Prayer of One Persecuted without Cause.
A psalm of David, who probably composed this hymn when he himself was suffering persecution, being obliged to flee before Absalom. The contents of this psalm, however, apply to many situations in the lives of all children of God. V. 1. Judge me, O God, declaring him righteous by a judicial sentence, deciding in his favor, and thereby setting aside the false accusations of the enemies; for I have walked in mine integrity, in purity of heart, free from wickedness. I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide, rather, without wavering had he placed his trust in Jehovah, hence he confidently expected the Lord to take his part in his present misfortune. V. 2. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me, making a careful investigation; try my reins and my heart, as an assayer tests ore for gold. He is ready to submit himself to the most searching examination, both to prove his innocence and to have the dross of any self-deception purged away, whether this would be found in the lower passions or in the higher affections. V. 3. For Thy loving-kindness is before mine eyes, the remembrance of former favors encouraging David in his prayer; and I have walked in Thy truth, the grace which God shows to sinners was his aim, his model, and the faithfulness with which He kept His promises was the rule and criterion of His conduct. V. 4. I have not sat with vain persons, with men of falsehood, with liars and deceivers, neither will I go in with dissemblers, those who disguise their real intentions under the mask of hypocrisy. V. 5. I have hated the congregation of evil-doers, those openly guilty of wickedness, and will not sit with the wicked, not joining their assembly and taking part in their discussions. V. 6. I will wash mine hands in innocency, the words referring to a symbolical act, declaring a person to be clean of vile and godless conduct, also to the act of priests who were obliged to wash themselves before bringing the offerings in public worship; so will I compass Thine altar, O Lord, being privileged, as pure and pious in heart, to perform the service of the priests of Jehovah, this being the condition in which God expects the heart of every believer to be; v. 7. that I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, joining with the Temple chorus in psalms of praise, and tell of all Thy wondrous works, the miracles of mercy which God performed in the Old Testament as well as now, and which all true believers celebrate by faithfully using the means of grace. V. 8. Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, the place where Jehovah revealed His presence in the midst of His people, and the place where Thine honor dwelleth, the glorious dwelling place of Jehovah, where He was pleased to manifest Himself. In the same way all true Christians love the house of worship, whether a log hut in the wilderness or a granite palace in the city, where the glory of Jehovah is revealed in the preaching of the pure Gospel and in the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with Godís own institution. It is with this longing that David addresses his last petition to the Lord. V. 9. Gather not my soul with sinners, binding it up in the same bundle with them, like wheat bound together with tares, nor my life with bloody men, murderers and sinners of the worst class, v. 10. in whose hands is mischief, crime, their whole conduct violence and fraud, and their right hand is full of bribes, full of trickery and deceit, as that of wicked men in public office. V. 11. But as for me, in contrast to these ungodly people, I will walk in mine integrity, continuing his course in the purity of his conduct. Redeem me and be merciful unto me, the deliverance which he longs for being a proof of Godís mercy. V. 12. My foot standeth in an even place, in a wide and safe space, where his enemies can no longer hinder him or bring destruction upon him. In the congregations will I bless the Lord, publicly pouring out his thanksgiving to God for his salvation. All true believers count it a glorious privilege to be able to visit their house of worship and to join with the entire congregation in hymns of praise to His glory.