Psalm 26 TALK: A Call for Vindication





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What should you do when someone accuses you are being a hypocrite?

I believe any true follower of Christ will face someone accusing them of this, if we live the way we believe God wants us to. David faced this and even much more serious charges by his enemies.

I entitled the previous Psalm “A Call for Love”, now I would like to entitle my talk and study on Psalm 26, “A Call for Vindication” as I believe David wrote this Psalm at a time when he faced dangerous and serious false accusations that both brought down his good name and the name of the God he trusted in and theses accusations placed him in very serious danger.

When could this have happened?

Many have suggested it was when he was on the run from King Saul who falsely accused him of being a traitor to him as King and the God he said he followed by seeking to overthrow his kingship. David of course continually spoke and acted in the complete opposite way. Even though Saul sought to kill him he always stayed loyal to King Saul. He even had many opportunities to kill King Saul but always chose to spare his life and stay loyal to him.

Verse 8 of Psalm 26 speaks of David longing to be in “the house where you live” in David’s time this was the sanctuary or tent which symbolized God’s dwelling with his people on earth. The Ark of the Covenant ascended into Jerusalem (Psalm 24) and was placed in the Sanctuary that sat on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. This is the place where the actual Temple of God was built by David’s son King Solomon. Interestingly the ark of the covenant which represented God’s special revelation of himself to Israel did move away from Mount Zion. This was when David fled his rebellious son Absalom in 2 Samuel 15. In verse 24 of that chapter we read of the ark of the covenant being carried out of Jerusalem by loyal priests led by the chief Levite of David’s time named Zadoc. In the next verse we read,

“Then the king also said to Zadok the priest, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back again. But if he says, I am not pleased with you, then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him”.

 I am confident to suggest that David wrote Psalm 26 around the time of the Rebellion of Absalom. By this time David was in his early 60’s so he could say by this later stage of his life “I have led a blameless life” (verse 1), which we will see is not saying a perfect life but a life lived with integrity. At this time David was accused of many serious things. His son accused him of lacking justice and integrity (2 Samuel 15: 3 -4), one of his loyal counselors Ahithophel (Bathsheba’s grandfather) turned on David to side with Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15: 12 and 31) and finally he is jeered while on the run from Absalom by Shimei a member of Saul’s Benjamite clan. Listen to the false accusations of this man Shimei in 2 Samuel 16: 7 – 8,

“Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel!  The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

This man is falsely accusing David of treachery and even murder but David does not respond to this nasty big mouth man. Again, David leaves his fate in the hands of God as 2 Samuel 16: 11 – 12,11 reads,

“David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to It may be the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

So in these dark circumstances of Absalom’s rebellion when David is being falsely accused by many enemies from many sides David pens Psalm 26 as his response to his accusers.

The Psalm sets down a kind of court case in which David is defending himself against his accusers. However the court is no ordinary earthly civil court but the court of the throne of heaven itself.

I have divided this Psalm up with this context in mind:


 This Psalm is a prayer but a very special kind of prayer because David uses legal language in the opening word of his prayer. This word, “Vindicate”could be translated “Judge”as David seems to be taking his accusers to court but not some kind of civil court but the court of God in heaven. David’s plea or case is based on how he has sought to live his life. It appears from the literal reading of verse1,

“for I have lived a blameless life”,

that David is claiming perfection or that he has lived a perfect life. This of course does not fit either the life of David, what he says in other Psalms and even what he hints at in verse 11 of this Psalm when he speaks of God being his redeemer and asking for redemption and mercy.

Most commentators suggest that David is speaking about living with integrity as H.C Leupold writes,

“The Hebrew word for integrity (turnmi) sometimes is rendered “perfect” but could also translate as conduct from which no essential element is missing”.

David had a sincere faith in God sought to live his life as a devoted follower of God. Both 1 Samuel 13: 14 and Acts 13: 22 describe David as “a man after God’s own heart” but David did falter and sinned with both adultery and murder. However David once faced with his sin turns to God in repentance and faith and is forgiven by God.

David now faces some of the consequences of these great sins, in the rebellion of his own son who not only seeks to kill his own aging father but he sleeps with some of David’s wives also predicted by the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12 : 11 – 12. David’s words in the second half of verse 1, ring true,

“I have trusted in the Lord without wavering”,

 Even in the face of his most terrible hour, his sins of adultery and murder it is his faith in a loving God that David turns to for forgiveness.

Now in the face of terrible accusations by his enemies who include is very own Son, Absalom David turns to God for vindication.

He comes to God, a God he knows and sees the hearts of all people and says,

“Test me, O Lord and try me, examine my heart and mind”(verse 2)

As David writes in another Psalm, Psalm 139: 23 – 24,

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.

This is a most daring prayer, would you be prepared to pray that kind of prayer? Opening yourself up to God in honest and humble faith. I think Charles H. Spurgeon sums up what David is doing in this prayerful appeal to God in heaven when he writes,

“Examine me, O Lord, look me through and through; make a minute survey; put me to question, cross examine my evidence. And prove me. Put me again to trial; and see if I would follow such wicked designs as my enemies impute to me”. (Treasury of the Psalms)


David now presents his case to God with what I call a three point defence. David believes his resolve has been to always seek to live his life for God. He now sets down in the Psalm three defence points:

  1. His resolve to live his life God’s way (3 )
  2. His resolve to live his life not contaminated by evil doers (4-5 and 9 -10)
  3. His resolve to live his life in true worship and service of God (6 –8 and 11)

We shall see that these arguments are in opposition to what he is being accused of by his enemies.

  1. His resolve to live his life God’s way (vs. 3)

David’s first defensive argument is his life’s resolve to live his life in the light of God’s love and truth,

“for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth”

 If anyone thought David was claiming that David believed he lived a perfect life in verse 1 then his words here point to something very different. What is in the sights of David as he seeks to live his life, nothing more than the Love of God. David knew he was a sinner but he also knew that his God was a God of redemption and mercy as he states in verse 11,

“redeem me and be merciful to me”

 David knew his God had continually revealed his love to both himself and his people. Was not his God the same God who freed his people from slavery in Egypt?

Even after God did this those same freed people turned away from their God to worship other God’s but again and again the bibles story is God forgives owing of his mercy and love.

David knew in his life the hand of God’s mercy and love especially after his sins of adultery and murder.

As he writes in Psalm 51: 1,

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions”

We have even more reasons to believe in a God of Love because we know Jesus, God’s only Son who was sent to this world out of the Love of God. He came from heaven to this world to die for our sins on the cross and redeem us from the certain judgment of God. As that famous most quoted bible verse says in John 3: 16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

We should resolve to live our lives with this God of love ever before our eyes.

But David does not just resolve to live his life with the love of God before his eyes but he also resolves to;

“walk continually in your truth”

David’s accuses like Shimei, accuse him of hypocrisy of saying one thing but doing another of living a lie not living the truth of God which he proclaimed. Shimei claimed David caused the death of King Saul, that David turned on God’s appointed King Saul and that David was King because of his treachery and deceit. Nothing could be further from the truth. David was to the end of King Saul’s life a loyal subject even during the sad saga of Saul’s murderous pursuit of him.

David took God at his word, he believed that Saul was God’s King and even if Saul sought to kill him that gave him no right to kill the Lord’s anointed King. Yet not only Shimei spoke of David as a hypocrite but his very own Son Absalom who now, like Saul many years before chased after him to kill him claiming his father was not the true King of Israel but rather he was the one who would be a more just and loving leader.

How these cruel and false accusations would have hurt David and in fact in the text of 2 Samuel chapter 15 verse 30 reveal this,

“But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went his head was covered and he was barefoot”.

This is a graphic picture of a broken man suffering great pain of spirit in a dangerous and difficult time. The reference to The Mount of Olives is uncanny as it was here that Jesus went to pray on the night before his crucifixion. Here Jesus prayed with great anguish as he faced a day of false accusations and great pain and suffering.

But David like Jesus did not give up or turn from the path God had laid before them, In Luke 22: 42, Jesus prays,

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”

David faced his protractors with the same spirit of commitment to his God that Jesus showed, In 2 Samuel 16: 12, David says,

“It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today”.

David’s resolve was to live his life with God’s love

“ever before him and to walk continually in his truth”(verse 3, “International Standard Version”).

This was his first defensive argument in his case to the court of God in heaven in his defence against those who accused him of hypocrisy.

  1. His resolve to live his life not contaminated by evil doers (4-5 and 9 – 10)

The words in verses 4 and 5 remind me of similar words in Psalm 1. Psalm 1 sets down the formula for a blessed life interestingly Shimel’s false accusations against David in 2 Samuel 16 imply that God had cursed David’s life,

“The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

 Yet David would argue according to the formula for a Blessed life he had not

sat with deceitful men or consort with hypocrites”.  (vs. 4)

 Psalm 1 puts it in verse 1,

“does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers”.

So often people are slandered because of their association with known criminals. During the 1980’s I often heard of a person being a friend of a known racing identity. It often puzzled me unto my father pointed out that racing identity was code for under world criminal. People will say, “you know what a person is like by the company they keep”. David puts his cards on the table and says in verse 5,

“I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked”

David is saying that by the test of Psalm 1 for a blessed life he is not numbered among the wicked people of his day.

In verses 9 and 10 David returns to this defence point and asks God that his,

“Soul be not taken along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes”

David faced many men like he describes here in the rebellion of his son Absalom. One man particularly caused great pain and disappointment to David and this was his wife, Bathsheba’s, grandfather named Ahithophel who David used as a trusted counsellor (2 Samuel 15: 12). This man, who must have been very old by now was turned by the sweet-talking Absalom into a supporter of his treachery and lies. David is told of Ahithophel’s treachery and in verse 31 David prays,

“O Lord turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness”

David did not seek the counsel of wicked men but sought to surround himself with men who he believed sought to honour God.

This is the problem once we start to spend time with and confide in people who oppose God and his word then we are on the slippery slope of falling away from God.

Interestingly Jesus was accused of being a sinner because he associated with sinners during his earthly ministry. Mark records such an incident in Mark 2: 16,

“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

 Jesus reply to this charge is in the next verse,

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”.

I believe we are to follow the example of Jesus, even if it puts a question over our Christian commitment and be friendly towards those who do not know our Lord. However this should not go as far as seeking counsel and advice from the wicked. Our close friends and associates must be those who share the same faith as us. Hopefully we can help increase the numbers of those who have this faith by our friendship and witness.

David makes it clear he wanted no part in the ungodly rebel movement of his day and he uses this as evidence to God for his vindication from the charges of hypocrisy and Godlessness.

  1. His resolve to live his life in true worship and service of God (6 – 8 and 11)

David now turns to his resolve to live his life in true worship. He contrasts his alleged association with evil dowers with his pure and simple worship of his God, In verse 6 he uses the expression of “washing his hands” Leupold explains the significance of this concept with these words,

“It would appear that from days of old the rite of washing hands was used as a ‘solemn attestation’ that a man was guiltless”

The most memorable example of this was Pilot when he is faced with the mob seeking the death of Christ. Pilot tries in vain to wash his hands of the guilt of sending an innocent man to his death on a cross. Pilot of course could not clear his guilt with this act.

So David says,

“I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar”

 David then points to the essence of his worship. He does not refer to bulls or lambs being offered on the altar but rather,

“proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds”

At the end of David’s life the book of Samuel describes David in these words,

“These are the last words of David: “The oracle of David son of Jesse the oracle of the man exalted by the Most- High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel’s singer of songs”

David not only wrote many of the Psalms but he set up the use of Psalms and music for worship in the Sanctuary and after his death his son Solomon built the Temple, 1 Chronicles 15: 16 reveals David setting up and establishing Temple worship practices,

“David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals”.

So David uses his notoriety of his leadership in worshipful praise as evidence to God that he is true to God and not as his accusers are saying a hypocrite and sinner.

David goes on to say,

“I love the house where you live, O Lord”

David is out in the wilderness separated from the place of worship in Israel by the false accusations of his enemies. He has been on the run before and in fact he spent up to eight years on the run from King Saul. However David learnt from very real painful experience that at all times God was his refuge. In Psalm 23 David speaks of going through the valley of death and yet he claims even here he will fear no evil and he goes on to speak of dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.

Even here when he is obviously separated from the joys of worship in The Sanctuary of the Lord in Jerusalem he makes the claim he wants to be,

“wherever your glory dwells” (vs. 8)

On my trip through Europe I quickly became disillusioned with the vast but cold cathedrals of men that so often now have become nothing more than museums of amazing architecture rather than places of joyful worship. No, the building is not the place of the glory of the Lord it is found in the,

“assembly of the righteous”Psalm 1: 5.

Paul teaches us in Romans 12: 1, that true worship is only found in sacrificial service,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual worship”

David completes his evidence to the high court of heaven with a final summary statement in verse 11,

“But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me”,

David again affirms his central argument to God that he has lead a sincere life of faith and throws himself upon the mercy of God asking for redemption.

David, like on many other occasions in his long life had nowhere else to go but to the God of love and redemption. I found the words of an old gospel song which I think expresses the fact we have been looking at here:

Where could I go oh where could I go

Seeking a refuge for my soul

Needing a friend to save me in the end

Where could I go but to the Lord.


David now shows what great faith he really had, in the final verse he projects himself forward to his final vindication and says,

“My feet stand on level ground: in the great assembly I will praise the Lord”

If he wrote these words while on the run from his rebellious son Absalom then these words make great sense. Out in the wilderness he stood and walked on rough uneven groundbut by faith in his God of love and redemption he saw himself standing on level ground.

Instead of being cut off from the great assembly of worship he saw his future as being in the assembly of worshipers.

So, what does David want to do when he returns to that great assembly?

He wants to,

“Praise the Lord”

This is David’s resolve to live a life of praise and worship to his lord. We have the 73 Psalms (or so) of David to prove that not only was this his resolve but it was in fact his life as well.

David’s final vindication against his enemies is not the fact that Absalom’s rebellion was put down in the end quickly and decisively but that at the end of his life the book of Samuel records, as we have already seen that David was the man who was, 2 Samuel 23 verse 1:

“exalted by the Most- High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel’s singer of songs”


For my conclusion I would like to return to answering the question I put forward at the start of this study:

What should you do when someone accuses you of being a hypocrite?

To start with if someone accuses you of this and it is because you have let them down or committed some kind of sin you need to seek God’s forgiveness (see Psalm 25 talk which deals with this) and admit to the person your sin as well and seek to renew your relationship with them.

However if you are called a hypocrite like David, because the person is falsely accusing you out of hatred and opposition to your allegiance to your faith in the Lord then I think this Psalm teaches us 3 things to do.

  1. Present your persecution to God in prayer

Psalm 26 is a prayer that David prayed as he was falsely accused of hypocrisy and wrongdoing by his enemies particularly during the rebellion of Absalom. God is concerned for his people and longs to help us when we face persecution and strife in our life.

Paul asked the church in Thessalonica to pray for him as he and his missionary team sought to present the Gospel in the knowledge they would face opposition and persecution.

2 Thessalonians 3: 1-3,

And now, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the Lord’s teaching will continue to spread quickly and that people will give honour to that teaching, just as happened with you. And pray that we will be protected from stubborn and evil people, because not all people believe.But the Lord is faithful and will give you strength and will protect you from the Evil One”.

  1. Seek to be seen as a true believer in your witness to others

In David’s case he appealed to the Judge of heaven and earth who he told he did not identify with ungodly company. This he believed backed up his claim that he was not a hypocrite as he was being accused of.

In Peter’s first letter he speaks about how we do not belong to this world that we are strangers and aliens as our home is in heaven. He then tells his readers how they should live in this world and why we should live this ways.

1 Peter 2: 11 – 12,

Dear friends, you are like foreigners and strangers in this world. I beg you to avoid the evil things your bodies want to do that fight against your soul. People who do not believe are living all around you and might say that you are doing wrong. Live such good lives that they will see the good things you do and will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again”.

If we get too involved with the people in this world we are in danger of living like they do, that is taking on their ways and attitudes and this will lead us to becoming in affective in our witness of Christ and could open us up to being called hypocrites for good reasons.

  1. Keep God’s love ever before us even in the face of opposition and persecution

In Psalm 26 verse 3 David declares,

“Your love is ever before me and I walk continually in your truth”.

Even in the face of great opposition and persecution David did not take his eyes off the main attribute of God namely his love. It would seem David parallels God’s love with God’s truth. This is because God’s word, his truth primarily revealed to David that his God was a great God of love.

Jesus taught profoundly that we must,

“Love your enemiesand pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 14)

Jesus is both God’s word and love become flesh and he demonstrated what real love is and John teaches us in 1 John 4: 16 how this love should impact on us,

“And we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him”

I believe the real test of how much we love God is not found in how much we love those who we find easy to love but it is found in how much we love those who we find hard to love, particularly those who hurt us and even persecute us.

Many great enemies of God or of Christ and his followers have turned to become some of his greatest followers. The apostle Paul is a great example of this. He as Saul is described in Acts as a man who,

“Began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison” Acts 8: 3,

Yet this Saul became Paul on the road to Damascus who when he was confronted by the risen Lord Jesus became one of the greatest followers of the Christian faith.

So we must never lose sight of who God really is and what he is like even in the face of being falsely called a hypocrite.

I close as usual with a original poem / song and a word of prayer:


(Based on Psalm 26)

 Vindicate me Lord, I pray

Because I have not deserted you

Vindicate me Lord, I pray

For my faith in you is true.

Even though they call me names

And say my faiths a fraud

Vindicate me Lord

And help them see your word.


Your love is ever before me Lord

Your Son has set me free

You are the way the truth the Life

So, help the blind to see.


Vindicate me Lord, I pray

Because I have not joined the crowd

Vindicate me Lord, I pray

For I won’t join the worldly proud.

Even if men turn on me

I refuse to look away

Vindicate me Lord

And help me show your way.


Vindicate me Lord, I pray

I long to serve and worship you

Vindicate me Lord, I pray

May your glory be in my view?

Even when my world seems dark

When others turn on me

May I keep my eyes on you

Vindicate me Lord

And help me see it through.


Vindicate me Lord, I pray

Your death paid for my sin

Vindicate me Lord, I pray

And wash me clean within.

Even though the world seems cruel

Your love comes shining through

Help me lord to stand my ground

Vindicate me Lord

May heaven be where I’m bound?


Your love is ever before me Lord

Your Son has set me free

You are the way the truth the Life

So, help the blind to see.

By : Jim Wenman


Dear Lord we remind ourselves that you taught us that if they hated you when you where on earth they will hate us also.

We also remember your command to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. So we ask for your help to love those who slander us and call us names like hypocrites. Help us to love them so that they might see in us the love you have given us so freely and in doing so they too might learn to love you as well. In Jesus Name we pray Amen.