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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 26



Verses 1-12

No doubt this Psalm was written by David when his cruel persecutor Saul, the more effectually to stab at him, spread false reports concerning his character. When the wicked can use no other weapons, they always have their quivers full of slanderous reports. Let us learn here that the best of men must expect to be misrepresented, and to have the worst of crimes laid to their charge. Let us learn, also, from the example of David, to carry our case to the highest court at once, not to meddle with the lower courts of earth, but to go at once to the Court of King’s Bench in heaven, and there plead our cause before the eternal throne.

Psalms 26:1. Judge me, O LORD

As if he turned away from all other judges, bribed and false as they had proved themselves to be in his ease, and put himself on trial before God: “Judge me, O Lord; “-

Psalms 26:1.For I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD therefore I shall not slide.

He pleads two things: first, the outward life and second, the inward faith, which, as it is the main-spring and source of the outer life of integrity, is also the more important of the two. Remark, that as the case is between himself and his accusers he pleads his life, for though we are justified before God by faith and not by works, yet before men we must be justified by our works, rather than by our faith. It is in vain for me to plead my faith when I am slandered. The only answer that can effectually shut the mouth of the adversary, is to point to a blameless life. Hence in this case he not only brings his faith before his God, but he also brings the fruit of his faith. Note, the inference which he draws from God’s mercy to him in enabling him to walk uprightly and to trust him-“ therefore I shall not slide.” He rests for the future upon his God. His position was slippery, his enemies were always busy trying to trip up his heels, but saith he-“ I shall not slide.”

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

This is a wonderful verse. One would hardly dare to pray it. Here are three kinds of trial. According to the etymology of the Hebrew the first is the trial by touch-“ Examine me “; the next is the trial by smell- “ Prove me “; and the next is the trial by fire-“ Assay my reins and my heart.” You see how anxious he is really to have the matter decided by God. “Lord, search me through and through; thou knowest I am not a hypocrite.” Now who dares to say this but that true man of God whose soul is wholly fixed upon the Lord? The reins and the heart are mentioned because those were believed to be the seat of the affections, and when the affections are right the whole man is right. The heart is the fountain from which issue streams of life, and if the fountain be pure, the streams cannot be impure; hence he asks chiefly that the examination may be directed to his reins and to his heart.

Psalms 26:3. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes:-

Right straight before his eyes, he had God’s lovingkindness. Some people appear to have their miseries, their sorrows, their sins, before their eyes but happy is that believer who always has God’s lovingkindness before him!Come, my brother, forget for a little while the burden of your business cares; now for a little season let the sickness that is in your house be left in the hand of your God, and let his lovingkindness be before your eyes. Lovingkindness-pull the word to pieces. Remember the ancientness of it, the constancy of it, the variety of ways in which it shows itself, and the lavish bounties which it bestows upon you. Do not turn your back to God’s goodness, but now, right straight before you set the lovingkindness of your God.

Psalms 26:3. And I have walked in thy truth.

By which he may mean two things, first that he endeavored to hold fast to truth both in doctrine and in practice; or, secondly, that by God’s truthfulness in giving him the promised grace, he had been enabled to walk uprightly.

Psalms 26:4. I have not sat with vain persons,-

I never took counsel with them; they never were my choice companions.

Psalms 26:4. Neither will I go in with dissemblers.

He makes a vow for the future that all crafty, lying, and foolish men shall never have his companionship.

Psalms 26:5. I have hated the congregation of evil doers, and will not sit with the wicked.

By which he does not mean that he does not associate with them in any way for we must needs go out of the world if we will not have communion with sinners; but he means that he did not seek their company, found no pleasure in it, and never went in it to abet them in their evil deeds.

Psalms 26:6. I will wash mine hands in innocency:

Pilate did this, but alas! the water was very dirty in which he washed his hands. This was an old Jewish rite when a man was found murdered; if the people in the valley in which he was found would be free from the crime of murder they took a heifer, slew it, and then washed their hands in water over the head of the victim. They were then clear. So here he says- “ I will wash mine hands in innocency: “

Psalms 26:6. So will I compass thine altar, O LORD:

He is innocent far as men are concerned, but he still confesses that he is a sinner, for he goes to God’s altar. Perfect men need no altars. It is the sinner that needs a sacrifice. So let the saint ever know that though he can plead innocency against the charges of men yet before God, his hope lies in the blood-besprinkled altar of which Jesus Christ is the great High Priest.

Psalms 26:7-8. That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.

I am sure many of us can say this, that when the Sabbath comes round, it is the best day of all the week, and that hour in the week-night when we can get to the house of God-what an inexpressible relief is that! It is to us like a green oasis in the midst of the sandy desert. There are no beauties in nature and no changes to be perceived in traveling that I think can ever compensate for the loss of the constant means of grace, after all God’s house is the fairest spot of earth. Zion, I will prefer thee above my chief joy! If I forget thee let my right hand forget her cunning. “I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where shine honour dwelleth.”

Psalms 26:9-10. 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.

See, he so loves God’s house that he cannot bear the thought of being shut in with sinners; and this is our comfort, that if we have loved God’s house on earth we shall dwell in his house for ever.

Psalms 26:11. But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

See again, my beloved, how in the Christian’s practice good works and faith are seen happily blended. He declares that he will walk in his integrity, but still, still note, he prays as one that is conscious of a thousand imperfections-“Redeem me and be merciful unto me.” We do rest on Christ alone, but still we desire to walk in holiness with as much exactness as though our salvation depended upon our good works.

Psalms 26:12. My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 26:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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