Self Appraisal – Psalm 26

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When looking at our appearance in the mirror, we ask ourselves if we look good. If not, we try to make ourselves more presentable by making a few adjustments to our hair or clothes. The scripture reminds us of our negligence in complying with the truth, compared to the promptness of correcting our untidy hair while looking at the mirror or the selfie images on our cell phones.

Self-Appraisal Process at Work

In our workplace, we have a procedure of “Self-Appraisal”, where we look back at our performance and fix our goals to move on further. In this Psalm, the Psalmist sets his goal, to stand on level ground by looking back at his performance. A person who does not live by the standards of the Word of God will not ask the same question, but will manipulate the answers to suit the question.

When we walk in the ways of God, these questions bother us, whether what we are doing is right or wrong because the whole world does the opposite of what we are doing. The Psalmist would have written this Psalm while he had doubts about his deeds as a prayer to God to clarify them.

Give Me A Clean Chit

Vindicate me, LORD,

for I have led a blameless life;

I have trusted in the LORD

and have not faltered.

Test me, LORD, and try me,

examine my heart and my mind;

Psalms 26:1-2

A pupil who intends to join professional studies, enrolls in various crash courses to crack the entrance test. During the crash courses, they will practice solving model papers to clear the entrance test. In this exercise, pupils who assess themselves would improve their aptitudes. But the pupils who depend on the assitance of their guides will not improve much.

We fear assessing ourselves with the standards of God but are happy to compare our moral values with the standards of the worldly people. We are convinced of our deeds and presume them to be good because we compare them with others. Unless and until we come to the presence of God, we can not realize who we are1 Corinthians 12 is the best checklist to find how far we are at par with the mind of Christ.

The Psalmist asked God confidently to clear all blame heaped on him. He also asked God to make people understand his righteousness and ascertain him that he was doing good. David asked for God’s vindication centuries before He gave His Son to clear our charges against us. Without being well aware of the provision of forgiveness, David enumerated his good deeds to gain the confidence of God. We are sometimes inspired by this Psalm and speak to God regarding our good deeds. We are assigned to do good deeds, and at the same time, our good deeds did not earn salvation. Our good deeds are the outcome of the righteousness of Jesus and not the source that makes us righteous.

God’s Unfailing Love

for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

Psalms 26:3

When David made known his good deeds to God to earn His goodwill, God reminded him of His unfailing love that enabled him to lead a blameless life in the first place. As soon as God reminded Him of His love, David acknowledged that it had sustained him when he did not love God and realized how much he relied on God and His faithfulness. Whenever we forget the love and faithfulness of God, God reminds us of His love. But we focus on comparing our works with others and ignore God’s reminder. Even before we knew Him, He loved us.

Show Casing Our Righteousness

I do not sit with the deceitful,
nor do I associate with hypocrites.
I abhor the assembly of evildoers
and refuse to sit with the wicked.

Psalms 26:4-5

Walking with God was a routine for Adam and Eve until they obeyed God. Disobeying God diverts us from walking with God, and we start to do things that God does not like. Then, evil becomes our lifeline, and goodness becomes our talking point. But for the Psalmist, a good deed is not only a talking point to appraise his honesty to God, but it was his lifeline.

If evil is breeding fast, it will be hard to find a God-fearing man, and if found, he will be kept in a museum as a legend to show people the heritage of the God-fearing race. As people with abnormal behaviours surround us, the trait of the children of God has become a rare phenomenon. As a result, obeying God has become an achievement, and they make hue and cry about it.

We seek God diligently till our work is not being done. Once done, we attribute our success to the influential people and our own ability and stop seeking Him. We usually do not tell our children how we looked up to God to accomplish the work but boast about our deeds to our children. When we do so, how will our children learn to obey God and do good things. For them, good things will become stored memories recorded in someone’s biography. God asked us to educate our children all the time about His goodness in our lives.

A Thought To Ponder: How foolish or ignorant we are to propagate our trivial deeds instead of spreading the incredible love of God displayed through the obedience of His Son on the cross.

Washing Our Hands With Innocence

I wash my hands in innocence,
and go about your altar, LORD,
proclaiming aloud your praise
and telling of all your wonderful deeds.

Psalms 26:6-7

Again, Psalmist brought forward his straightforwardness by “washing my hands with innocence.” Though Psalmist washed his hands in innocence, he forgets God who gave him the grace to do so. But, we are fortunate people cleansed by the innocent blood of Jesus Christ. The Psalmist told all His marvellous deeds after cleaning his hands in his innocence. As we have been washed by the blood of Jesus, how much more we should tell others about His wonderful deeds.

Most people think their testimonies might encourage others to come to the fold of God. It might bring them to God to obtain some miracle, but then their faith will be based on evidence, and they will never learn to believe God for His unconditional love bestowed on them. They will not realize that the miracle they recieved was the outcome of God’s forgiveness. More than bringing others towards God, our testimonies boost our soul, and we rejoice in Him by praising Him from the bottom of our hearts. Psalmist was strengthening his soul by speaking aloud of God’s marvelous deeds. 

I Love Your House

LORD, I love the house where you live,

the place where your glory dwells.

Psalms 26:8

When we love someone, we would like to spend time with them. The distance means nothing for us to visit the people whom we love. David loved to be in the presence of God so that he could see His glory. He longed to build a temple for God as His dwelling place to see His glory by spending his life there all the time.

Do we love the place where God lives? In today’s scenario, if we love God, we should love our brothers and sisters because God dwells in them. We should also love ourselves as we are the temple where God lives. People attribute various attitudes to people when they do not love them. But the fact is that we are unable to love ourselves, where He dwells, and as a result, we are unable to love others. When Jesus said to love your neighbor as you love yourself, we think of it as a Herculian task. If we love God, we will love our body, His dwelling place, and He will keep it holy. With holiness, we will not be able to see others’ flaws but only love them. 

Leading A Blameless Life

Do not take away my soul along with sinners,

my life with those who are bloodthirsty,

in whose hands are wicked schemes,

whose right hands are full of bribes.

I lead a blameless life;

deliver me and be merciful to me.

Psalms 26:9-11

Good things have become talking points instead of action points. A person who did not take bribe during his entire career would have earned numerous enemies during his career, but on the day of his retirement, his honesty becomes a talking point. But no one is motivated, no one made up their mind to co-operate with their honest colleague, but it has become a talking point well approved and appreciated by all.

We usually do not like to confess our sins as much as we love to remind our good deeds to God. Fearing God is hating evil. If hating evil appears to us as a difficult task, then we will not be able to hate it. If we are leading a blameless life, it is redundant to make it known to our God because He is the one who kept us from temptation and delivered us from evil. The love of God should fill our hearts and minds so that we would not have time to judge others or to justify our stand but will have time only to ask Him to make holy. We should lead a blameless life to see the face of our Holy God.

for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:16

Level Ground

My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.

Psalms 26:12

David poured His heart to God Almighty and understood that telling God about his deeds was redundant. God made David understand about His faithfulness and love so that David forgot all his struggles and felt that he was standing on level ground in His great congregation. Though our God knows everything we do, asking God this question, “Are we doing well?’ will sanctify us, and God will prepare us to stand on the level ground with the people who washed their clothes white with the blood of the Lamb.

God, Forgive us. 
Instead of spreading your love, we continue to disseminate our performances forgetting the fact that you are the performer. 
Help us to inherit your Kingdom not relying on our deeds but by relying on your love and faithfulness. 

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