Psalm 26:1-8 (NRSV)
Verse 1Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Verse 2Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind.
Verse 3For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.
Verse 4I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites;
Verse 5I hate the company of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.
Verse 6I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O Lord,
Verse 7singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds.
Verse 8O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides.
A woman in a Zoom Bible study recently told me her daughter and son-in-law had tested positive for COVID-19. Her daughter had told her, “I did everything right. I wore my facemask, I avoided crowds, I kept my distance, I washed my hands. We both did everything we were supposed to do. How did we get the virus?”
Psalm 26 also gives an impressive list of all the ways the psalmist has “washed hands in innocence.” Nevertheless, some evil or injustice has arisen, and the psalmist is on the verge of being “swept away with sinners.”(vs. 9). Now how is that fair?
It sounds like an awful lonely road, maintaining integrity when the rewards don’t seem to follow. Only by reading to the end of this psalm do we discover that pressing on in the praise of God—along with a congregation—makes the waiting a little less hard.
Redeem me and be gracious to me, Lord, and hear my stubborn vow: I will keep praising you together with all the faithful until your justice comes. Amen.