By the time we finish reading this Psalm, we may feel vindicated, justified, righteous, and confident in ourselves and our relationship with God. I’m quite sure that’s how David intended it. However, let’s go back to verse 3-5. When David is asking the Lord for vengeance and His righteousness, he recognizes that he too is human and very well could have sinned. David asks for righteousness and vengeance against himself as well! Are we that confident in our relationship with God to ask such a bold thing?
I don’t really think David thought he was without sin or justified. I believe David understood the implications of sinfulness and wants the Lord to reveal to him where he may have sinned. Do we ask God to do this to us? Do we ask Him to reveal to us our own sinfulness and to treat us as we deserve? If we do recognize our own sinfulness we ask for forgiveness, not justice. We cry for grace and mercy from a loving God not retribution and wrath from a vengeful God. But what makes us different than the rest? Why should we be shown mercy while we are calling for hail and brimstone against our enemies? Maybe they are calling the same things against you; which prayer should God answer?
Something that has always struck me to the heart and I hope one day I can say with boldness and confidence is when the Apostle Paul wrote for his audience to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Wouldn’t we all benefit to get to the level of following Christ when we know we are doing well and not just when we think we are? All of that without any pride whatsoever! Until then, we must pray what David sang. While we cry out to God for His help and deliverance from our enemies, we must first ask God to show us what we have done wrong.
Too often when we are faced with someone against us we point the finger at the other party and remind them of all they have done wrong. What if instead we pointed the finger at ourselves first and asked God to reveal to us our own sinfulness so we can repent and correct it. Have you ever entered an “argument” or discussion about a delicate situation and started off with, “I’m sorry, I was wrong when I…”? It creates a completely different conversation than what we are used to. If we are truly trying to be better people and specifically better followers of Christ, then our focus shouldn’t be what others have done to us, but what we have done against God and others and ourselves.
In John 16, Jesus is telling the disciples not to be saddened by the fact that He will be crucified. He says, “Don’t be sad. It’s a good thing!” He then begins to explain the future coming of the Holy Spirit. However, the first thing He says about the benefit of His coming isn’t miracles, but conviction:
8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
During Jesus’ time, they were used to the scribes and Pharisees pointing out to everyone that they were sinning and breaking God’s Law. They were walking, talking copies of the Old Testament and literally made their living off of condemning others. This was built into the culture and trickled down. The heads of household would work hard to make sure their families were following the Law so they wouldn’t be condemned by these teachers and possibly identified as sinful outcasts. This is spiritual oppression. But now that the Holy Spirit is made available to us, we don’t need anyone telling us we sinned because God reveals it through Him. It is for freedom we have been set free from this oppression. The question is: are we willing to hear it so that we can become better?
Not many people in this world doubt that as humans we sin. But what are we doing about the sin in our own lives? We can’t stop someone else from sinning, but we can surrender ourselves to God and be transformed so that we no longer sin. He has given us the power over sin through our surrender to Him. Will you surrender today?