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Psalms of Self-Righteousness?

January 17, 2011

There is a lot of talk of the difficulty of reading the Imprecatory Psalms and what it means to read them through christological lenses. These are not the only Psalms I struggle with. Today’s daily office came up with Psalm 26. It sounds to me like the Psalm a Pharisee from one of the gospel stories would utter with great enthusiasm, but one that, in the light of Jesus engagement with religion, I would have difficulty uttering with a straight face. What do you think?

1 Vindicate me, O Lord,

for I have walked in my integrity,

and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;

test my heart and my mind.

3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,

and I walk in your faithfulness.

4 I do not sit with men of falsehood,

nor do I consort with hypocrites.

5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,

and I will not sit with the wicked.

6 I wash my hands in innocence

and go around your altar, O Lord,

7 proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,

and telling all your wondrous deeds.

8 O Lord, I love the habitation of your house

and the place where your glory dwells.

9 Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,

nor my life with bloodthirsty men,

10 in whose hands are evil devices,

and whose right hands are full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;

redeem me, and be gracious to me.

12 My foot stands on level ground;

in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.

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