This is a song of preparation, the kind of preparation every worshipper should have before entering God's house. It's a song of self-examination, a song that can be sung to the Lord because He sees all that's in the heart. It's not a boastful song, even though it seems to declare the singer's entire innocence, but it's a song about the general direction and foundation of the life. Even though it's not about a perfect life, yet it is about a life committed to the Lord. The psalmist says, "For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth."
In other words, it's a song about the redeemed life, a life that's innocent before the Lord because, by God's grace alone, every moment of it is lived in dependence upon Him - by His Spirit living within. The psalmist isn't boasting when he sings, "I shall not slip," because he's not trusting in his own strength. He can say, "I have also trusted in the Lord." Because of that trust, he can confidently say to the Lord Who knows him, "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart." He's confident because God has kept him - "Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth."
By grace alone, the whole direction of his life has been to live as one of God's covenant people. For that reason he can sing, "I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, nor will I go in with hypocrites - I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked."
In other words, through careful self examination, the singer has become aware - not that he is sinless - but that God has indeed kept him, that he is indeed still a committed member of the covenant assembly. So he can joyfully sing, "I will wash my hands in innocence; so I will go about Your altar, O Lord, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works!" It's a joyful thing to KNOW you're in God's favor! The singer has wanted to come into the worship assembly, but he needed to think about his life first. Now that he's done that, he's glad because he can say, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells!"
He wants it always to be this way; he wants always to be kept from falling. He prays, "Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes." Instead, the psalmist, and hopefully those he's leading in worship, purpose to remain right where they are at this moment. They sing, "But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; redeem me and be merciful to me. My foot stands in an even place; in the congregation I will bless the Lord."
What about you? David wrote this song while doing his own self examination, but he also wrote it so that people coming to the temple in the morning could prepare their own hearts. Are you ready to come before the Lord? You've failed often. You've sinned times without number. But you've always come back, always repented, always trusted Jesus Christ to keep you and to intercede for you. And He's done it. You, therefore, CAN come into His presence! You CAN worship Him!
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