The opening three verses of psalm 26 announce a theme that balances judgement and clemency, truth and loving kindness:
- BE THOU my judge, O Lord, for I have walked innocently: my trust hath been also in the Lord, therefore shall I not fall.
- Examine me, O Lord, and prove me: try out my reins and my heart.
- For thy loving-kindness is ever before mine eyes: and I will walk in thy truth.
To ask God to be our judge is both an alarming and a comforting thing to do. Alarming because there can be no evasion of truth since God sees all things, but comforting because in Christ we see that the God of truth is also the God of grace ‘ We beheld his glory…full of grace and truth’ as John testifies. Our own judgements on the other hand are partial, both because our knowledge is incomplete, we only know in part, and because we are inclined to partiality, to favour ourselves and be over severe with others. This is why Jesus specifically says ‘ do not judge and you will not be judged.’ and Paul says ‘ I judge not even myself’. The psalmist here seems confident of his innocence and his clean hands. I cannot say the same for myself, but I can still trust myself equally to God’s judgement and mercy.
These themes were all in my mind as I responded to psalm 26 and so was a beautiful hymn by Faber which we sing regularly which begins:
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea;
there’s a kindness in his justice
which is more than liberty.
but I was especially remembering the verse:
But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.
So my poem became a plea to let him judge, to rest in his mercy and to see with his eyes.
As usual you can hear the poem by pressing the ‘play’ button if it appears, or else by clicking on the title. For the other poems in my psalm series type the word ‘psalm’ into the search box on the right.
That I may find my peace in all he wills
I call on him in faith, to judge for me,
Since my own judgement fails and all my skills
In reckoning forget his clemency.
For when I judge myself, when I judge others
I do so with a false severity.
He has a far more patient love, that gathers
All his lost and fallen children home
Into that habitation where he mothers,
Fathers, and befriends, us, where the same
Love is lavished on the least as on
The greatest and he welcomes all who come
To him. I may have shunned them, but the son
Who died for them knows better than I do,
Oh let me see with his eyes from now on!
If you are enjoying these posts, you might like, on occasion, (not every time of course!) to pop in and buy me a cup of coffee. Clicking on this banner will take you to a page where you can do so, if you wish. But please do not feel any obligation!