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The 26th Psalm continues the same subject but emphasizes separation to the Lord from the evil on every side, and so the soul calls upon God, “Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.” There is a sense of conscious uprightness. You cannot pray with assurance unless you have that. If you go to God about something and have not a good conscience you cannot pray. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18). I have known what it was to go along, thinking everything was all right, and yet not have much realization of the presence of God, and suddenly I was called to a dear one in whom I was intensely interested, and who was suffering illness. The request had come, “Will you go and pray with this one?” And as I would kneel to pray the thought would come, I am not in a condition to pray. I have not been living close enough to the Lord. I have been too careless about things, letting things go instead of dealing with them before God, and so I could not pray. There would have to be a facing of failure before God, and only when I knew that things were dealt with could I pray with any sense of assurance. David is not boasting of any goodness but says to the One who knows all the secrets of the heart, “I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide,” and then he cries, in case the Lord should see something he does not, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” In other words, “I want Thee to search me through and through, and if there is anything hindering fellowship, anything keeping me from being on praying ground, make it manifest for I want to be right with Thee.”
“For Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in Thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons.” There has been conscious separation from the ungodly. “Neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass Thine altar, O Lord.” What offerings of praise and thanksgiving we would bring to God if every one of us, as we drew near His altar, could say, “Lord, I have washed mine hands in innocency-I have judged everything; I have been cleansed by the washing of water by the Word, so that I know of nothing in my heart or life that hinders communion with Thee.” How we could pray and work and count on God to intervene! “So will I compass Thine altar, O Lord: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Thy wondrous works.”
And just as he has expressed his detestation of the evil doer he expresses his deep affection for the house of God, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thine honour dwelleth. Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men.” He cannot get near the house of God, and enemies are around him. “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.” And he looks on in faith believing that God is indeed going to give deliverance.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Psalms 26". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent