore, he can be near God. Because David loves trusts and is intimate with God, David practices holiness. Holiness is an effect of his relationship with God, not a cause. Very often, people get that confused. Because they do, they shipwreck their intimacy with God.
In verses 9-12, David again asks God to protect him, but look what David sees as his problem with the sins of others. David is asking God to protect him and redeem him from his own sin. David is not asking God to make his life easy. David is asking God to help him avoid sinning in response to his troubles.
Wow! If we could see our trials as something that helps us grow and makes us stronger, maybe we could stop being miserable and alone. Then we can start to see God like David did. We will see God as our ally and not our enemy.