The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I am not guilty of turning from my God.
All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful,(Ps. 18:20-29 NIV)
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.
These words make us feel uneasy because they seem boastful. We feel that if the Lord dealt with us according to our righteousness that things might not go well for us. But the Psalmist is not asserting sinlessness, he is referring to his personal dedication to righteous living and he is availing himself of the remedies for sin and restoration of relationship set out in God’s Word. Righteousness and blamelessness are not to be equated with works righteousness nor with perfection. The Psalmist praises not so much his own accomplishments, but the goodness of God who has dealt with him faithfully.
The whole section (v20-24) is a celebration of God’s faithfulness. The Psalmist has not turned away from God’s law and the clean hands refer to his confession of sin. There are similar ideas in the NT
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.(1 Tim. 5:22 NIV)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.(Jas. 1:27 NIV)
The Lord is faithful and blameless to those who are faithful and blameless. God rewards us beyond what we deserve, and He is not quick to mark our iniquity. To those who are devious, God causes their deviousness to rebound on them.
God’s justice and goodness are the ground of hope. God saves the humble. The covenant LORD keeps the Psalmist’s lamp burning. This is a helpful metaphor because we often feel like we are a flame that is about to be snuffed out, but God causes our light to shine for His glory. God turns our darkness into light. Dark and lonely fears, anxiety because of health, failed relationships, disappointment with ourselves; God takes all this darkness and turns it to light.
and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,(Col. 1:12-13 NIV)
As God has rescued us from darkness to light so He continues to rescue us. With God’s help we can advance against an army, we can scale any obstacle that is before us.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.(Phil. 4:12-13 NIV)
When God calls us to a task He equips us for that task.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.(2 Pet. 1:3-4 NIV)
Lord God we thank You that You are our strength. You have called us to engage in spiritual warfare. Help us to equip ourselves with the full armour of God and help us to stand firm in the Lord our God. We ask this is in the name of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.