When righteousness is centrally established and becomes the goal and expression of our lives, there emerges a marvelous confidence that God Himself is our champion. We begin to realize that nothing can shake us from our place in His heart, and that He is the one watching over our every circumstance. King David was one who understood this principle to a wonderful degree. His writings reflect a deep confidence in the Lord his God who would protect him in the situations of life, and cause all things to be established in his favor. Meditate on this section of Psalm 7 that reveals the confidence of David’s heart before the Lord:
The LORD shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness,
And according to my integrity within me.
Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end,
But establish the just;
For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.
My defense is of God,
Who saves the upright in heart.
(Psalm 7:8-10, NJKV)
The confidence of David’s life was that he had made the righteousness of God the goal of his seeking. Therefore, because his life was in line with God’s righteousness, he could pray in an amazingly bold way – “Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity within me!” David comes to the solid place of trust where he can depend fully upon the judgments of God, because he knows that his own heart is upright – in other words, he is as fully aligned as possible with the righteousness of God.
By contrast, there also came a time in David’s life when he acted in profound contradiction to righteousness. The story is recorded in 2 Samuel 11, and concerns the situation in which David, as the King of the nation, should have been leading his troops in the war that they were fighting. However, he remained in his palace, where one evening he went for a walk on the roof of his house. From there he observed Bathsheba, the beautiful wife of Uriah, bathing in the open air of her balcony. David lusted after this woman, sent for her, and impregnated her. In order to cover up the situation, the King sent for Uriah, who was one of his military commanders. David tried to get Uriah to sleep with his wife, but the man was too honorable to enjoy the pleasures of home while his soldiers were fighting. So, in a fit of horribly wicked behavior, David arranged to have Uriah placed in the hottest battle zone, where he was killed. David then took Bathsheba to his palace, and claimed her for his wife.
This situation was deeply displeasing to God, and brought great displeasure upon the life of David and his descendants. God sent His prophet Nathan to confront David, who responded with deep repentance, and wrote Psalm 51 as his song of confession. In that Psalm is a profound phrase that grips me each time I read it. Verse six of that Psalm declares that God “desires truth in the inward parts.” This is the formation of righteousness in the interior of our souls – to have our inward parts, our thoughts, attitudes, and secret longings conformed to the desires and ways of God. It is this alignment that God is after so that He might pour out His blessing on His people.