TLIC Psalms. January 28. According To My Righteousness.

Read Psalm 18:20-27. 20The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.

This part of the psalm can feel a bit awkward. Why is David sounding so proud here? How can he be so sure of his own righteousness like this? If God saves a humble people, then why doesn’t David sound very humble?

But for David this isn’t about rehearsing all his good behavior with God. It’s about remembering his covenant friendship with God (the word merciful in verse 25 is a covenant word). David has already vividly pointed out in the psalm how God keeps his covenant with him. Now he’s declaring how he too has kept covenant with God. That’s what God’s covenant friendship with us does, it empowers us to live in reciprocated love and loyalty with our Savior.

Of course, these words fit even more perfectly in the mouth of Jesus. He alone kept the ways of the Lord, never departed from God, was blameless, and free from all guilt. Yet on the cross he was not dealt with according to his righteousness, but according to OUR unrighteousness. He was clean, yet treaty as filthy. Why? So that God might save the humble. Those who are poor in spirit and know it.

To live is Christ is to always begin from a place of humility before God, but then to boldly claim the imputed righteousness of Christ as our covenant friend, and to grow in your own covenant love and obedience for God.

Prayer. Jesus, It’s hard to imagine that you would choose to be so loving and loyal toward me. Thank you for sharing your righteousness with us and for always responding to us in your mercy.


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