I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells. Psalm 26:6-8
Commentator Derek Kidner calls Psalm 26, “Pure Devotion.” He writes: “An absorbed delight in the presence and house of God makes the core of this Psalm (verses 6-8) a personal confession that shames our ‘faint desires.’ “
Many of David’s Psalms reveal him as the man after God’s heart, as one who lived a life devoted to God, His people and His house. We often find David panting after, and thirsting for, God, enjoying His courts, shouting for joy, and singing to the Lord. We find his praise to be most vociferous when he is in the presence of God’s people (see Psalm 27:6, 42:4, 68:24-26). This kind of devotion required that David forsake those wicked people who would lead him into falsehood and hypocrisy. Instead, he spiritually aligned himself with those who were publicly singing around the altar in the temple courts. His choice to hate the company of evil doers and in turn love God’s people, reveals where David’s heart is. Rather than surrounding himself with those who might be a stumbling block, David chose to fellowship with the ‘great assembly,’ where he experiences the sure footing a level ground (v. 12). David understood that he was on safest ground when his conduct was on open display before God’s people. He knew that there was no better place on earth for him to join in the triumphant proclamation of the glorious works of God than in the assembly of the saints.
Like David, we all face choices when it comes to the company we keep. When we first become a Christian, chances are that most, if not all, of our friends are unbelievers. But that changes over time as we realize how little we share in common with our old friends, and how much we have in common with God’s church. Much can be said of our own heart by the company we desire to keep. No matter how spiritual we might think we are, we deceive ourselves if we think that we can live a life devoted to God and yet have no care for the fellowship of His people. True love for Christ necessitates love for His body, the church; and in the absence of the latter, the former needs to be called into serious question. On the other hand, he or she who is in regular company with the saints of God, and is thus accountable to his or her church community, is more apt to have a stable walk. The “church hopper” or the one who thinks he can worship God on the golf course on Sunday morning is on shaky ground spiritually. If we are going to live a truly devoted life – communion with Christ, meditation on the Word, and fellowship with His people are all equally prerequisites.
This week measure your devotion to Christ by the barometer of your love for His church. Where that may be lacking, repent and purpose to devote yourself to the love of the brethren in your church.