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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, August 25, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 26:1–8

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 mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.
I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites;
I hate the company of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O Lord,
singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds.
O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides. (NRSV)

When I first read through this, I couldn’t help having a feeling that that the psalmist (probably David) was being pretty self-righteous. I typically don’t start my prayers telling God I have acted with integrity and have trusted her without wavering. Nor do I challenge God to test my faithfulness and assure God that I don’t hang around with the worthless, the hypocrites, the evildoers, or the wicked. Who does this guy think he is?

Upon reflection (and some study!) I wonder if this is less of a statement and more of an appeal? What if David is appealing to God to hold him accountable through examination. Perhaps he is confident in his faith and the integrity with which he is trying to approach it. This doesn’t mean he was blameless. It just means he felt his faith was solid and he felt comfortable requesting that God test his heart.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle sometimes to overcome feelings of an inadequate faith. I don’t always approach my faith with confidence; rather I struggle with feelings of not measuring up, not being good enough, of not belonging. I am grateful when a timely sermon or someone in our church family reminds me that God gave us grace through Jesus Christ. I don’t need to pass a test; I’m accepted by God and I belong!

I am going to strive to have enough confidence in my faith to truly welcome God to examine my heart. Even though God already knows what’s in my heart, I’m going to try asking God to hold me accountable through examination. Then I’ll move toward living with integrity.

God, you know what is in my heart. Help my confidence in my faith grow so that I can welcome your examination and live with integrity. Amen.

Written by Anthony Hipp, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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