Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer – it does not rise from deceitful lips. May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right. Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. As for the deeds of men – by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped. I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover. Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword. LORD, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life. You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children. And I in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (NIV)
Self-examination by studying God’s word and letting his word speak to us is a process that all believers must go through. It is the process by which we realized the holiness of God and our sinfulness. It is by the process of studying his word daily that we realize that our walk is reflective of one of two paths given to us from God. These two paths reflect either the way of the righteous or the way of the wicked. This theme is developed for us in Psalms one and is expanded on throughout the remainder of the psalms. As we read this psalm reflect back on Psalm one and the way in which we should walk. The ways outline in Psalm one is simple, you can chose to go the way of Cain or the way of Abel.
This psalm starts out with a prayer for vindication. However, it is a prayer that does not come from a deceitful heart, but it is a prayer for God to take action. Notice it is not a prayer for God to give the psalmist the knowledge or power to react back to the ones that are assailing him. Notice that the psalmist is stating I resolved not to sin with my mouth, or walk in the ways of the wicked. We must not fall into the trap that we can do wrong in order that right may prevail. This is the same message that Paul tells us in Romans 3:5-6 “But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?” Righteousness is impossible for man to attain, but with God all things are possible. As Paul states in Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” the same message that David writes in verse 15 “And I in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” So our vindication rest in God’s hand. As we watch the news, or if we are ever involved in our court system we soon realize that it is not the truth and doing what is right that is the goal of the verdict, but winning and winning at all cost. It is usually a matter of who has the best lawyer, the best attack and the most money to win the fight. However, for the believer we must seek after what is right even if we must suffer for a season. However, this season will soon give way too eternally, where the Righteous Judge will rule in truth and in righteousness and the deeds of the wicked will no longer exist.
As I was studying Luke this morning I could not help but dwell on the words of the two companions after they had been with Christ on their way to Emmaus. Christ had address them as foolish men and slow of heart to believe the writing of all the prophets. He then interpreted to them all the scriptures which concern him. It only after Christ had revealed himself to them and then vanished that the words he had spoken came alive to them. On the road to Emmaus Christ educated them and gave them knowledge which caused their hearts to burn; but it was only after the Savior was revealed to them that they were able to put this knowledge together and grasp an understanding of the gospel. I have seen this truth come alive in last several years as I study the psalms daily.
The key to understanding the psalms is to gain an understanding of David’s view of man and God. The more I study David the more I see how his life reflects the life of Christ during his earthly ministry. The same struggles and issues that Christ faced where similar to those of David, as well as the struggles that believers face in the world today. The more we study the life of Christ the more we can see how to walk in God’s way. An example of how this psalm portraits Christ can be found by comparing verse to of this psalm to Matthew 27:12-15:
And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Then said Pilate unto him, hears thou not how many things they witness against thee?
And he gave him no answer, not even to one word: insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.
Christ waited on his vindication to come from God. So, as you read this psalm relate it to the events in Christ’s earthly ministry, David’s life as revealed in the scriptures and to the personal struggles that you are facing in your daily walk. Then the Holy Spirit will give you a better understanding of the way of righteous and just as the two companions on their way to Emmaus had their eyes open you too will gain a better understanding of the psalms.