Text: Psalm 26: 1-7. "Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works."
David challenged the Lord in this prayer, "examine me and see if there is any wicked way in me, prove me now oh Lord". David had some measure of integrity to challenge God's authority - 'prove me now oh Lord'. This is a hard prayer to pray but in the days of adversity, the prayer of integrity will always deliver the righteous!
The son of David having eaten of his father's wisdom and having seen some in action penned these words in Proverbs 11:3, "The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them". In other words, the integrity of the righteous will deliver him in the days of trouble. David had to call on that many times during his journey, on the basis of his integrity he had called on God many times to reexamine his judgments or intervene in his case!
This was also the case with Hezekiah when God sent the prophet Isaiah to him to pass on a prophecy of death! Isaiah 38 records his story, 'In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the Prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, And said, Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore"(Isaiah 38:1-4). Hezekiah reminded God of his walk with him, and before Isaiah could get out of the door, God changed his verdict and ordered Isaiah back and fifteen more years were added to the life of Hezekiah!
In the days of trouble, integrity gives us the boldness to come before the throne of heaven. This was what Hezekiah did here, he reminded God, "I have served thee with a perfect heart", and then God's judgment was reversed and the hand of death stayed. His integrity changed God's verdict!
Our integrity and righteousness will embolden our walk with God!
Hebrews 4:16 tells us, "Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." The scripture tells us here that there is a way to come: LET US COME BOLDLY. A bold heart gives us the right premise to approach God in prayers! But what brings about that boldness is righteousness, our integrity! Proverbs 28:1 tells us, "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion". Righteousness, all defined by the word integrity is what brings us before God with boldness!
This righteousness, however, is not self-procured, human strength cannot obtain it. This righteousness, the one that gives us the boldness to stand before God was giving and impacted unto us by the Lord Jesus when he died on the cross of Calvary, so that we who are afar off may now come near before the throne of grace and obtain mercy and find the grace to help in the time of need! Ephesians 2: 12-13 tells us, "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ".
Furthermore in Romans 5:17 Paul told us, "For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)". Through Jesus Christ, we receive the abundance of grace and also the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS and with this, we can come boldly before God and stand before Him in prayers and fellowship and cry "Abba" father!
Those in the old testament got into this position of integrity with God by their works, but we under the dispensation of grace have this given to us by reason of the finished works of Christ on the cross and so we can come before God, not just with a perfect heart but a regenerated heart! However like Paul said that having received grace can we allow sin to continue to abound(Romans 6:1-3)? And his answer was emphatic: God forbid! The works of Christ has granted us access through righteousness to God, but our daily walk of victory over sin will strengthen our position of righteousness before God!
Holiness and sanctification strengthen our stand before God! Yes, Christ has imputed unto us Gods righteousness and integrity, but holiness will strengthen our stand. It will give us the boldness to stand before God and challenged him to "PROVE ME NOW and see if there be any wicked way in me"!
How many of us modern-day believers can challenge God on the basis of our walk before him, our holiness? How many can say we have based all our life on his truths? How many can boast of our service in the kingdom to God? All these are what makes up the integrity of the upright! Look at David here in Psalms 26. In verse 3 he talked of how he was walked only in the truth of God's word. In verse 4-7 of how he has walked with the right company and of how he has only published and preach the good news of our God. And then in verse 8, he talked of his love for God and his kingdom! It was on the basis of all this that he could challenge God, " Lord prove me, or what else do you want from me"!
What Christ did for us on the cross has given us a basis, but it is not enough! We must grow in our walk with God, we must cultivate always before him a pure heart which leads to a pure life so that when the days of troubles come we can say like Hezekiah, "remember how I have served you with a pure heart, remember my walk before you and my service to your kingdom". There are days of challenges and troubles that only our testimony of integrity and righteousness will suffice for our deliverance!