Summary: Pleading the blood of Jesus.
AN ANSWER TO THE ACCUSER
One of the names for the devil is, ‘the accuser of the brethren’ (Revelation 12:10). That is his job: ‘your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). Take the case of Joshua the high priest: ‘standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him’ (Zechariah 3:1).
Now, Joshua has the same name as Jesus, and is also a type of Jesus. Jesus has defeated Satan, and all Satan’s lies and accusations. ‘There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1).
This is a judicial declaration. Those who are in Christ Jesus, whatever bad they may have done, stand in HIS integrity (John 3:16). Those who are not in Christ Jesus, no matter what good they may have done, stand condemned before Him (John 3:18).
We do not know what specific trouble that David was facing in Psalm 26, but it has all the hallmarks of a man pleading his case before God based on his INTEGRITY. Unfortunately, this is sometimes translated as blamelessness, which all sounds very arrogant and self-righteous. David’s faults are an open book throughout the Bible: but his character reference is ‘the ‘man after God’s own heart’ (Acts 13:22).
So, whatever the circumstance, David could plead his case before the LORD: “I have walked in my integrity” (Psalm 26:1). How so? “I have trusted also in the LORD.”
In other words, the integrity which David owned as his own did not originate with him, but had its origins in God Himself. We are made righteous by the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9), and are therefore able to stand forensically righteous before the bar of God! David could make his appeal to the LORD: examine me, prove me, search my innermost being (Psalm 26:2).
You see, although we do sin, ‘we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous’ (1 John 2:1). In Him we have the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14), and newness of life (Romans 6:4). If our inclination and our heart’s desire is set towards Him (Psalm 26:3), then what the LORD sees is not our unrighteousness, but Jesus’ righteousness; not our unworthiness but Jesus’ worthiness; not our own unlovely and unlovable selves, but the ‘altogether lovely One’ who stands in our stead (Song of Solomon 5:16).
So, like in Psalm 1, David had made his choice: that he would not sit with the scornful, nor walk with the ungodly (Psalm 26:4-5; cf. Psalm 1:1). He would congregate with those who gathered in the house of the LORD, where God’s honour dwells (Psalm 26:8). He would wash his hands in innocence (Psalm 26:6); and would tell forth his testimony of the wondrous works of the LORD, with thanksgiving (Psalm 26:7).
So, in one sense, it’s not what we have done or not done that commends us to God so much as who we run with. This is evident from Psalm 1, Psalm 15, and onwards. Here in Psalm 26, David recognised the destiny of wicked men, and shuddered lest he might be counted amongst them (Psalm 26:9-10).