But I live with integrity; redeem me and be gracious to me.
In some ways modern Evangelicalism repels from David’s prayer in Psalm 26. On the surface it seems like he is boasting in self-righteousness, not humbling himself in repentance. But look again, all the right ingredients are there. In fact, were this psalm not in the Bible, the divine revelation would be incomplete.
David was subjected to false accusations, and he knew they were not true. He prayed that God would vindicate him, based on the truth. As Proverbs 12:16 tells us, it is prudent and “sensible” to ignore an insult, yet there are other times when we do not help God’s cause by not responding to serious accusations, as both Christ and Paul demonstrated (John 18:23). Wisdom is found in knowing the difference, and in this sense David was standing for the truth and against falsehood, which all are called to do.
Yet David also displayed humility as he prayed that God would search him. God had led him to act righteously but he still had much to learn. His final prayer in the psalm requested redemption and grace.
When we have done all we know to do, when we have prayed every prayer, faithfully searched the Scriptures, given the full tithe, forgiven our trespassers, washed the feet of others less deserving, and gladly walked the second mile in service, when we have died to sin and self as best we know how, there is still ample room to pray for God to search our hearts, for there is so much sin in us that it will not be fully rooted out before Christ returns. And there is still ample room for our need of God’s redemption and grace. You and I dare not stand in our own righteousness, nor need we. God has provided the righteousness of Christ as a covering for our sins, and the presence of His Spirit to empower and enable us to follow Him.
Lord, lead us to be faithful and courageous. Let us do our good deeds before men that they may glorify our Father in heaven, but let us never forget our need for the lamp of Your word to search our hearts, nor Your redemption and grace offered through Your sacrifice for our sins. Amen.