A Psalm of David. Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.
Self-examination must be accomplished under and through the scrutiny or inspecting power of God. We truly prove ourselves when He proves us, and may rightly approve ourselves only when He approves us.
I. God certainly can examine us, and we cannot in any way but the most superficial and incomplete way examine ourselves. (1) For our memory is too short and scant to restore or recall the conception of one in a hundred millions of our acts. (2) If we could recall them every one, we could never go over the survey of a material so vast and multiplicities so nearly infinite in a way to make up any judgment of them, or of ourselves as represented in them. (3) Since the understanding of our present state is impossible without understanding all the causes in our action that have been fashioning the character and shaping the figure of it, our faculty is even shorter here than before. It is plain, whichever way we look, that God only is able really and discerningly to examine the human soul or spirit.
II. In what is frequently understood by self-examination, there is something mistaken or deceitful, which needs to be carefully resisted. It is a kind of artificial state in which the soul is drawn off from its objects, and works, and its calls of love and sacrifice to engage itself in acts of self-inspection. We may be so far engrossed in this matter of self-examination, as to become thoroughly and even morbidly selfish in it; for what can be more selfish than to be always poring into one's self?
III. It is important also as regards a right impression of this subject to observe how much is implied in a hearty willingness or desire to have God examine us and prove us. If we are ready to have God examine us, and bring us to an exactly right verdict, that is a state so simple, so honest, so impartial, so protected against every false influence, that we scarcely need look any further; we are already in a right mind, ready to receive the truth.
IV. There is a way of coming at the verdict of God, whatever it may be. God designs to give us, and has planned to give us always, the benefit of His own knowledge of our state. God is manifested always in the consciousness of them that love Him and are right towards Him. They will have His Spirit witnessing with theirs. In their simple love they will know God's love to them; for he that loveth knoweth God.
H. Bussnell, Sermons on Living Subjects, p. 224.
References: Psalm 26:3.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvi., No. 956. Psalm 26:6-7.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 253.
Psalm 26:8I. In the days of David, as well as of Solomon and his descendants, pious Jews looked to the local habitation of God's house as the place where His honour dwelt, and this place the Psalmist in the text says he loved. Pious Jews indeed knew that heaven was God's throne and earth His footstool, and that therefore no house built with hands could really contain Him; but still it was part of the religious system of the Law to regard this centre as the peculiar abode of God, and therefore all Jews said that Jerusalem was the place where men ought to worship. The breaking up of the old Law, we know, changed this. Pure, hearty Christian worship is acceptable to God everywhere, and no distinct place can make worship acceptable which is not pure and hearty.
II. If there is to be a real, lasting love for our churches in the hearts of Christian men, it must be because we believe them to be centres of Christian life through the grace of God. No external beauty, no desire to improve the outside of religion, can avail if there be rottenness within. To love the Lord Jesus Christ, to adhere to those plain, simple Gospel doctrines which are set forth in the New Testament—this must be the strength of our reformed Church. To this its ministers and people are pledged by their very declaration that they rest all their hopes on the pure word of God.
A. C. Tait, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 33.
Psalm 26:8I. "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house," for there I first learned to know myself and Thee.
II. There I have learned most richly the meaning of Thy discipline, and found strength to endure.
III. There I was guided to the most noble, blessed, and fruitful labour, to the service which is absolute freedom, to the work which is perfect rest.
IV. There I and those whom I have loved best have held sweet and fruitful fellowship; and there we cemented a union which, when the family on earth breaks up, will renew itself eternally in heaven.
J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 141.
References: Psalm 26:8.—J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, pp. 133, 150; J. Aldis, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 273; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 250. Psalm 26:9.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ix., No. 524; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 267; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 243. Psalm 26—I. Williams, The Psalms Interpreted of Christ, p. 454.
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.
I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.
I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.
I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.
Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:
In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.
But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.
My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.