Thursday, October 27, 2011

Like a Smug Pharisee

You may have noticed I didn't post for a few days, then went crazy with the posting.  I had to catch up on the Psalms. I didn't get online from Saturday night until Tuesday night.  I wish I could tell you it was for a great reason, but it wasn't...

It's hard for me to reflect on Psalm 26. I feel bad admitting this, because I know it's not the right attitude, but I read it and I think the psalmist is sort of pompous. The whole Psalm is him going on and on about how perfect he is. I tell myself, "He's reflecting on people slandering him." And I can sympathize with that. But then he goes on and on.

I understand that theologically, spiritually, whatnot, I've been watched clean, to blamelessness, by Christ's blood. So I am upright, through His power. I don't understand it entirely, but I understand it (ha!).  But I also know what I have done. I know my own unworthiness. I know I'm a sinner. I know that knowing that is part of the reason that I have been washed clean.  So when I read this, I can't get past the thoughts that is seems like the Pharisee in Jesus's parable of Luke 18:10-14:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

But I don't know the psalmist's story. And probably, he's innocent in whatever he's been accused of and that's what it's talking about.  But he just seems smug.  And so I don't really like this Psalm.  I'm sorry. 

The Psalm is in its entirety below. Anyone else have any better insights on it than me?

Vindicate me, O LORD,
         For I have walked in my integrity.
         I have also trusted in the LORD;
         I shall not slip.
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me;
         Try my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
         And I have walked in Your truth.
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.
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.
LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
         And the place where Your glory dwells.
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.
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 congregations I will bless the LORD.

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