Theme: The Christian’s Confidence
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
During World War II a young soldier from a very wealthy and sophisticated Philadelphia family became a Christian, and when his time of service was over and he was about to go home he expressed concern that his old acquaintances would soon draw him back into the immoral life he had led before entering the army. His pastor advised him to give a testimony concerning his conversion to the first ten of his old friends he should meet. “If you speak about Jesus, either they will become converted themselves or they will drop you; you will not have to drop them,” he was told.
This is what the young man did. “The most wonderful thing has happened to me,” he said to the first and then to the second and third of his old friends. “I have received Jesus Christ as my Savior.” It was not long before word got around that he was “strange” since he had come back from fighting, and his friends began to stay away from him. He testified that it was a joyful and strengthening experience to be thus identified with the Lord Jesus Christ and his righteousness.
4. Love for God’s house (v. 8). The final practical element in David’s prescription for how to walk in God’s ways and live a blameless life is to love God’s house which, I presume, also has to do with loving to be with God’s people. David states this in verse 8, which says, “I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.” Putting this against what we have already seen to have been David’s heart desires, we find him choosing the company of God’s people rather than the company of sinners and the glory of God rather than the way of wickedness. We have a saying: “Bad company corrupts good character.” It is true. But it is equally true that good company develops it. If you want to grow in righteousness, you need to spend time with God and with those who are striving to model morality.
If we have had any doubts about the possible self-righteousness of the psalmist, it should be dispelled by the prayer’s closing stanza. For in it David pleads for redemption and a mercy that will spare him from the fate of sinners at the final judgment.
It is an interesting way of speaking. David has separated himself from those who are wicked in this life; now he wants God to separate him from them also in the judgment. “Do not take away my soul along with sinners or my life with bloodthirsty men; . . . redeem me and be merciful to me,” he says. Will God do it? Of course, he will, which is why David comes to the level ground of confidence he occupies in the concluding couplet. It is why you and I can have confidence too, if we are trusting in God, as David was.
Here is the way that great prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, put it:
If you have prayed this prayer, if your character be rightly described in the psalm before us, be not afraid that you ever shall be gathered with sinners. Have you the two things that David had—the outward walking in integrity and the inward trusting in the Lord? Do you endeavor to make your outward conduct and conversation conformable to the example of Christ? Would you scorn to be dishonest toward men or to be undevout toward God? At the same time, are you resting upon Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and can you compass the altar of God with humble hope? If so, then rest assured, with the wicked you never shall be gathered….but [your] feet shall stand in the congregation of the righteous in the day when the wicked are cast away for ever.5
That is a great confidence. It was the confidence of the psalmist, and it should be the confidence of each of us too.
Based on biblical teaching, what are we to make of someone who claims to be a Christian, yet they have no desire to go to church to worship God, fellowship with his people, or hear his Word proclaimed?
What is David asking God to do in verses 9-11?
Application: Are you striving after holiness with the same intensity that we observe in this psalm?
Key Point: We have a saying: “Bad company corrupts good character.” It is true. But it is equally true that good company develops it. If you want to grow in righteousness, you need to spend time with God and with those who are striving to model morality.
For Further Study: To learn more about what it means to live righteously, download and listen for free to Donald Barnhouse’s message, “Walking with God.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)
5Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Saint’s Horror at the Sinner’s Hell” in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 9 (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, 1969), pp. 454, 455.