Psalm 26:1-12 NKJV
26 Vindicate me, O Lord,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the Lord;
I shall not slip.
2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.
4 I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
5 I have hated the assembly of evildoers,
And will not sit with the wicked.
6 I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.
8 Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.
9 Do not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;
Redeem me and be merciful to me.
12 My foot stands in an even place;
In the congregations I will bless the Lord.
Dr. Luther, in his 1531 “Summaries of the Psalms,” says this: “The 26th Psalm is a psalm of prayer which laments the false saints who want to be godly through the works of the law and who condemn the saints who are godly only through God’s goodness and grace. It accuses the false saints for willingly accepting bribes [v. 10]. For such saints are certainly pure servants of greed, whose God is their stomach, as St. Paul says (Phil 3:19). But with all their spiritual hypocrisy and their worldly glory, they are destructive saints. Therefore, it is good to pray that they may not deceive us.”
Psalm 26, penned by King David, presents us with a heartfelt prayer that resonates across the ages. Luther points out that Psalm 26 is a lament against those who seek godliness through their own works of the law while condemning those who rely solely on God’s grace. This contrast between works-based righteousness and grace-based salvation is central.
David’s lament becomes a plea for discernment. In a world filled with those who profess piety through external acts, we are reminded to be cautious of spiritual hypocrisy. Luther’s quote resonates with verse 10, where David accuses the “false saints” of accepting bribes. These individuals serve their own interests, driven by greed rather than true devotion to God.
Luther likens these false saints to those “whose God is their stomach,” a term echoing St. Paul’s words in Philippians 3:19. These individuals may put on a veneer of righteousness, but in reality, they are driven by self-serving desires. Their “spiritual hypocrisy” and “worldly glory” mask their true intentions.
As Luther suggests, it is indeed prudent to pray for protection from such deception. We face a spiritual battle where false teachings and misleading influences can divert us from the path of genuine faith. By grounding ourselves in the truth of God’s Word and seeking His guidance in prayer, we guard against being led astray by false pretenses.
Let us pray: Lord, we pray that your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may always be ready to do your good works; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.