Standing On Solid GroundDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the LORD.
We don't know the exact context for Psalm 26. It could be that David was impressed with the evil around him and wanted to recommit himself to God and God's ways. Or, perhaps David was being accused of things like lying and hypocrisy and wanted to defend himself before God.
Nevertheless, in Psalm 26 David contrasts his faithfulness to God with the sinfulness of those who betray God through their actions: liars, hypocrites, evildoers, the wicked, sinners, and murderers (26:4-5, 9). Unlike these people, David has lived with integrity, loving the sanctuary of the Lord (26:1, 8). Yet, what might seem like boastful pride in his own righteousness is qualified in verse 11 when David prays: "So redeem me and show me mercy." He needs God's help if he is to live a life of integrity.
Psalm 26 concludes: "Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the Lord." The Hebrew word translated here as "solid ground" is mishor. It can refer literally to a "level place" or "plateau" (for example, Deut. 3:10). Yet mishor has, in biblical Hebrew, a metaphorical sense of righteousness or justice. For example, in Malachi 2:6, God says that the Levites "lived good and righteous lives." Psalm 67:4 celebrates the fact that God governs the nations "with justice." Both of these verses use the word mishor.
Thus, in the final verse of Psalm 26, David proclaims that he stands on the "solid ground" of righteousness, the result of God's mercy in his life and that which is demonstrated in his rejection of evil and his love for worshipping the Lord. Thus, in the final line of the Psalm, David proclaims, "I will publicly praise the LORD."
As Christians, we seek to build our lives on solid ground. Jesus teaches us to do this by listening to his teaching and following it (Matt. 7:24). Yet we realize that, like the psalmist, we need God's mercy to help us live out the teaching of Jesus. Thus, we stand before God and live our lives, not upon the righteousness of our own making, but rather upon the righteousness of Christ. When we put our weight down upon him, we are able to walk rightly and worship fully.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways has Christ been "solid ground" for you? Do you feel as if you are living on "solid ground"? How has your experience of God's mercy been translated into right living?
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide his face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in him be found;
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
(This hymn, called "My Hope Is Built" or "The Solid Rock," was written by Edward Mote in the early nineteenth century. He called it "Gracious Experience of a Christian." It joyfully proclaims our standing upon the rock, who is Christ, and who is our righteousness. The words are in the public domain.)