Shadows of the Messiah 2 – Seeing Jesus in Psalm 26
“Walking in Faithfulness”
Psalm 26:3 – “For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness”
“The best way out is always through”, “Dream big and dare to fail”, “Fortune favors the brave”, and on and on and on. Motivational quotes are everywhere. We may read them and we may even be stirred by them, but how far do they really take us? They might inspire us a little bit, but if our motivation is just a motivational quote then we probably aren’t going to accomplish very much.
So what is it that motivates us in life? What is it that motivates us to keep going in hardship, as the saying says, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Where does our motivation come from? More specifically where does our motivation to follow God and walk with Him come from? David says in verse, when God’s steadfast love is before my eyes, I walk in faithfulness. In other words when I realize the love of God I am motivated to serve Him. As Paul says in the New Testament, “it is the love of God that constrains us.” It is His love that motivates us to follow Him.
Yet even though David is motivated he realizes that he is weak. He realizes that his flesh does not desire to follow God. He realizes that He is weak and even as he focuses on the grace of God, He needs more of that grace to vindicate him (v. 1) and to help Him. He needs that grace to sustain him even in his weakness.
That is why he proclaims in verse 11, “I will walk in integrity” but then follows it up by saying, “redeem me and be gracious to me.” In other words God, I am motivated by your steadfast love to walk in integrity and to follow you, but I know that I will stumble and fall so be gracious to me and forgive me even in my sins.
Because of God’s grace David says in verse 12 that he is “standing on level ground.” No matter what comes his way, David can stand because of the grace of God. God has secured redemption and grace for us specifically through the cross of Jesus Christ, for on that cross we were given His mercy and His grace. We were given what we did not deserve, the forgiveness of God, and we were not given what we did deserve, the wrath of God. That is mercy and grace and thanks be to God that His mercies are new every morning. Why? Because everyday we need his grace for the sins we commit.
Here is the truth that David is proclaiming. We can be motivated to walk in integrity. We can be motivated to follow God closely, we can even be like David, a person after God’s own heart, but the reality is even then we are going to fall short. Our motivation will only carry us so far, because we are forgetful people. David certainly was, he walked with God, he was a man after God’s own heart, he forgot and fell into sin. The nation of Israel as a whole was exactly the same way. In fact their lives are in many ways like a roller coaster, up and down. Things would go well for them and they would forget about God, things would go badly and they would repent and come back, then things would go well again and then they would forget. It was a vicious cycle, in which their motivation to follow God only took them so far and then they slipped back into sin.
The entire nation did it, David did it, and we do as well. We can be motivated to walk with God, but eventually we forget and once again we fall short. Yes we need to do what David did, and yes we need to “keep His steadfasts love before our eyes,” but even then we will fall short. We will sin. Fortunately because of the blood of Jesus, because of His sacrifice on the cross we are given His grace and His mercy, new every morning, so we can pray even as David prayed, “redeem me and be gracious to me.” And we can have the blessed assurance that because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that He will. He has made the sacrifice once and for all (Hebrews), so that now there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)”. To God be the glory!