April is poetry month. I’m celebrating by reflecting on a psalm a day. Join me?
1 Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.
4 I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands in innocence
and go around your altar, O Lord,
7 proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.
8 O Lord, I love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.
9 Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.
Let’s start with this video of My Soul Among Lions singing in a silo, and using the first verse as a refrain. Here’s Karl Kohlhase with a very nice musical version that’s closer to the text (with less rhyming), here’s Jamie Soles using the words from the Geneva Psalter (great rhymes!) and his own melody, and here’s a rock version by Nathan Hitchcock with Phil Keaggy on guitar which I think highlights the urgency of the psalm.
In turning to think of the content of this psalm, I watched a chapel talk from Wheaton College (it starts with a commercial) which you can access here. The commercial was a good choice, because it was an appeal for people to stop living disparate lives but join each other for a meal (in the apartment hallway) and I think David is proclaiming his integrity not in terms of being better than others but in doing what is right (to others) because he loves the Lord, lives as it were in the house of the Lord. Verse 10’s mention of evil devices in people’s hands immediately made me think of my iPhone: not that I use it as weapon for evil (which must have been David’s reference, right?) but that, as the commercial demonstrated, it distracts me from people who are present, and perhaps needy of my attention.
I am thankful for this psalm which asks God to vindicate (prove right) the godly who trust in him, refuse to be swept away but walk in his ways, seek the Lord’s place where glory dwells, and praise him in the assembly. I don’t have the courage to say all that David says about being steadfast and perfect in integrity, but I feel my reaction is a call to wash my hands in innocence (turn from what I am convicted is wrong) and reorder my affections.
All thanks and praise to God!