Theme: Vindication for Righteousness
This week’s lessons teach us that it is in Christ that God’s people confidently stand, and what the fruits are that mark one on this level ground.
Scripture: Psalm 26:1-12
At first glance the word “vindicate” suggests a desire to be shown to be right over against other people. But as I read this psalm I sense that it is not David’s reputation in the eyes of other people that concerns him but rather God’s vindication of the rightness of a devout and moral life. In other words, it is not his own reputation but God’s reputation that he covets. He has been trying to obey God. He is surrounded by many who think that he is foolish, just as we are surrounded by similar mockers of righteousness today. What he is asking is that God will show by the quality and steadiness of his life that a moral life is always best—for the sake of God’s own honor and for the good of those who may be looking on.
This is how the three major themes of the prayer come together. They are: 1) a plea for vindication; 2) the claim that he has led an upright life; and 3) confidence that in the end he will be found standing when the bad moral choices of others have caused them to be swept away.
We need a lot more of this kind of thinking today. Many of today’s Christians think that all that is needed for an effective Christian witness before the world is a proper presentation of gospel facts and doctrine. In other words, that all we need is words. I believe in words. I also believe that the element that is most missing in our day is sound teaching. We need teaching, teaching and then more teaching. That is what David was asking for in Psalm 25 (“teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me”). But what I am saying here is that we need something in addition. We need people who have been taught who then also walk in that way so that they demonstrate to unbelievers that the path of faith and morality is the happy and successful way to live. The goal is that, when other people’s immorality leads them to disaster, as sin always does, they might then look around and see those whose lives are working well and be directed to God by those examples.
So here is a question. You who profess to be believers in Jesus Christ, are you following in God’s ways so closely that the way of life you profess with your lips is vindicated? Is it clear to an impartial observer that your way of life is better than those of the ungodly?
If that is not the case, then you need to become more serious about the Bible’s teaching and begin to walk in God’s ways more closely. If you are a Christian, you know that the problem does not lie in God or the teachings of the Bible but in your own lack of faith, devotion and obedience. And you should pray for God’s testing, trying and examination, with the goal of a godly life, as David expressed it in another of his great psalms, Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (vv. 23, 24). If that is the goal of the testing, then the confidence that results will be without presumption since you will be reminded of your abiding need to obey and depend on God.
How do we often define the idea of vindication? Explain “vindication” as it is used by David in this psalm?
Besides faithful teaching, what else is needed for an effective witness?
Application: In what ways do you need to follow the Lord more closely? Pray for spiritual insight and the grace to obey.