What was your reaction to Psalm 18? Some of the phrases used hit me the wrong way. As in ‘according to my righteousness’, ‘the cleanness of my hands’, ‘I have not turned away from His decrees’, ‘I have been blameless’ and ‘I have kept myself from sin’. Really?
We know lots about King David’s life–his successes… his struggles. Are there any of the Ten Commandments he doesn’t break? And more than once? Lying…adultery…murder. Need I go on? So, what’s he talking about–blameless, righteous, clean?
Let’s go back to the introductory comments, before the body of the psalm. It calls David ‘the servant of the Lord’. The occasion is his fleeing from enemies. David is likely young. Much ahead–good times and bad.
Sound familiar? When I look back on my life, I have such good intentions. Big plans… with God somewhere in the picture. Then I get in the way. Me…I…myself. My exuberance for the Lord, sidetracked by my own sinfulness. Just me?
I let people down. Said what shouldn’t have been said. Did what shouldn’t have been done. This is why I look to Psalm 143 for a mature word from David. Much later in his life, after decades of decadence and defeat, he writes this: ‘O Lord…listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief…’ (v. 1). David sounds different, doesn’t he?
He looks at himself in the mirror of God’s Word. That’s why he cries for ‘mercy’. As we all do, when we’re honest. Not trusting in ourselves… but in Him. In God who is righteous and good, clean and just.
The longer we live, the more I need His grace and mercy, which He gives freely! That’s really good news!
For your grace and mercy, we thank you Jesus. Amen.