To the faithful You show Yourself faithful,
to the blameless You show Yourself blameless,
to the pure You show Yourself pure,
but to the crooked You show Yourself shrewd.
For You save an afflicted people,
but You humble those with haughty eyes. (Psalm 18:25-27)

The first meaning of this passage is not about God so much as it is about us. “The human heart makes its God like itself, and to the pure and just He will be a pure and just God, to the cruel and unjust, cruel and unjust” (Ellicott’s Commentary). This mirrors the truth found elsewhere in Scripture:

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return. The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8)

God will have to break through by His Word and His Spirit these misconceptions in our hearts of who He is in order to provide us with an accurate revelation. And even then, there seems to remain in most of us some taint of our flesh upon the image we hold of God.

Faithful and Blameless and Pure

To the faithful and blameless and pure God shows Himself as such. He fulfills His promises and no accusation from mankind can stick to His reputation and blemish it. His integrity is perfect, and no evil or moral impurity exists in His heart. We can go further and speak of what the Bible says elsewhere of His patience with mankind: “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion” (Psalm 103:8). This also true, that a patient, gracious, and compassionate man sees God as patient, gracious, and compassionate.

But the three traits mentioned in Psalm 18 – faithful, blameless, and pure – speak to the inner core of God’s character, and the others – patient, gracious, compassionate – speak to how these inner core qualities express themselves in His dealings with mankind.

  • Faithful means “pious” or “kindness”
  • Blameless means “without defect”
  • Pure means “sincere” and “honest”

We would expect nothing less from the Holy God, the Creator of all there is.

The inner revelations by His Word and Spirit, connected with the disciplines of spiritual growth in our lives, are intended to have an increasing impact upon us to change our hearts that we may see God more and more as He truly is. No where is this truth more plainly laid out for us than in the Beatitudes:  “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matt. 5:7-8). The growth we have by His Word and Spirit provides us with an opportunity to grasp these truths with faith, and when we do then we see God more clearly, and these truths resonate in our hearts and minds more thoroughly, deeply, and frequently.

All spiritual growth is predicated on this pattern of God’s revelation of Himself to our hearts and our claiming through faith His revelation, then comes transforming growth, as we are increasingly made into His image. This point is driven home repeatedly in scripture, in Ephesians, for examples:

“I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe.” (Eph. 1:18-19)

“And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:17-19)

How do you see God? The more you know of His Word, the more you walk with His Spirit, the more you will be transformed into His image. And the more you are transformed the more heart knowledge you will gain of God.

But to the Crooked

The words in Hebrew could be translated “twisted” – “To the twisted you show yourself twisting.” The crooked or twisted man has a misshapen idea of all men. He suspects them of the same indiscretion and dishonesty that is in his own heart, and he likewise sees God through this same lens. This is the man who says, “I know what you are thinking,” as he accuses others of perverseness, simply because this is what he is thinking.

The repercussion of being such a crooked person is a divided heart that fails to perceive the finest things in the universe properly, if at all. Tennyson described the outcome of this type of thinking when he wrote: “He that shuts love out, in turn shall be shut out from love.” The crooked person may be loved deeply, but he will never feel loved beyond just sporadic moments of emotion, not in deep rivers of conviction. He loves the world and the things in the world, which we are commanded not to love (1 John 2:15), and is dominated by the sinfulness of the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). 

So he lusts after power, possessions, and praise, and is willing to compromise moral things to gain them. He will start a false rumor against someone in order to gain some compliment. He will damage another person’s reputation so that he will gain more power. He will use dishonest means to gain possessions, and he will pride himself on how he appears in the things that he has gained unethically – whether it be clothes, a car, a house, or an office. And all the time he suspects others of being twisted like him, and even thinks that God is twisted as well. He expects God to curse him, judge him, punish him, and trick him. 

This man is not formed in a vacuum and it is likely that from his childhood he only knew of conditional love, attention and compassion that must be earned. His parents may have fed his mind constantly with statements of the unfairness of life, the capriciousness of God, and the weakness of compassion. Put downs, insults, and selfishness may have characterized his home more than encouragements and kindness. 

It takes a great miracle of God for such a person to turn to God. He may choose a religion – many twisted people do – but he cannot see God until his heart is touched by God. But God is in the business of performing miracles. God changes hearts and minds and souls and gives sight to the spiritually blind. It takes a miracle of God in our hearts for a soul to be saved, and God can give the twisted the gift of repentance and of new life in Christ. They can find that God will save them and change their twisted thinking. 

Goodness and Awareness

This does not mean that the good man must be naive and blind to the ways of the world. It is interesting that concerning Christ it was said, “But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). The world is sinful, as the Bible repeatedly points out. But the good man, the man who has integrity, tends to see potential in others that the others do not see in themselves, and the twisted man doesn’t. It is said of love that it “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). 

Paul described this attitude when he wrote: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28). And it was in this spirit that he counselled the man of God to be patient with those who stubbornly resist the truth (2 Tim. 2:24-26). 

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