Psalm 26 :: by Nathele Graham

A Psalm of David: Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide (Psalm 26:1).

Throughout history there have been very few people who can compare to King David. His younger years were spent among sheep, and he knew how important it was to be watchful so the flock didn’t go astray. He learned skills of weaponry in order to protect the flock. He even killed a lion and a bear in protecting his sheep. He was young when Samuel was sent by God to anoint him as the chosen king of Israel to reign after Saul. Why was David chosen?

Unbeknownst to him, he had been training to be king his entire life.

The skills he learned from tending to a wandering flock of sheep would help him to watch over the kingdom which God entrusted to him. The fight with the lion and the bear taught him to overcome fear to defend the flock against the enemy. The time he spent sitting and watching the sheep taught him to be observant and alert. It also gave him time to practice the skills of war. Those skills served him well when Saul’s army cowered in the rocks, hiding from Goliath. Goliath’s blasphemy of God Almighty offended David who fearlessly took his slingshot to battle the giant. David knew that God was with him.

The time with the sheep was also spent drawing near to God. In Psalm 26, David asked God to judge (vindicate) him and wasn’t afraid of what the Lord would find. If there was sin, he wanted God to reveal it so that he could continue to walk in integrity and not stumble. This wasn’t a request for God to give a quick look, but David wanted God to do a deep search of his heart. Whatever God found that needed to be changed, David would repent and change to fit God’s standards. This humble side of David is what made him a man after God’s own heart.

The songs David wrote reveal the character of this God-fearing man. David was far from perfect, but he didn’t sit back and accept his sin as simply being human. Likewise, our desire should be to please God. Psalm 26 shows us how David’s trust in the LORD molded and guided his life.

Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart (Psalm 26:2).

Are you brave enough to ask God to examine you? We all have things lurking in the dark recesses of our hearts. Resentment against a person can grow into hatred, or maybe there’s a hidden desire to commit adultery. If you don’t turn to God for help, you run the risk of the hidden sin becoming an action.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15). 

We have Scripture to guide us; and if any Christian says they didn’t know something was a sin, then that’s an indication that their Bible is gathering dust. Scripture is our guide, and prayer is our connection with God. Neither should be neglected.

Our attitude and our choice of friends affect our outlook. David was a man who recognized God’s handiwork and chose to see His goodness and kindness instead of doom and gloom. It wasn’t that David didn’t have problems, but he always turned to God. There were instances where King Saul tried to kill him; and then his own son, Absalom, turned against him. Instead of allowing the problems in his life to ruin his character, David saw God’s lovingkindness.

For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers (Psalm 26:3-4).

David chose his friends and advisors wisely. He didn’t surround himself with men who told him what he wanted to hear, but with men who helped him stay right with God. There was a time when David wanted to build a Temple for God, but Nathan the prophet honestly told him that God wouldn’t allow him to build it. It was also Nathan who pointed out the sin David committed with Bathsheba. We all need to have people around us who will help us stay right with God rather than help us to sin. We also have the Holy Spirit to guide us through Scripture.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

It may be that you need to use Scripture to allow God to reveal the sin in your life, or maybe you should use it to help a fellow Christian out of their sin, just as Nathan helped David.

Too often we worry about being judgmental if we recognize someone’s sin as sin. It’s wrong to judge with condemnation in mind, but God gives us the facts to judge with discernment. We aren’t to fellowship with persistent evil doers, even if they claim to be Christian.

“I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked” (Psalm 26:5).

God loves people, but the sin that separates us from Him is another matter. We need to witness to the unsaved and introduce them to Christ; but if we don’t allow God to examine our hearts and reveal our own sin, we run the risk of becoming a part of the congregation of evil doers. When we forge friendships with people who reject Christ and follow after evil, we run the risk of being influenced by them. You may have to shop at a store owned by a wicked person and may even witness to evil doers, but you don’t forge friendships with them.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret Ephesians 5:11-12.

As long as we live on this side of Heaven we’ll have to be around people who reject Christ and see sin as normal. God doesn’t want us to hide away and not have contact with sinners, but we needn’t fellowship with them.

I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD. That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works (Psalm 26:6-7).

None of us are innocent. Not even David. Washing one’s hands will cleanse the dirt and germs from them, and the Jewish Law required certain ceremonial washings; but the cleansing was never permanent. The Pharisees confronted Jesus as to why His disciples didn’t wash their hands before they ate bread. After a lengthy answer in which He pointed out that the Pharisees were far from clean in their ways, Jesus made it clear what it is that truly defiles a person.

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man (Matthew 15:11).

David desired to be innocent so he could be at the altar of God and praise Him and tell of the wonders God has done. David certainly did that as evidenced by the numerous Psalms which he wrote. As Christians we should also take care about what comes out of our mouths. Do we speak using foul language? Do we gossip about others or share filthy jokes? It would be so much better to use our voice to thank God for all He has done, and sing His praises.

It would be wonderful if every leader of every nation had the desire of King David. He loved the Lord and loved to be in His presence.

LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honour dwelleth (Psalm 26:8).

David’s son Solomon finally built the Temple for the Lord, but it was destroyed. It was then rebuilt, but again it was destroyed. Today we tend to think of a building we call a church and think that by going there we are in the place where the Lord dwells. Here’s something to consider:

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16).

At the moment a person truly accepts Christ for salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells them. Their sins are forgiven and they are now the dwelling place of God. If, like David, you love the “…habitation of thy house and the place where thine honour dwelleth,” shouldn’t you love fellow Christians and draw near to them? We should also do all within our power to be sure that the temple of our own life is a place where the Holy Spirit is pleased to dwell.

David loved the Lord; but unlike Christians today, he didn’t have the assurance of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. At his time in history, he knew the Lord and looked forward to the coming Messiah. Only obedience to God’s Law could offer the hope of eternal life:

Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: in whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes. But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me. My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD (Psalm 26:9-12).

David’s desire was to not be counted among those who rejected God’s Law. Most of us today take salvation for granted. When we place our faith in Jesus, we become reconciled with God and we’re redeemed. Our sins are forgiven and eternal life is ours.

The sacrifice Jesus made is never to be taken for granted. He left the splendor and glory of Heaven to step into this fallen world. In spite of being mocked and scorned by the religious leaders, Jesus’ love was perfect. Your acceptance of His sacrifice is the only way you can avoid the eternal death that the “sinners and bloody men” will face during the final judgment at the White Throne. If you haven’t placed your eternal life in the hands of Jesus, you need to make that decision today.

Whether you’ve asked Him or not, God has already searched your heart and you’re guilty of sin that’s worthy of death. Eternal death. Nobody can be saved by good works and nobody is good enough when judged by God’s standards. Now, the good news. If you’ve accepted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for salvation, you aren’t condemned.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

Accept that salvation right now. Turn from your sin and start living your life so you honor Jesus. You will never regret that decision throughout all eternity.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at

All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.

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