Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 26

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

This psalm naturally divides

Let’s read the first few verses before any comment.

Psalm 26:1-3

Of David. Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

David was bold.

He knew where he stood, and wanted to be tested. He wanted to be proven, tested to ensure he was where the Lord wanted him in his life.

Prove me! (bāḥan)

To prove something is to examine something, to put to a trial and find results.

What are you saying David? You are telling the Lord to test you out? How rare this request is for our modern christianity!

Consider

Proverbs 17:3

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests (bāḥan) hearts.

Try me! (nāsâ)

To test something is to get proof of the validity of the thing. When the Old Testament saint used the word try (nāsâ), the word literally meant “to test by the smell”.

Consider

Exodus 17:2,7

2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test (nāsâ) the LORD?”
7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested (nāsâ) the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

Massah nasa. Can you see the similarity between these two words, and the reason Moses called it Massah? It was the place the children of Israel tested (nāsâ) the LORD. (These two words are so homophonic!)

One additional verse needs to be considered in relation to Psalm 26:2

Psalm 95:9

When your fathers put me to the test (nāsâ) and put me to the proof (bāḥan), though they had seen my work.

Amazing contrast, no?

In Psalm 26, the psalmist is requesting the test, to be proven by the Lord. This is the heart of the mature believer, one who seeks to be used by God and will submit to a testing to ensure it!

In Psalm 95, the people are demanding proof of God’s presence. They are not walking in faith, seeking to know God’s will for their lives, but they are seeking their own desires and wants, their own goals and purposes. These folk are continually and without pause, desiring to put God to the test, to demand their rights, to question His goodness and wisdom.

How often have you heard one say that God is not fair, that He must not care for His creation, or His people. If He cared he would stop all disease and hunger, and provide quails for all!

But alas, this is the spirit of a fallen people.

Test me! (ṣārap̄)

The literal meaning of this word is “to melt”, as in to smelt a metal. Heat is implied in this verb, and the Psalmist is demanding this from his Lord.

What audacity! What guts! What confidence in his Master.

My friend, the Lord Himself is a kind and loving Father, One who seeks our best. The monkey wrench in the plan is our lack of desire to be involved in His work.

David sought to be tested, to be melted down and purified. We so often sing of our desire to be purified, and rightly so, but if we are to mimic the saints of old, we need to realize what this means from their standpoint.

This is not to be entered lightly, and is a sobering request of the saint to his Father. Early into my Christian faith, I saw this teaching throughout the Old Testament and sought to follow after their example.

Trials have come, and trials have continued.

Looking back, some of them were simply my immaturity and ignorance of God’s ways, and the results of making poor decisions on my part. He has always brought about good things out of the most painful circumstances.

Some of them were the result of loved ones making bad decisions and my faith was tested. Being out of my control (as if I had much control!), made this testing even more difficult, but He has been so kind and brought about good things out of the bad. But tests such as these are difficult, and can be very painful.

Finally, some trials may have come directly from the hand of the Lord, and not necessarily through an intermediary, or through my own foolishness. These tests, in my opinion have been the most personnel and have caused me to understand my reason for being. These test have also begun to teach my heart and mind of the Lord Himself. He has been so kind to me in my stunted growth, my wanderings and my questionings.

The tests have brought about good things in my life and the lives of those I love. We have great hope based on His constant past care for His loved ones, and we trust that God will bring about a settled faith in future trials.

But let it be clearly stated that the circumstances within and beyond the trials have also been very painful.

Consider when you ask for purification that you are willing to stay under the trial, and have the dross burned off.

It takes time!


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