Summary: Integrity is the mark of true character. The best men needing redemption and mercy; or the outward walk before men, and the secret walk with God. As a man whose feet are firmly fixed upon even ground is apprehensive of no fall, so the pious worshippers of
Opening illustration: He was a politician noted for his integrity. Although this description might be viewed by some as a contradiction in terms, it certainly was used often and correctly to describe US Congressman Paul Henry. After the three-term member of the House of Representatives lost a battle with brain cancer in 1993, political commentator David Broder said, “He was a model of what a public servant should be.”
There was good reason for Paul Henry’s integrity. He was a Christian who devoted his life and service to the Lord. In many ways his life mirrored the characteristics mentioned in Psalm 26.
The psalmist David said that he (i) walked in God’s truth, (ii) avoided sinful entanglements, and (iii) enjoyed worshiping God. In a similar way, Paul Henry (a) sought to live by biblical principles, (b) was on guard against the influence of those who were ungodly, and (c) regularly worshiped at his local church.
The integrity David wrote about and Paul Henry demonstrated should be a goal for us as believers in Jesus. As we grow more and more like the One we worship, our lives will be marked by truth and right thinking. Each day we should ask God to help us to live a life of integrity.
Introduction: It is supposed that David wrote this appeal to heaven at the assassination of Ishbosheth, the youngest of Saul’s four sons and the only one to survive Saul, by two of his captains from the time of King Saul. Ishbosheth was recognized by Abner, commander-in-chief of Saul’s army, as being the acknowledged as successor to the throne of Saul, and ruled over all Israel, except the tribe of Judah for two years.
David was protesting his innocence of all participation in that treacherous murder. David declared that he had walked before the Lord in his integrity. This Psalm is coupled on to the foregoing by thoughts and words. At the close of the foregoing the psalmist had prayed for integrity.
How to lead a life of integrity?
1. Walk in God’s truth (vs. 1-3) - sought to live by biblical principles
(a) The testimony of a good conscience bears him witness, Acts 23: 1, “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
• David, like the Apostle Paul had a conscience void of offence toward God, Acts 24: 16, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.”
• The testimony of his conscience that he had lived in Godly sincerity before men, 2 Corinthians 1: 12, “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you – ward (horizontal association).”
(b) He appeals to God:
(i) “Judge me,” v. 1; Psalms 7: 8, “The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.”
(ii) There are ‘3 Modes of Trial’ mentioned here, v. 2:
To affirm and show our integrity, our ‘walk in God’s truths’ has to be proven –
Abraham’s love and obedience to God had to be proven by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac … Jesus’s fasting and praying had to be proven by being tempted by Satan … even in our lives whatever we do or claim to have achieved or done has to be proven … for David, his integrity toward God had to be also proven … There are three modes of trial here challenged, which are said in the original (Hebrew) to refer to trial by touch, trial by smell, and trial by fire.
Therefore He tells God –
• “Examine me,” v. 2; Look at me through and through; make a minute survey; put me to the question, cross examine my evidence, Psalms 139: 23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” We become completely vulnerable to God.
• “Prove me,” Put me again to trial; and see if I would follow such wicked designs as my enemies impute to me, Psalms 17: 3, “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”
• “Try my mind and heart,” The kidneys, the supposed seat of the desires and affections; used metaphorically for “heart,” Job 31: 5-6, “If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; 6- Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.”
Note: The two inseparable companions here are faith and holiness which determine our walk in God’s truths.