Sunday, July 05, 2009

Morning Scripture readings

“Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.”

–Psalm 26:1

The verbs and key words in this verse are all so loaded. Vindicate me—shaphat in Hebrew–meaning to govern and to judge, a word used to describe a judge’s ability to discriminate between persons, and a word used to describe God in the final judgment as the one who vindicates that which is right and just. For with integrity I have walked, the word integrity being given a place of emphasis, and meaning wholeness or completeness of character.

And then comes the wonderful verb to trust, to rely on, to place one’s confidence in, to make the source of one’s security. Always when one seeks to trust in the Lord there is opposition and struggle against our being able to do this, and this psalm reflects that by saying the trusting is to be done “without wavering.” In Hebrew this last word means to slip, slide, totter or shake. One of the instances of this verb in the Old Testament comes from 2 Samuel 22:

32: “For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
33: This God is my strong refuge, and has made my way safe.
34: He made my feet like hinds’ feet, and set me secure on the heights.
35: He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36: Thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation, and thy help made me great.
37: Thou didst give a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip

It is worth pausing and asking what it really means to trust in the Lord without slipping, and to pray to be the kind of person who lives like that.