The first verse of Psalm 26 contains a word we don’t use much anymore. It is a word that sums up the heartfelt cry of a man with a deep desire to walk with God in a meaningful way – a shout that should be echoed in the prayer of every Christ-follower.
“Vindicate me, O Lord…”
“Vindicate” means to “declare or prove innocent.” David is calling out for God to declare him innocent of accusations. And, as seen in the rest of the verse, he bases that request on his lifestyle of personal integrity. I’ve been thinking that living a life of integrity is not easy. Many people just don’t understand attempts to live this kind of honest, God-pleasing lifestyle. Jesus Himself experienced terrible things said about His lifestyle;
“The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Luke 7:34
Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” John 10:20
If those kinds of statements were made by people who were uncomfortable with the integrity of the perfect, sinless Christ, they will sure make assertions about your walking in His footsteps. Those same accusers may be the very people asking you, “What’s the use in trying to live a Biblical, God-glorifying life?” That’s the question David is answering with his prayer in Psalm 26.
So, what’s the use? The good news is God promises the faithful walker of integrity “vindication” in the form of His blessings and protection.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Proverbs 2:7,8 (NLT)
Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me… Genesis 20:6
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
There will be people we encounter who urge us to give up the idea of walking with integrity. They’ll tell us we need to do whatever it takes to get ahead. It’s tough to hear, but living a life of integrity before the Lord is not an easy road. When Job’s hard times really got going, his own wife came to him with some advice.
His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” Job 2:9 (NLT)
His answer should be our answer. Even on my worst day, I will say what Job said.
But Job replied … “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. Job 2:10 (NLT)
“… I will defend my integrity until I die. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live.” Job 27:5-6 (NLT)
Reputation is not always the same as integrity. Reputation is what people think of your actions. Practicing God-honoring actions will, in some cases, bring you praise and, in other cases, bring you scorn. I have found that people who do not have a personal relationship with God can’t always understand what I’m doing. Many times they are like Job’s wife. Remember, people didn’t understand Jesus’ life either. We live our lives of integrity to please one person only – the Lord.
“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
One of the most significant vindications of our integrity is the effect our walking in a God-pleasing manner has on the people around us. The best way to teach integrity is to live a life of integrity every day. People, our children in particular, will observe us and may even ask us to explain what we’re doing. What a teachable moment! The entire purpose of hardships, difficulties, and accusations may be to allow your youngsters to see you struggling successfully to maintain integrity before The Lord. Seeing your walk might equip them well when difficult times come into their own lives.
A righteous man who walks in his integrity— How blessed are his sons after him. Proverbs 20:7
The main point being – God keeps accounts. He judges. He is the one we strive to please. And He alone is the one who can vindicate us. He blesses, He provides, He protects, and He rewards.
Based upon a heart’s desire and commitment to walk with Christ in a life of integrity, we can pray with confidence knowing that God will vindicate!
Save me, O God, by Your name, And vindicate me by Your power. Hear my prayer, O God; Give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen against me And violent men have sought my life; They have not set God before them. Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. He will recompense the evil to my foes; Destroy them in Your faithfulness. Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O Lord, for it is good. For He has delivered me from all trouble, And my eye has looked with satisfaction upon my enemies. Psalm 54:1-7
Think about it…