Does He Really Have Clean Hands?
Devotional Thought from Psalm 18:18-24
18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity:
but the Lord was my stay.
19 He brought me forth also into a large place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his judgments were before me,
and I did not put away his statutes from me.
23 I was also upright before him,
and I kept myself from mine iniquity.
24 Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
Does anyone remember when Doritos had Guacamole flavor? Those were my favorite chips ever. Whoever made the decision to stop making them may have saved my life but I am not thankful. I can’t say no to them. I just can’t, well except this one time. I was in the restroom washing my hands when I heard a flush and a swinging stall door. A good friend walked by and said hello.
He walked by as I washed my hands.
I made my way out of the restroom to the snack machine for some of my favorite chips only to discover the last bag bought. They had been purchased by that friend who had just walked by me as I washed my hands. That friend was thoughtful. He reached into the bag and offered me a handful of those chips. I said no because I knew the answer to this question,
“did he really have clean hands?”
I have read the story of David. He is my favorite Old Testament person. There are many things I could say about him but I couldn’t say that he had clean hands. David wasn’t all that righteous. The failures of David were great and the results of his failings had national consequences.
So how could he say that he was righteous and had clean hands?
Psalm 18:20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
How could he claim to be upright and to have kept himself from his iniquity?
I was also upright before him,
And I kept myself from mine iniquity.
Someone might say that he was talking about the specific ways he dealt with king Saul since he is the one mentioned in the title of this Psalm.
The argument could be that in relation to Saul, he took the high road and didn’t take revenge when he had the chance.
It could also be said that David, whenever confronted with sin in his life, repented and changed direction.
Benjamin Franklin in the Poor Richard’s Almanac said,
“Many Princes sin with David, but few repent with him”.
David sinned, sure but he came to God for cleansing (Ps 32 and Ps 51). David is the one who prayed,
Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
I believe both of these could provide explanation for David’s speech in this part of the Psalm. We should do our best to live right and do the right thing in every instance, but when we fail like David, (and we will), we should repent and run quickly to him for forgiveness and rest in the righteousness that Jesus has provided.
I think this principle is found in 1 John 2:1
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous
1 John 2:1
My favorite part of the Psalm is verse 20,
He brought me forth into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me
I believe it true of all who come to God through Jesus, the Father delights in you!