Although we are several millennia removed from the Old Testament world, we still share a great deal of solidarity with our believing brothers and sisters throughout the ages. Times may change, yet the basic nature of people remains the same. Evil is still evil; and, integrity has permanence. Maybe because I am a pastor, I see the inner workings of sin more than the average Joe. And I will say that evil still exists, and it is every bit as ugly as it was in biblical times.
Followers of Jesus throughout the world still stare into the face of wickedness, and of those who would seek to do them harm. Even in this enlightened age, in this modern Western world I live in, there are those who twist the truth, and try to bend every circumstance to their own advantage, not caring whom they damage in the process. If you know this to be true, and you are or have experienced the slanderous breathings of devious persons, then Psalm 26 is for you, my friend.
Although the psalmist had to endure situations he did not deserve, his response was twofold: he was determined to walk with integrity, no matter what others might do or say to him; and, the psalmist left room for God to work instead of paying back evil for evil. It would be good to pray along with this psalm, “Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering…. As for me, I shall walk in my integrity: redeem me, and be gracious to me.”
The lectionary repeats the same psalm every three days, every week, for a reason – to encourage us to pray biblical prayers that allow truth and sound theology to permeate our spirits and sink deep into our needy souls. And those prayers are perhaps most needed when we are undergoing the adversity of human evil.
O Lord God Almighty, prove me and try me; test my heart and my mind. Your steadfast love is before my eyes and I walk in your faithfulness. Do not sweep my soul away with sinners. Be gracious, merciful, and kind to me today and always for the sake of Jesus Christ, your only Son. Amen.