Reading in my bible today, I noted the passage of Psalm 18:19-24.
David praises God in verse 19 that he had been brought into a large, spacious place…(as in an open field, away from the many distresses that had been a part of his life)…and was delivered by God…and He knew it was because God delighted in him.
Then David goes on to declare that the Lord REWARDED him according to his (David’s) righteousness, and according to the cleanness of his hands(David’s), the Lord had recompensed him.
The meaning of recompense is “to pay or give compensation for”, and reward means “the pay or compensation we do receive” in return for something.
So, how does THE LORD INTERPRET our righteousness and the cleanness of our hands in HIS EYESIGHT?
We need to answer this question, for He recompenses and rewards His children according to His Interpretation of our righteousness and cleanness of our hands. David clarifies “in His eyesight” in verse 24 to mean from God’s perspective not his own.
Because we have three very clear verses sandwiched in-between verse 20 and verse 24, which are parallel verses (nearly identical), we may assume that THE ANSWER LIES NESTLED BETWEEN THESE VERSES… and it does!
SO…let’s ponder verses 21-23 of Psalm 18…
David actually lists the righteousness and cleanness of hands that God rewarded and paid him back for!
David declares 6 things he did in lifestyle…that caused the Lord to delight in him…and that brought to him the reward and recompense earned. These are considered his righteousness and cleanness of hands:
Verse 21a “I kept the ways of the Lord”
- In other words, David followed the Lord’s instructions-commands-leading-purposes and resolved to be obedient to what he knew to be right…or God’s way. He resolved not to be disobedient or to choose his way over the Lord’s ways.
Verse 21b “I have not wickedly departed from my God”
- In other words, there was no rebellion in his heart or actions. He didn’t run away FROM God…instead He ran TO God… in each situation that would present itself.
- He did not choose to go his own way, or the ways of the heathen people around him, or the way of another god, or the way of Satan.
- Do you notice the word “my” God? He stood on the fact that God was his…and he was God’s…and he knew it would be “wicked” to go away from “his” God. David “took ownership” of His Faith… he did not stand in denial of his faith.
Verse 22a “God’s judgments were before me”
- In other words, He chose to find out and to know what God said about any particular matter. He chose to think on God’s viewpoint…and see from his vantage point. He let the Word of God lead him into right living, and away from evil ways, for he was able to discern good from evil with God’s judgments before him.
- The ways of his contemporaries, the ways of man, were not his focus. God’s judgments were the focus—of his heart…with thought and intent to follow them.
Verse 22b “I did not put away his statutes from me.
- In other words, he clung to God’s statutes (guiding laws) rather than holding a blatant disregard for what God set forth in his word as his moral law, governmental law, spiritual law, etc…something many men and women do today. To “put away” his statutes, a person is consciously choosing to be unrighteous…plain and simple. Righteousness is walking in these statutes… not putting them away (or aside) to go your own way…in a non-caring attitude of disrespect for God. This is indeed unrighteousness and uncleanness of your hands. An example among modern Christians would be a couple’s choice to be living together and sleeping together with someone not a spouse (i.e. outside of marriage), for fornication is indeed against God’s statutes. The couple would be “putting away” His statutes to do what they pleased, making the choice to conform to the norm of society, or simply their own desires, rather than God’s statutes. They will not be rewarded as David was… by coming into a spacious place and delivered from distresses. But they could be… if they would simply change their minds and actions, and resolve not to “put away” His statutes, but to heed them. Note, It is always possible to “take back what we put away” of God’s statutes, for God always responds to those repentant. His grace and mercies plentiful.
Verse 23a “I kept also upright before Him”
- In other words, David kept himself “in good conscience” before the Lord. His actions and attitudes and appetites and priorities were such that he could stand before the Lord tall and strong, upright in the sense that He was true to his heart. His heart and mind were in agreement, and this then meant He was in right standing with his Lord.
- As we learn truth, we are responsible for the truth we come to know in Christ…and God himself knows what we have come to know, and therefore the Holy Spirit within us would bring conviction if we were not able to stand upright.
Verse 23b “I kept myself from my iniquity”
- In other words, he took “ownership” of his own bent toward evil… his own iniquity. He calls it “my” iniquity. Again he takes ownership…this time not of his God but of his bent toward sin. He knew his own weak areas, areas he would usually stumble into sin, due to an inclination to go the wrong way, in that area… and He chose to keep himself from those temptations and thus kept himself from willful sin. An example: David knew he should not to touch the Lord’s anointed, but he was mercilessly chased and vexed and hounded by King Saul. Yet, he kept himself from his own inner desire for revenge and for solution to this evil man and his armies chasing him all over, by sparing Saul when He could have taken him out (i.e. he could have killed him, but he kept himself from his own iniquity).
We will do well to consider these guidelines of truth and take them to heart, patterning our own Christian walk after their truth. If you and I can get them “rooted down deep” within our own hearts, we too may be rewarded and recompensed by the Lord himself for following likewise.
Isn’t it your desire, to be given what David received as well?…to enjoy the same reward of a spacious abiding place and deliverance mentioned in Verse 19…a place of peace and rest and deliverance from outside distresses? and God “delighting in us?”
So… review these… and SEE how these six areas mentioned by David in Psalm 18 might cause you, yourself, to become strengthened in the days ahead, leading you toward a similar reward and recompense of your Lord.
I shall do the same…for we all… each and every one of us has areas of our life that need to align with God’s Word and Ways. The first thing to suggest is that we come to KNOW His Ways or His Statutes or His Judgments…for how can we identify our iniquities or departures from these unless we know HIM and we know HIS WORD.
Therefore, drawing near to your God, being in His Presence, and enjoying being taught by the Spirit of God from the Holy Scriptures, is the best way to start your own “Rewards Program”. (smile) By the way, you must be a Believer in Christ to be enrolled in God’s rewards program. We know righteousness is a gift of God given in our salvation, so we don’t have to Be Righteous before being a believer… we are Made Righteous when we believe.
However, we often as believers do forget that once we are given this gift of right standing with God through Christ, we are to walk in it… aligning ourselves with God and His Ways… Being righteous and clean in all these areas…to show the world that we do belong to Him…and to receive our rewards in “following” our God by faith.
Our righteousness does not SAVE us…it REWARDS us!
But where are now the many believers who will enroll in the Lord’s “Rewards Program”? The more we spend of ourselves toward God (in following these six guidelines), the more we receive back from our Lord (in terms of peace and rest from our enemies).
Closing Verse: Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He IS God, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
God bless us all with “His Delighting In Us”….
Oh, what a joy it is… and will be… to See and Experience Our Reward!
In this life… yes…
and in the life to come.
Psalms Chapter 18 (A Psalm of David)
19He brought me forth also into a spacious place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 20The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 21For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22For all his judgments [were] before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. 23I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. 24Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.