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Psalm 26:11-12 – I Walk in My Integrity

Summary

The psalmist affirms his or her integrity as a person of God, and gives thanks for this firm foundation on which to stand.

Analysis

In Psalm 26, as in several others, the poet speaks of his or her "innocence" (v. 6) and asks to be redeemed in his or her "integrity" (vv. 1, 11). This confuses some readers because it seems to conflict with the Bible's recognition that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). How can anyone claim innocence before God? It would be a mistake to understand the psalmists to be denying that they were sinners like everyone else. Psalms like this one are experiential and situational: like Job, the psalmists claim to have done nothing to deserve the particular accusation or trouble that has come upon them at this moment (Psalm 7:3-5, 9-11)--that is, they do not understand a cause and effect relationship between their actions and the present distress. Some psalms may arise from a formal trial or hearing, where the pray-er is unjustly accused (Psalm 69:4). In such situations, the psalmists rightly proclaim the unfairness of life or, as here in Psalm 26, reaffirm their fundamental trust in God and dedication to walking in God's ways. They are confident that God has and will give them a firm place to stand when faith is threatened (v. 11). A "broad place" to stand--referring, no doubt, first to the temple with its sheltering presence of God--becomes a frequent metaphor in the psalms for the blessing and salvation of God in which the poet can rest secure (Psalms 18:19; 31:8; 66:12; 118:5).


11 But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
   redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
   in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.

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10 February 2011

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