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Jesus Creed


Our Common Prayerbook 26 – 1

posted by Scot McKnight

One theme in the Psalms that can make Protestants nervous is the theme of the personal claim to integrity that the psalmist uses as a plea with God to say “Answer me, I’ve been faithful.” Psalm 26, which connects with similar themes at the beginning and end of Psalm 25.

Thus, vv. 1-3 of Psalm 26:
1      Vindicate me, LORD,
for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the LORD
and have not faltered. 
2 Test me, LORD, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind; 
3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
The psalmist expects YHWH to respond in vindicating/delivering/saving him because of his blameless life, because he has trusted in YHWH, because he has not faltered (in obedience and faith), because he has been mindful of YHWH’s unfailing love and because he has live in reliance upon YHWH’s faithfulness.
So, he asks YHWH to put him to the test in v. 2. Check me out, check me thoroughly. This is not arrogance; this is not boastful. This is plain and simple as the truth, and the psalmist’s attitude is not so much “I’ve earned it so give it to me” but “I’ve been obedient and you, YHWH, honor obedience.” And, he’s humble: “Test me.”
The whole set of verses sounds a bit like Psalm 1, and that shows up even more in the next two verses where he tells YHWH what he has not done wrong:
26:4    I do not sit with the deceitful, 
nor do I associate with hypocrites. 
5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers 
and refuse to sit with the wicked. 
Part of prayer in the Psalms is bargaining with God and laying our case before God of the reasons why we think God should answer our prayers.


Psa. 26:1    Vindicate me, LORD,
for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the LORD
and have not faltered.
2 Test me, LORD, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
Psa. 26:4    I do not sit with the deceitful,
nor do I associate with hypocrites.
5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers
and refuse to sit with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands in innocence,
and go about your altar, LORD,
7 proclaiming aloud your praise
and telling of all your wonderful deeds.
Psa. 26:8    LORD, I love the house where you live,
the place where your glory dwells.
9 Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
10 in whose hands are wicked schemes,
whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 I lead a blameless life;
redeem me and be merciful to me.
Psa. 26:12    My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.



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Leo

posted August 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm


I believe the term is “progressive revelation.” The Psalmists were just wrong.



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