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Psalm 261NIV New International Version Translations
1 Vindicate me, Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered. 2 Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; 3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. 4 I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. 5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. 6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, Lord, 7 proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds. 8 Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. 9 Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, 10 in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. 11 I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me. 12 My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.


We do not know when David wrote Psalm 26. He wrote Psalms 2-41 when his enemies were fighting him. So, he probably wrote Psalm 26 when he was fighting someone. David did not feel safe. He asked God to show him that he was safe because he was honest to God.

Biblical Truth

We can walk with God when he makes us new, whole people. Only God can make us whole. When we are right with God then we can start being right with people. To become a Christian begins with being right with God, or honest to God. We ask God to excuse our faults and we promise to become his servants. Only then we are whole people on the inside to God and on the outside to the people around us. David wrote about God’s good ways. He was referring to the rules that God gives to us in the Bible. The good news is that if we do not obey these rules we can start again. We ask God to forgive us and he does. The goal is to strive for our goal of obedience to God.

David is referencing Deuteronomy 21:6-7, where we read about people washing their hands to show that they had not committed murder. We find the same idea in verse 6. Here it is not murder, but anything that is wrong. In verse 6 we also read about the altar of the LORD. There were two altars. On the big one they sacrificed animals. They burnt their bodies as a gift to God. On the small one they burnt incense as a pleasing aroma for God’s pleasure.

At this time in Jewish history, the house of God was a tent. The Jews carried it with them as they travelled. When David was king he took it into Jerusalem. In verse 8 David says that he loves the place where they put this tent. He did this because he believed that God was there as well as in His home in heaven. In verse 9 David means that when he dies he does not want to be with sinners. He wants to be free, as David wrote in verse 11. This means free after he dies. He wants to be with God in heaven, not with sinners. The flat place in verse 12 is describing a safe place.

Items for Discussion

  • David seems to think he leads a blameless life – Do you think that is a reasonable position for David to have taken? Why or Why Not?
  • David recognizes the importance for securing God’s forgiveness, why would he need forgiveness if he is blameless?
  • What do you think God has placed in the human heart and mind to know that we are hopelessly sinful and in need of our creator’s forgiveness?
  • David says he doesn’t want to end up in an afterlife with sinners, the wicked. If all are in need of forgiveness first, who is it that David does not want to spend eternity with?
  • Is there anyone group or type of person that you do not want to spend eternity with?
  • Yes, we are saved by faith, supported by our good works – What is the role of repentance then?


John 13:33-35
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


Jesus having finished his public discourses, in which He “endured the contradiction of sinners,’’ now applies himself to a private conversation with his friends, in which he designed the consolation of saints. So here we have an account of what passed between Him and his disciples, who were to be entrusted with the affairs of His household (the Church), when He gone “into a far country.” Christ gives them the necessary instructions and comforts. His hour being at hand, He applies himself to set his house in order. In this chapter:

  • He washes his disciples’ feet (v. 1-17).
  • He foretells who should betray him (v. 18-30).
  • He instructs them in the great doctrine of his own death, and the great duty of brotherly love (v. 31-35).
  • He foretells Peter’s denying him (v. 36-38).

Biblical Truth

Although Jesus would die soon, he seemed excited. He knew about the glory that He would receive. However, the disciples did not understand this. When Jesus went to heaven, they would not be able to follow him immediately. This was because they would not die immediately. So Jesus knew that they would be sad because they had separated physically. But they had not separated spiritually. Later, Jesus explained how the Holy Spirit would come to help them. And he would come to guide them.

But first, Jesus gave an important command to his disciples and to all Christians. He told them to love each other. ‘To love other people’ was not a new command (see Leviticus 19:18). But Jesus added something new. To love people as much as Jesus loved people was very different! Jesus showed how much he loved us by means of his death. He became a sacrifice on our behalf. He suffered the punishment that we all deserve. He loved us when we were sinners. He continues to love us, even when we do bad things. He even loves people who reject him. Jesus loves people in a way that is completely unselfish. That is the way that Christians should love each other. This kind of love is more than just a feeling. We show it by means of what we do on behalf of other people. We should help people and we should not expect a reward. When people hurt us, we must not hurt them back.

Items for Discussion

  • Jesus says that others will know you are with Christ if you love one another – What should that outward love look like?
  • Love and hate have been around for as long as mankind. What is it about love that overcomes evil?
  • Can love exist without sacrifice?
  • Can love exist without humility?
  • What is required for evil to exist?
  • Now taking your list of attributes of love and of evil, how do you sort out what others see in us and know, beyond any doubt, we are of Christ?

Discussion Challenge

  • What is the role of discord or peace when others see either in Christ’s church?
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    NIV New International Version Translations