Righteousness and faithfulness
“All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.” (Psalm 18:22–27, NIV)
As we read these verses (and verses 20–21 from last week, which you may have thought I was sidestepping), we might want to ask, “Excuse me, David? What about sleeping with Bathsheba and getting her husband killed? That’s blameless behavior?”
But his song seems to illustrate a more general principle, namely that if we follow God’s ways, he will protect and prosper us. After all, David suffered the consequences of his big mistake, just as we often endure trials when we turn from God’s commands.
We need to tread carefully here. For although God may allow suffering in response to our sins, sometimes things go amiss even though we’ve done no wrong, such as with Job or the man born blind (see John 9:3). And sometimes those who do evil still prosper. But generally I believe the principle holds true.
We can look to Psalm 1 for an affirmation of this truth. There we see the wicked who are like chaff whom the wind blows away. But those who delight in the law of the Lord “are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers” (v. 3).
So although David was not without sin, God still called him “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). He made big mistakes, but came back time and again to seek the forgiveness and to be put on the right track. Like David, no matter what our sins are, we can be made righteous, clean, faithful, blameless, pure, and humble.
For prayer: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:10–12, ESV).