The Fool’s Psalm – by Eliezer Gonzalez

Jan 15, 2016 1504

There is a psalm that only a fool could write. It is Psalm 26: a Psalm of David.

This is a Psalm of his youth, written before he understood the depths of his weakness, and the evil of which his heart was capable. Listen to the words that this fool sang:

 gerrit-van-honthorst-king-david-playing-the-harp-1611-1156x1407x300Vindicate me, Lord,

    for I have led a blameless life;

I have… not faltered…

I abhor the assembly of evildoers

    and refuse to sit with the wicked.

 I wash my hands in innocence,

    and go about your altar, Lord,..

 Do not take away my soul along with sinners,

    my life with those who are bloodthirsty,

 in whose hands are wicked schemes…

 I lead a blameless life;

    deliver me and be merciful to me – Psalm 26:1,5–6,9–11, NIV.

Can there be a more foolish attitude with which to approach God than this? David presents his righteous life and good deeds before God as the basis of his claim for mercy. It is the others who are the “evil-doers”; on the other hand, David refuses even to associate with them.

David calls upon God to judge him – to try and examine his heart. He is confident in his superior moral position in relation to sinners.

God did try David’s heart. And David was found wanting. He was horrified to discover later in life that he was fully capable of adultery and the vilest murder; that he was the bloodthirsty one, that he was the one whose hands were full of wicked schemes – in short, that he himself – to borrow the apostle’s term – was the “Chief of Sinners.”

This is a psalm that David wrote before he became an adulterer and a murderer. Not all of Scripture can be taken at face value.

I confess that I used to take this Psalm at face value when I was young and foolish too, considering that perhaps I too, within myself, might attain such a position of moral righteousness before God in this life.

But I have learnt like David, to pray the prayer of the wiser David:

Have mercy on me, O God,

    according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

    blot out my transgressions – Psalm 51:1.

In this psalm that David wrote many years later, after he understood more fully who he really was, he also pleads with God for mercy. But how different is this plea!

David pleads with God for mercy, not because of his blameless life and innocence, but according to God’s unfailing love and great compassion.

This is the only basis of salvation and acceptance with God. To pray any other prayer is to be the greatest fool.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

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