Torchbearers for Christ
Thursday, August 16, 2018
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No Need To Backslide

Psalm 26:1 ............. "I shall not slide"
 
Psalm 26 is an account of David’s unwavering confidence in God as his friend, his protector and sustainer. It is the testimony of a man of utmost sincerity whose desire is to live wholeheartedly for the Lord. As we look at each verse we shall learn how we too may maintain a loving relationship with God and become the person He wishes us to be.
 
At the outset, David asks God to judge him as to the sincerity of his commitment, his willingness to amend his ways if God should so desire. Although he is doing his best to live an upright life, he acknowledges that there could well be areas of his conduct that need to be changed.   While he is maintaining this degree of integrity and trust in God, he can confidently, but humbly say, “therefore I shall not slide”. We know that living for God requires wholehearted effort; it is likened to climbing a hill (Psalm 24:3) and climbing requires effort, whereas sliding is easy. Backsliding is a very sad occurrence. It does not usually happen quickly, rather there is a gradual neglect of the basics involved in living for the Lord, such as personal and collective prayer, reading and obeying the Scriptures and meeting with God’s people. The Scripture contains numbers of warnings about the possibility of departing from the faith, but in this Psalm we have a series of principles that will enable each of us to live a fruitful Christian life and to finish well.
 
In Psalm 26:2 David invites God to “examine, prove and try” him. From time to time this can be a healthy exercise for a Christian. In Psalm 139:23-4, the psalmist prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting”. God is fully aware of the state of our heart, that is “the hidden man of the heart”, but He wants to reveal to us anything that we need to change. In the next verse the psalmist declares, “Thy loving kindness is before my eyes”. He is constantly mindful of, and grateful for, God’s goodness to him, which is a commendable attitude for us all; God has “loaded us with benefits” (Psalm 68:19). There is always something for which we can thank and praise God.
 
In verses 4-5 and 9-10 of Psalm 26, David tells us he is determined to avoid the influence of ungodly men and women. Although we live in a world that largely neglects God, we dare not conform to the life style of unbelievers. We recall how in Psalm 1 God tells us “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law does he meditate day and night”. Psalm 26:6 and 7 tell us of his determination to maintain purity of life and also to joyfully share his faith with others. He then reiterates his determination to maintain his integrity, at the same time asking God to be merciful to him. In verse 11 he uses the interesting expression “as for me”. When we meet this phrase in the Scriptures, it conveys the thought that, regardless of how others may behave, the writer is determined to do what is right in God’s sight. For example, in Psalm 5:7 we read, “As for me, I will come into your house in the multitude of your mercy and in your fear I will worship towards your holy temple”. In Joshua 24:15, Joshua expressed his determination to retain his commitment to God when he said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.
 
Psalm 26:12 concludes the psalmist’s ambition when he says, “On sure ground my feet are set; where His people gather I will join in blessing the Lord’s name” (Knox translation). If we follow the good advice contained in this Psalm we too can say “I will not slide”.
 
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  For many years, he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.