As David endured unfair treatment despite his doing what was right, He cried out to God in the verses of Psalm 26. As we read his anguished lyrics, we will uncover some resolutions David made which kept him (and will keep us) from slipping into bitterness and resentment during times of mistreatment.
Resolved: I will be open before the Lord (26:2). In three different ways David invites the Lord to assess his inner being: "Examine . . . try . . . test." These three English terms represent three different Hebrew terms. The first one is bachan, meaning "to examine, prove, scrutinize." It is clearly portrayed in Psalm 139:23-24 by the word "search."
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
The psalmist is asking God to "make an examination" of his inner being, to "scrutinize" him through and through. The next term, translated "try" in verse 2, is the Hebrew nasah, which means to "test, try, prove." Deuteronomy 8:2 uses an emphatic form of the verb term to denote "an intensive test":
You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God
has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He
might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your
heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
God put the Israelites to an intensive forty-year test so that the real condition of their hearts might be exposed. The Lord didn't do this so He would know the condition of their hearts, but so they would be able to examine their own motives and intentions . . . and then repent!
The third term, rendered "test" in verse 2, is yet another Hebrew verb: tzahraf. This is such a vivid term! Literally, it means "to smelt, refine, test." Of the thirty-two times it is used in the Old Testament, it appears in verb form; twenty-two of those times it is linked with the activity of refining gold or silver to remove impurities.
Do you grasp the principle? When wrong comes your way, be open before the Lord. Invite Him (1) to make an internal search and examination of your life for the purpose of determining your character, (2) to undertake an intensive, in-depth process of revealing to you the real condition of your heart, and (3) to refine you, and in the process, to remove any impurities.
While you may not have brought on the mistreatment through sin, your response might become sinful. To maintain your close fellowship with God, openly welcome His divine surgery on your innermost being. Decide to accept the wrong that comes your way as an opportunity to become increasingly more transparent and pure before the Lord. Ask Him for insight—for a full disclosure of your inner person.
Resolved: I will remember His love and continue to obey His word. David wrote, "For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth" (26:3). That statement implies two very subtle yet common temptations that occur when mistreatment comes our way: first, to doubt God's love; and second, to drift into disobedience.
David declares, "Your lovingkindness is before my eyes." He resolved to view anything that comes before him through the filter of God's lovingkindness. Then, lest he drift into the ugly yet common temptation to strike back, he resolves to walk in God's truth. Do you see this? Clearly, David's eyes are on the Lord's love for him . . . and his guide through the otherwise bewildering maze of mistreatment is the Lord's truth.
Are you aware of the best proof of love? It is obedience. Our Lord reminds us of that in John 14:15, 21, 23:
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (14:15)
"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the
one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by
My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to
Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he
will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will
come to him and make Our abode with him." (14:23)
If you are confident that God really loves you, you will neither doubt nor drift in your response. Instead, you will find great delight in pleasing Him. There is nothing quite like love to motivate us from within.
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.