1 Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart (Psalm 26:1-7 NASB).
The Christian life today is no picnic. Sin, the flesh and temptation are everywhere. There is also a daily piling on of bad news. Each day brings a new horror of the "people of the Book (the Bible)" as some call our brethren in distant lands, are routinely persecuted, martyred and more. The Easter Sunday 2019 church destruction by terrorists, while Christians were gathered for worship in Sri Lanka, stunned the world as over 400 perished. Churches are still closed, weeks after this horrible event.
Yet, with all of this, we are not only expected to persevere in tribulation, but just like King David, who wrote most of the Psalms, we must shine. We shine above the fray, muck and dirty clay of the day through our constant repentance and drawing near. This is the essence of Holiness. The word, Holiness itself means to be set apart. The spirit of the word implies not just being absolutely
This means that we do not participate in outings and after work drinks at bars with co-workers; share their R or X rated movies; laugh at their dirty jokes; read their books; engage in "Christian yoga" or agree with them that any other "faith" system is even comparable to the Incomparable Majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be so much above reproach that we can appeal to God as David did, above, in the first two verses of Psalm 26, as he called out the Yahweh.
Holiness in the Eyes of the Lord can only be attained to, if a person is made right before God. This means only born-again, Bible-believing Christians can pursue Holiness, without which we cannot see God. This is the premise underlying everything which follows here and in the rest of this discussion. The cry for “vindication” here, therefore, is one of an appeal to the Righteous Judge of Heaven – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Vindication is not just “cleared” in the worldly sense, but it is the Lord continuing to execute judgment by defending us, even when we cannot see it, earn it, deserve it and more! In this process, God, our Father, has done His part. He is not only actively defending us (gleaned from the original Hebrew language) but if we stay close, plugged-in, tuned-in, by His side and daily in worship and repentance, He will also ensure that the world sees a man or woman of integrity, honor and decency.
As He has done His part, so must we. The last part of verse one needs no explanation. It underlines our solid commitment to Christ, with no compromise ANYWHERE :“I have trusted in the Lord, without wavering (Psalm 26:1b)
Psalm 26:2 "Examine me...try me.....test me"
This verse has a trio of commands which we had better be prepared to stand in scrutiny for, if we are to move to and live in Holiness! Let us look for a moment at the active, present tense verbs here: Examine, Try, Test. Taken individually, it requires much attention paid to the and against the human propensity to sin. Even good Christians sin, miss the mark at times, either actively or passively. So when we invite God to examine, try and test, we had better be prepared for some, even, fiery, refining!
EXAMINE: this is exactly what it sounds like. God can “weigh us in the scales”, of righteousness and holiness, and we can either be found wanting or not. Further action is optional.
TRY: However, when we ask the Lord to “try”, this literally means “Lord, put me to the test. I can handle it”. This is a very dangerous thing. If this is not prayed to Abba Father in all humility, and we pridefully think we are already “there” and “God will be really happy with me”. Please reconsider. Personal experience points elsewhere. We should only have to learn this lesson once, reset and approach the Lord, in the correct manner, the second time around.
To ensure that our bodies, minds and souls are even ready to be put to the test, let us resolved to not just pray daily, but to commit ourselves to a lifestyle compatible with Scripture to the point of a day or so, of prayer and fasting to evaluate our personal walk. There is nothing complicated about any of this. Yet, because the process of Holiness in the Lord is easily comprehended, it still remains hard work. It is most definitely rewarding, and yes, and all faculties must be in agreement to be engaged 24/7.
To compound this bold statement of “Lord, weigh me in the scales (Examine) and put me to the test (try), but now the Psalm says “test my mind and my heart”!
TEST: The word for test here, in the original bible language, connotes “refining”. Whether it is crude oil or a diamond straight out of the mines of South African, refining is a very intense deal. Think of the refining process for gold. When gold is mined from the ground, it contains all kinds of impure stuff. These include metals mixed into the gold such as zinc, copper and iron. In a furnace of up to 1950 degrees Fahrenheit, the gold is smelted by using borax and soda ash to the now melted gold, thereby separating the pure gold from the less precious metals like copper etc.
In addition, one of the meanings of the bible word for “test” – Tsaraph – is smelt (as mentioned in the paragraph above). Smelting is not some small fishing here. It is the direct application of heat to ore (silver, iron, copper etc) in order to extract metals from that particular ore in this case - gold. Fire and heat brings out the precious metal sought, from the raw materials. The Lord cleansing, purifying, molding and making us in His Image is the only way He can make us more like Him.
There is a reason He said the following in Romans 12:2..."do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect"
Holiness is a process as we have just seen. Salvation and conversion can occur in the twinkling of an eye, but sanctification in the ways of the Lord takes a lifetime.
Holiness is a commitment otherwise we would not be able to survive the examining, trying and testing it requires when the Lord begins to make us whole and clean.
Holiness is the call of the Christian. Let us therefore resolve to persevere and prevail, through constant prayer and the washing of the Word (reading the Bible more than once daily, when possible). Let us then meditate on the following prophetic passage from Malachi 3, verses 2 and 3:
"But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness".
Credit: "How Things Work" - https://science.howstuffworks.com/gold5.htm
Bible Used in all blogs in recent years: New American Standard Bible
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
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