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The Bible as seen through the eyes of . . .

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Peter M. Lopez

Excellent. Well said.

Phil Sumpter

I dig this. I find that the piety you speak of has been so institutionlized in certain quarters that it is a real effort to break through it and point to real discipleship. The challenge for us theologians is to have travelled the path ourselves beforehand and felt how this experience integrates with the big picture.


Nice poems.I liked them very much !

James Pate

I've often struggled with Psalms like this, especially because so much of Christianity likes to harp on "I'm a sinner, I'm a sinner." Some Christians like to parade their self-righteousness by showing off how much they consider themselves to be sinners!

A good example of what you're talking about, John, is Nehemiah, who continually asks God to take note of his righteousness, especially when so many forces inside and outside of his community are undermining God's program.


But you're one of those Calvinist morons who says nobody is any good and we're all worthless sacks of crap or less than worms and all such blasphemy against God's own creation. Being hypocritical you are.



Well said. Nehemiah is, as you say, another example of someone who prays in the Bible according to coordinates that pious Christians find offensive. But offensive prayers in this sense are not found in the Old Testament alone, but also in the NT, for example, Revelation 6:9-11. To my mind, the best introduction to the themes of crime and punishment, vengeance and forgiveness, is an unlikely source: Fyodor Dostoevsky, in particular Crime and Punishment, and the Brothers Karamazov. After reading D, it's possible to go back to the Bible and start making sense of things.

I am honoured, Rey, to be your target. Whenever I begin doubting the truth of Calvin's insights, you show up and restore my faith in them.

David Ker

rey's comment is a crackup. and your reply.

Invictus comes to mind here.

I mentioned in the comments on my post that the old English translations seem to confuse reins with kidneys in v.2. I'd be curious to hear your opinion on that.

jonathan robinson

thanks for that. good thoughts.
something i struggle with in reading the psalms is my lack of enemies. i wonder if the reason i dont have many is cos my righteousness challenges no one!



I'm really no expert in Latin. But in Italian, "i reni" refer to the kidneys. Here's a lovely expression in Italian:

ti spacco i reni, ti infilzo con uno spiedo.

I wouldn't be surprised if that worked in Portugese. It means, "I'm going to bust your kidneys, I'm going to skewer you with a barbecue stick."

Bryan L

"That’s the trouble with Psalm 26. It can only be prayed by those who stand up to the prevarication of evildoers, who risk their violence, who have paid a steep price for doing so, and have no one to turn to but God."

Who would you consider the evil doers that need to be stood up against today? Who are the evil doers in America? Who are the evil doers in the world and how would you want Christians to stand up against them?

Since you qualify "Christians" in your title by referring in the first paragraph to pious Christians and then to self-righteous pious Christians I'm assuming your post maybe should be titled "Psalm 26: Why Self-Righteous Pious Chrisitans Cannot Pray it". But then you speak specifically about those who have not stood up against evil doers. So maybe it should be titled "Psalm 26: Why Self-Righteous Pious Chrisitans Who Have Not Stood Up to Evil Doers Cannot Pray it".

But maybe that's not exactly what you have in mind. Maybe those are all interwoven somehow so there is no need to spell all that out which makes me wonder how you define pious and whether it includes self righteousness and not standing up to evil doers (could a pious person stand up to evil doers and still not pray this Psalm because they're pious)?

BTW, can you pray Psalm 23? Could the author of Psalms 23 pray it? ; )

Bryan L



Your parsing of my thoughts are on the right track. It is self-righteous pious Christians who have never stood up to anyone and paid a price for it who will have trouble with this Psalm. But that category is wide and deep, and I risk belonging to it as much as the next person.

I wasn't thinking of whole classes of people to stand up against. That shifts the location of discourse. The psalm is political in a very real sense (about the shape of a polis, a community, its ethos), but the context is interpersonal. The psalmist has in mind actual evildoers who have tried to suck him into their schemes.

Examples that come to mind at that level: when there is a conspiracy at work to bilk someone or a class of people: will you go along, or face ostracism for not going along? Perhaps lose your job? In an extended family, when someone is abusing their spouse, will you participate in the conspiracy of silence, according to the principle, blood is thicker than water, or will you confront the evildoer, on the principle, the blood of Christ is thicker yet? Will you risk the hatred of kin for the sake of the victim?

As for Psalm 23, it is in those moments when I have enemies on my tail that it speaks to me most clearly. "In the presence of my enemies."


Really nice illustration (the Sicilian gentleman). Gets us right past any reflexive triumphalist Christian reading (“Oh, look at the self-deluded and stiff-necked Israelite who thinks he’s so righteous”). I’ll be referring back to this post in my teaching at some point.

Bryan L

Thanks for the clarification John and your illustrations of potential real world evil doers that must be stood up against; they are helpful. Hopefully we will have the courage in those types of real life everyday situations. And hopefully we find in this Psalms words to pray when we suffer for standing up to those who do evil to others.

Bryan L



This relates to the larger discussion of reflexive anti-Judaism among Christians, doesn't it?


Thanks for commenting here, and asking questions.

Jordan Retro 5

Everyone has the life,But not everyone understand life, cherish life. Don't understand life people, The life to him, it is a kind of punishment. So we must love our life.



Thanks for commenting here. Come back anytime.

Lost but Hopefull

I have an odd question... or predicament... I had a dream that someone came to my bed and knelt beside me... And they told that I needed to pray the 26th Psalm every morning and night, and I would get what I need most. I am unsure exactly what I need most, I know what I pray for most often, but that is not necessarily the same thing. Anyway, I woke up and couldn’t stop thinking about the dream, it kept nagging at me until I had the courage to open my Bible and look up the 26th Psalm, I had no idea what it said. After reading it, I though there had to be a mistake, I remembered the wrong number, it was meant for someone else... something... I try to do what is right, but I am FAR from being "perfect" enough to be able to pray the 26th Psalm... Was it in fact, just a dream? I don't know what I expect anyone to tell me. It is really bothering me. I am doing it, of course... I just wish I knew why… it’s not to gain anything, I just feel like it’s what I am supposed to do, how often do we get such clear instruction? I guess I should just have faith. Perhaps it’s more of a goal than what has been done in the past...


Hi Lost but Hopeful,

There is no such thing as "just a dream." So I think you are well-advised to follow your understanding of it. We don't often get clear signals from our dream life, or perhaps we are simply "too smart" to pay attention. Regardless, if you learn to pray Psalm 26, it can only enrich your life.

Lost but Hopefull

Thank you very much. I had no idea what I needed or expected to hear... But that was it... Again, thank you!

Truman 1

Truman 1,

When I read the story about this man that lost everything in one day I felt so bad for him and all the work that was destroyed in one act. The shop owner shows great leadership when he stands up to the mob and tells them that he is not going to pay them because they are powerful and evil. Once the shop owner had saw what happened to his shop he felt many things which is expected. I don’t think that he questioned his decision to stand up to the mob because he knew that what he was doing was right. He still paid a great price for his choice and lost everything that he had worked for. It is a special gift to be able to stand up against someone that is very powerful even when you know that you are in the right and that is why there are so few individuals that possess these qualities.

The Truman Show 4

I think it is very hard for Christians to understand this Psalm mostly because we don't want to say we have been being the best Christians we can be, at least that's my opinion. Personally, it would be very difficult for me to pray this Psalm solely because it does not always stand true in my life. I do not always stand up to my enemies when I should. This said, this Psalm is very refreshing to me. I am proud of all the Christians who can pray this prayer with no shame or doubt.

The Mission 4

I would agree that the idea that we are at automatic guilt of some sin and not fulfilling our duties as a Christian in something that has been deeply rooted in us. I think we all accept this because we know that we are not perfect so we simply omit anything good that we have been doing. I also believe that we subconsciously do this to show respect and to not brag about the good when we know our wrongs when we talk to the lord. I also enjoyed this story in how he did not give into the mob and live his life in constant fear.

As I was flipping through psalms I noticed a correlation with psalms 13, 31, 34, 35. Did David have some enemies?

Shawshank Redemption 4

I agree with Mission 4. I think as christians, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be doing the right thing at all times. But we need to remember that we are only human, and humans are accustomed to mistakes. If we spend our lives trying to be perfect, we will still be making a mistake by not being true to ourself. God loves us as we are and as long as we continue to pray, he will accept us for who we are.

Nell 1

I do not feel that Christian’s cannot pray this psalm, it’s the fact that they may not feel worthy enough to do so. Christians may not want to approach God with a boastful manner because often times, Christians pray with a sense of guilt, wanting forgiveness, rather than boast to God how well they have been living their life and standing up to evildoers. However, who are the evildoers in this world that is mentioned? Many people overcome evil things throughout their day, sin is a constant struggle. So how evil does something have to be for a Christian to stand up for it? Christians stand up to sin on a daily basis and reject some of the sin they encounter. Christians may have a hard time with this Psalm because even though they do block out some of the evil in their lives, they do not block everything out. It is uncommon for everyone to stand up to what is right. With God’s help and forgiveness, anyone could ultimately pray this psalm.

Pulp Fiction 4

After reading the story of the man who got his store blown up, it really sadden me. This man did nothing but stand up for himself and he did the right thing. It kind of remembered me a little of how the Holocaust was and how the Jews were treated because of who they were, and for what they believed in. I think standing up for yourself or for what you believe in really shows a lot of character, and I think it takes a lot for someone to do that. Like the man who lost his whole store, in the end he still knew he did the right thing. To stand up against something so much greater then you, is tough, and you rarely see qualities like this in people, and that just makes it that much more special to fulfill that kind role.


Referring to mission 4. I agree with you that it is very difficult to do the right things all the time. people and christians encounter evildoers and sinners everyday. In todays society with such diversity of culture and beliefs, I feel that it is very difficult and temptful to become weery of the ways of god. I do feel however, that People find many ways to bend their beliefs and believe that god is very forgiving. I often catch myself trying to bend the rules thinking god will understand why i have done this or considered doing something. Alot of times I think many people look at the immortal sins in the bible without paying attention to the less serious ones, because they feel that god will forgive them for the little things.

Breaker Morant 2

The story about the man in this post is very touching. He was only trying to do what he thought was right and he paid an awful price for his beliefs. I think that not being able to stand up to enemies is something very prevalent in today’s society. So many people let others walk over them and boss them around. I think everyone can learn something from this and hopefully they will stand up for themselves and for what they believe in. Taking a stand for one self is something that is very difficult, especially for people who are younger and minorities. Learning this psalm will hopefully give people the push they need to believe in themselves and not sacrifice their beliefs for someone who tells them to.

Shawshank Redemption 3

I agree that unless someone has fulfilled this what this psalm is talking about, they should leave it alone. This would be the majority of Christians, at least in America, not because they are bad people or poor Christians, but because most of them have not been put in a position where they would have everything taken away for standing up against evildoers and only having God to turn to. I also agree that many Christians only look at themselves and only see their sinful nature, because starting out as babies at our baptism we are told that we are sinful and must ask for forgiveness. I think that Christians need to start preaching more about how they can stand up against evildoers and ways they can please God, rather than just preaching about asking for forgiveness for the sins we commit. Then maybe more people wouldn't be afraid to stand up for what they believe in and show it.

Nell 5

As many have stated, no Christian is perfect. There are the select few of people who like to think that they are, but for the most part many people realize their flaws. Going off of what Shawshank Redemption 3 said, I think a lot of Christians do look at themselves as just sinners and the bad things that they have done in their lives. It’s important to look at the good things that we do, so we continue to do them. It’s hard to stand up for what’s considered right, but the times we do do it, even if it was a small amount, are what should be focused on. I also agree with what SR3 said, that we should be taught less about the sins we commit, since we all know that we do, and more about how to stand up for what’s right.

Shawshank Redemption 4

To also go off of what Nell 5 said, I agree completely with their statement about the fact that Christians put a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect. Because I believe that we believe that God was perfect and we want to leave an exemplary life as he did. Instead of putting so much pressure on ourselves, we should study the bible much more to realize that God and Jesus weren't perfect, no one is. If we stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect we will be living life just as they intended us too.

True Grit 3

Even though Christians try to always do the right thing, and know what is morally correct, it is simply impossible to always do that. This Psalm is very powerful, and tells us all the things we should do, such as stand up to our enemies, but not many people do even though they know they should. This Psalm in my opinion is hard to live by, simply because I think it’s a little unrealistic.

True Grit 2

Not many people would do the morally right thing if it meant losing everything. In that sense this Psalm is hard to live by because losing everything you worked hard for is probably one of the biggest fears that people have these days. I agree that most people know what the morally right action may be but acting in that way is very hard.

Dead Man Walking 3

I feel like I agree with Nell 1. People are scared to pray this Psalm because they don’t feel worthy to. Nobody knows the power they have until they have to use it. If an evil doer comes to destroy everything you worked for, would you stand up to him. Like the courageous man with the store. I hear his story and I hope I would be like that, but you have to think would you risk having someone like that after you! What if you thought they were going to go for your family! Would you still stand up to him? It’s hard to imagine because most of us have not experienced it yet. Usually Christians like me have the flaw for praying in the moment and worry with what is in your way. They do not pray in advance to have the strength of Psalm 26 would give you.

Mission 2

I agree that Christians often have a sense of guilt at all times about sinning. I often wonder about that. Why is the guilt necessary to be a good Christian. In my experience, I have found that the worst Christians I knew were the ones that were under the impression that they were perfect, but that is because they let their perceived "perfection" let them become overly vain and judgmental. I think that if you avoid the vanity and the feeling of dominance over "less perfect" Christians, then the feeling of guilt is not necessary. Life should be lived to a level of happiness that causes fulfillment and I think that constant guilt makes one not be able to achieve that fulfillment. I hope that this over riding guilt doesn't stem from some church figures instilling this guilt to keep members coming back to the church and, in the case of some of the priests of old, accepting sums of money to purchase a clearing away of sins. I'm not saying I think this is the case, but perhaps it is worth thinking about.

Mission 2

In regards to Psalm 26, I hope that, at some point, all Christians can feel worthy of praying that Psalm. It is a very powerful statement and one that I think is important to live up to. Evil doers will have their judgment at death, but why should they be able to get the most out of life when they are creating their happiness by other people's misery? I don't think they should be able to and I definitely think they should be stood up to. I believe this thought sort of sets the premise for the Boondocks Saints if anyone has seen that movie. Of course, those guys are resolving the issues with violence, which may not be the best way to correct the situation, but they are still at least doing something. That is better than sitting idly by, in my opinion.

Chariots of Fire 2

I think it is harder and takes more strength and courage to stand up to our enemies then to just go along with them or ignore their wrong doings. I agree with most of these posts because there are so many temptations in the world that make it so easy to sin. Most people would not be able to pray this psalm because they are flawed and I think this is a great psalm that teaches us what we should do. I think it takes a lifetime for people to reach this kind of righteousness and faithfulness as shown in Psalm 26.

Dead Man Walking 5

I feel that this is, by far, my favorite post. I think this Psalm sums up a lot of what the bible has to offer. In our society today there are so many things that make us shy away from doing the right thing. I think that if you can stand up for what you believe in, then you are capable of doing anything in this life. So many people today are not willing to stand up for themselves or what they believe in.
For example, in high school if your friends were making fun of someone for something and you knew it was wrong, you would still go with the crowd because the fear of standing out was so strong. I believe that those people who would stand up for someone like that, know what it is to be a true Christian. Those people are both my heroes and role models.

The Truman Show 5

I agree with TS 4, this Psalm gives most Christians a very hard time, because the vast majority are not trying to be the best Christians that they could/can be. This Psalm should show to everyone who reads it that a lot of what Christianity offers is stated in the text. People especially teens let their beliefs be molded into what people think is "cool" or "popular" but they fact is people need to stand up for their beliefs. In Society we've become too soft, those with strong religious beliefs need to stand up for them and not sway them for anyone.

Pulp Fiction 2

This Psalm is worded quite powerfully and I enjoyed reading it. Most of the world today (both Christians and non-Christians alike) does not have the inner willpower to stand up to evil as this Psalm so speaks. People are more willing to look the other direction or indirectly give into the evil so that they do not have to directly face it. People look to an issue of evil and say to themselves, “Someone else will deal with that, it is not my place.” I find this Psalm empowering and more Christians should look to it and emulate it.

Lior 4

After reading this Psalm I am reminded of the story of Peters denial. He denied knowing Jesus in order to avoid possible violence against him. This is always an issue for people of all faiths. Do you stand up for what you believe in in the face of intimidation or do you cave in and deny your faith?

Breaker Morant 5

I agree with previous posts that it is easy for people to look away and not stand up to evil doers. I really like what Mission 2 said, “Evil doers will have their judgment at death, but why should they be able to get the most out of life when they are creating their happiness by other people's misery?” I think that instead of “…hating the company of evildoers…” and refusing to “…sit with the wicked…” we should try to reach out to these people and share with them the wonders of the world. I do like that this Psalm is a powerful one, telling the reader to be proud and open with his/her religion.

Nell 6

This psalm really stands out to me it really hits home in my life. I am not a person to stand up to people who are not always nice to me or to other people. I know that there are lots of Christians who can say this psalm is true in their lives and they are people who can stand up to their enemies and this is a good thing or there would be a lot more mean and nasty people in the world. Those people who can stand up to their enemies are very good Christians and can call themselves real Christian people.

breaker morant 2

I think it's the way they stand up to their enemies. In most cases, when standing up to someone who infuriates you, you lose your temper and say things you shouldn't and in most cases, you sin, one way or another. Being able to stand up to your enemies in a God pleasing manner would be a good Christian.

Shawshank Redemption 1

I agree with what the core message of this blog is, but the self righteousness behind the words of the writer really turns my stomach. How great you must be to be able to tell people when and how they can come to God. To be so righteous to say, “You can pray like this, but this person can not.” Would it not be simpler to have each person come to you and tell you there works, and problems, and then you tell them how to pray, but why even waste time; since you have the ear and heart of God, maybe you should just pray for them instead of them being so pious and saying the wrong prayer. I say to you that you are a stumbling block onto people’s feet! God does not care how His children come to Him, but that they come. You are standing there preaching this on a street corner like a Pharisee constantly correcting, but never actually teaching. Yes, a person that is constantly corrected will learn what is wrong with what they do, but to take on Christ and teach them through love, what is right and required of them is what is truly required of us, and most beneficial. In John chapter 21 Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love Me?” And Peter answered “Yes Lord.” Jesus told him, “Feed my sheep.” Notice Jesus did not say scorn them, label them as pious, nor beat them so that they will learn. Maybe instead of calling God’s children names like “the self righteous piety” you could mature your words and teach in love, but either way remember that you are talking to God’s children and you will be judged the same manner as to which you are judging them. Hope your prayers are the right ones!


Hi SR 1,

Jesus and Paul and the prophets often scorned their audiences. They could be very critical; they believed in the principle found in Proverbs 15:31:

The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.

Jesus also said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!" Paul directly opposed Peter and other fellow Christians (see Galatians). Peter treats his fellow believers, Ananias and Sapphira, in Acts 5, with great severity. For a prophet who shamed his audience on a regular basis, try Amos.

Your criticism of fraternal correction suggests that you, too, see a place for reproof. I am content that you offer a critique of what I say; I take it as a sign of respect.

I remain convinced that Christians by and large find this Psalm difficult to pray. That is my experience. If you find it easy to make your own, so much the better.

Too often Christians are inclined to be self-righteous about their sense of guilt before God. It is as if they think that guilt earns them brownie points. As far as I can see, guilt is false if it does not lead to repentance.


Somehow I found this on a Sunday morning before church, when I needed encouragement for my soul - and found it.

While its true that it seems semi-unattainable, at the same time we're made perfect in Christ and look beyond the letter of the law to the heart of scripture.

Thanks for your posting.


Hi Jason,

You have an awesome blog. Thank you for stopping by.

Shawshank 2

The only word that comes to my mind when reading this Psalm is confidence. “For my eyes are on your kindness, I walk in reliance on your faithfulness,” this to me is having full faith in God and knowing nothing can touch me because of it. There will be many bad things that happen in life and evil doers trying to get us on the wrong path but with faith in God nothing can stop us from reaching our full potential. In Luke chapter 23, Jesus is brought before Herod to be questioned. Jesus does not answer any of the questions. This is very symbolic to what Psalm 26 has to say, Jesus did not have to say a word to Herod because he knew that the only person who had rule over him was God. Jesus would be beaten physically but his soul could not be touched. When Jesus died so many hearts were changed and many people realized that he was the Son of God.

Shawshank Redemption3

What a strong post. The story of the store owner was what really got me. I experienced a great deal of persecution in high school because of what I believed. Mostly, they did not like it because I wasn’t afraid to share what I thought, or stand up for what I believed. I didn’t do things like everyone else did or because everyone else was doing them. People thought of me as strange or different because I didn’t date, go out to parties, get drunk, or smoke, I followed the rules set by my parents, because God’s word says to honor thy mother and father, and I did, to the best of my ability. Eventually peopled learned that they did not bother me. The store keeper’s story reminds me of this because he didn’t give in and I feel that this psalm gives him praise for that. I later took a hard blow, like that store keeper only mine was more an emotional explosion. It caused me to stray from my beliefs, and it was hard to realize that what had happened was just “evildoers” trying to get me down, again like the store keeper. I eventually picked myself back up piece by piece and continued to face the world with, what sometimes feels like, only God by my side. I do not feel that you are being too critical of Christians by holding them to a higher standard. We all need to be held to a higher standard in life. With this Psalm I feel that one should be faithful to God and be able to stand up to evil doers, which not all Christians are ready for, so not all Christians are ready to understand this Psalm.

The Mission 3

I think that in this day and age, there are less people who are actively Christians. They say they follow God’s ways but their actions reflect otherwise. This makes it a little bit harder for truly practicing Christians to stand up and say what they believe in – especially if people around them don’t see it in the same light. I’m not saying that the non-practicing Christians are evildoers, but they can be intimidating even for a strong Christian to do the right thing. That takes true courage and it shows how much you can do for God because of the life he has given us. Standing up for our Christian beliefs is the least we can do considering all the beautiful things God has given and will give us. Even if you think everyone is against you, God knows what you’re going through and he has a plan in store. It is one of the many tests given to us as Christians. This Psalm illustrates true compassion for the Lord.

Chariots of Fire 1

I disagree slightly on this. Christians shouldn’t just “leave this psalm alone”; instead, Christians should strive to be like the author of this psalm. That way, if they do face adversity, they would be able to pray this psalm. Or, if they don’t (which isn’t likely considering most will at some point in life), at least they will be living righteous lives that God would want them to live (which is what Christians should be doing anyway).

Nell 5

I agree with Chariots of Fire 1 here. We should strive to be that type of person who can pray this psalm. If more people were "worthy" enough to do this, we might be in a better world. My coaches always told me to never back down and always strive for perfection on the field, and in life. Why then should we not strive to be perfect? Yes we will never be perfect, but the idea is that in trying to be perfect, we can create a better life for ourselves. This a psalm that every person should read, religious or not. I'm going to leave you with this thought: the guilt of not trying is much worse than trying and coming short.

Chariots of Fire 2

Psalm 26 seems to convey a strong message. Although many of us could not relate to directly with the experience deriving from this passage, I would agree that many of us only seek or approach God with guilt. The percentage of believers that speak to God when they are in a bad situation is most likely greater than those who talk to God when they aren’t in need. It seems weird to think that many of us only use God in a time of need. We should be thanking him for all that we have and what he has given us. It is people like the store owner, whom are close to God and speak to him regularly that could best be associated with Psalm 26. Many of us can say that we are practicing Christians, but do we really devote ourselves to God in this extent? I would also say that Psalm 26 is a good passage to keep in our religious practice.

Nell 2

I tend to agree with the point raised; if someone has not fulfilled what this psalm is talking about they should not use it. I feel that this would be a great deal of Christians. Not because these people are not worthy, but because most of them have not been in a position where they have had everything stripped from them or have stood up to evildoers, only having God to turn to. I feel like this psalm is truly a prayer seeking God's judgment either from false accusations or for living a righteous life and praying to God. As a Christian, I was told at my baptism that I was born sinful and need God's forgiveness. With this in mind I think that it would be very difficult for someone to approach God about living a righteous life in him. Rather than sinning and asking for forgiveness I believe that we should work more towards fighting the roots of the sins and attacking evildoers. With this more Christians would be able to stand up for what they truly believe in and be an even better role model of their faith.

True Grit 4

I would also agree with the point made in this post, but in reality, isn't that the same case for most psalms of this nature? I don't know anyone who can say that they are so "on-top" of their relationship with God, or that they stand up to all evil that they can use a passage like Psalm 26. In the end, my interpretation of this passage is one of asking for God's strength in a time of doubt. Like it says in verse one, "Vindicate me O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering". I feel that's asking for God to confirm we were right in our actions, and should be because we love God and do our best to follow his commands.

Dead Man Walking 6

None of my family is Christian, so I am not very sure about how Christian people believe or not believe in something. After I read the view of that blog, I understand more of Christian culture and why they cannot pray for Psalm. This blog is very interesting. In my opinion, this Psalm is hard to live by because it is unrealistic; that is a reason why Christians do not pray to it. Most of the people in the world today do not have the inner power to stand up against evil things, as the Psalm states. People are more willing to look at other’s direction and follow it whether it is right or wrong, so they do not have to face it by themselves. For an example, at my work place there are some people so nosy that they can say anything about other family members, with even more exaggeration than the original the story. Every time that I hear those stories, I really want to stand up and say in front of their face, “Stop talking about this stuff. It is not your business”, but I have to give up because the fear of standing out is so strong and I do not want to have an attitude with my co-workers. This is easy to say than actually do. I am still proud of someone who can speak up against something that is wrong in our society such as Dr. Martin Luther King. Probably we all knew about his history when he spoke up against the fact of discrimination in America.

Breaker Morant 2

This Psalm might help me understand why I did not like being in my Catholic church so much in school. This psalm is all about loving God, about not being guilty for being human. This is what I believe a relationship with God is supposed to be; the ability for me as a human to pray and think to him, and to ask for forgiveness for what I have done wrong and for guidance to do what is right. In my childhood, I remember being taught about Reconciliation, and I remember how confused and guilty I felt, telling my sins to the priest who then told me prayers to say that washed away my sins. As the time, I did not understand, so I thought that that relationship with God was right. Then I read this Psalm paging through the Bible one day. It helped me change my idea of what my relationship with God should be. I believe that this is why the Psalms are in the Bible, because not only can they be interpreted any which way, but they also help people understand and grasp what their spiritual needs mean to them. I do agree with Chariots of Fire 1, that Christians should strive to be more like the author of this psalm, because then you can be on your way to a deep and meaningful relationship with God.

Shawshank 4

“I have not sat with liars, I will not deal with those who hide their true intentions. I have spurned the company of evildoers, with the wicked I will not sit.”

I think this portion of the Psalm makes it hard for most people in this day and age to relate to it. This is a very smug passage in my opinion. The author of the Psalm projects with a “holier than thou” attitude. As if they do not sin, nor do they associate with sinners. How many people in today’s society can really say this? Very few people have refrained from sinning, even if in just the slightest, and even fewer can say they have not associated with sinners. It reminds me of the quote by Bob Marley: “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I'm not perfect and I don't live to be. But, before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean."Meaning if one does not live the way they preach they have no right to preach it upon others. I do not think it’s an unreasonable idea to say one should not preach this Psalm until they represent it fully within their own life.

The Truman Show 1

I'm not particularly sure but I really seemed to enjoy this post more than others. I agree very much with the point that this passage is from the religion of the old and that nobody now can truly understand it importance unless they have been in the face a grave danger, stood up to it, and then needed help from God alone. Not many of us are tested that much now a days, especially living in the U.S. where our religious rights are protected. However I bet that to missionaries in foreign lands, or devote christians living in a places which forbid christianity, this might pertain more to them. This reminds me of a recent film that came out and won several awards called "Of Gods and Men." This film is based on eight monks that live in Algeria during a time of war, and the monk in charge stands up to the Islamic fundamentalist group and the government army putting all of his trust in God. It captures the the importance and strength to not only the monks, but to the entire community as well. I would describe more about the plot but I'd rather you enjoy the entire film without ruining it for you, but this film I feel captures psalm 26 in modern times and christians a great example of how to live by faith and trust in God.

TheMission 7

"For my eyes are on your kindness,I walk in reliance on your faithfulness." This, to me, are the true words of a Christian. Who else can bother uttering these words if they weren't. The confidence he has on his faith in God is overwhelming and I truly respect that. The rest of us "Christians" need to remind ourselves why we are Christians and what is our true purpose. Our goal in life is to follow the way of the Lord and to spread his message to others. I doubt that many have done either of these things recently. This Psalm has reopened my eyes again to God and renew my confidence in him.


Hi Shawshank 4,

I understand what you are saying. The words you quote would express self-righteousness if "the wicked" the psalmist had in mind were imperfect people, works in progress, as we all are.

But that is not the case. As in Psalm 1, the sinners with whom the righteous will not have dealings are those who will stop at nothing to have their way.

It is easy to imagine a psalm like Psalm 1 or 26 being sung by a believing Jew on his way to being gassed in a concentration camp by Hitler and his willing executioners. It is easy to imagine Psalm 26 on the lips of a slave who was asked to be complicit with her owner in taking advantage of other slaves, but refused.

There are times in which it is wrong to sit with those intent on evil. As soon as you do, you risk becoming part of their plots. You become one of them.

It stands to reason that this is the logic behind the words of Psalm 26 that strike you in another way, as an expression of smugness.

Shawshank 4

Hello JohnFH,
I have to say that having Psalm 26 placed in context such as those you have given above is very enlightening. I would then have to agree that in these cases it should not be interpreted that smugness present. I would go so far as to say recitation of this Psalm in the example you provided involving the “believing Jew on his way to being gassed in a concentration camp by Hitler and his willing executioners” almost seems like surrendering oneself to the Lord. In this context I can understand the believing Jew to be reminding God that they have no sins to beg forgiveness for and they are not at fault for their fate. In the same context the man will not lessen himself to the level of his executioners by fighting or sinning against them and he just asks God for his understanding and in accordance placement in “the dwelling-place of your glory”.

Breaker Morant 1

The actions and petitions show a man with a heart for God. A heart for God in an era where religiousness was measured by public displays of keeping the law was a contrary way of thinking, thus a stumbling block to the religious of that time. Those who lived in that day and time knew that closeness to God was measured by how well you kept the law. Of course, David knew that while he was not perfect, it was not about keeping the law, but rather about personal relationship. Because his fellowship with God was a personal relationship, he is able to put his thoughts and ideas in order in this psalm. It was clear to David that although not perfect, he strived for what really mattered, not public posturing among others in a manner that was religious for those of his day, rather a deep seated, heartfelt relationship with God the Father. David truly had a heart for God.

The Truman Show 3

Risking life and limb is a noble thing to do when standing up to evildoers. It is something that I wish I could have the courage to do. Reading of the Mafia destroying a working man's store is not only sad and unfortunate, but it is upsetting and disheartening. Having the audacity to stand up to such evildoers would be quite a feat. Psalm 26 is a prayer that I may never pray, but I hope that there are people out there that can speak its praises with truth.

Truman Show 4

I think the writer of this Psalm knows he's a good person. If he had done anything majorly wrong in his life, no doubt it would weight on his conscience so much he would not be able to make claims such as these. Never once during this Psalm does the writer say that he is perfect and has never sinned. He knows what he's done right in his life, and he must know that he has done some wrong, however inconsequential the wrongdoing might be. If he thought he had done no wrong, he surely would have made that known. I wish I could be as confident in myself and my thoughts and actions as this man. If he can assess himself in this way I can tell that he is not being overly pious.

True Grit 12

While standing up for what one believes in transcends religion, I find this idea in the context of religion to be infinitely more complex. In the context of morality apart from religion, one takes into account their own well being and the well being of those around them. In the context of a religious morality, many more factors come into play. A religious person deciding whether or not to stand up to evildoers takes into account the percieved will of their God, the need to defend the honor of their religion, as well as the well being of themselves and those around them. While both situations evoke strong emotion and are equal in validity, the religious decision seems to be more multifaceted, and therefore, perhaps an even more complex decision to make.

Pulp Fiction 1

I would have to start by saying that I agree that Christians typically pray and worship God because of the feeling of guilt. Earlier in the passage it was said that “Christians have been trained to approach God with a sense of guilt in hand, even false guilt” and think this is a true statement. It’s as if people find things to pray for and about because they feel that what they are doing in this world is the “right” thing. These are the people in denial, the people who do not want to face their fears of telling God what they have done or seen. Evil doers are these people who I see, as persons who commit crimes and do not worship God until they are locked in the slammer. There is nothing more ridiculous than a person who is a gangster and gets locked up for 20 years and then comes out a re-born Christian who has completely flipped his/her life around. I know from past experience with a step-father who decided that he was going to turn his life around in jail. He said he was never going to have another drink again… Did I believe him at the age 9? No. Not for one second, because I am all for giving people a second chance in life, but once the trust is broken it’s been broken for a tremendously long time. I can always forgive, but never forget. Christians should always be able to forgive, but that does not mean you are manipulated into ever seeing that person, communicating with that person, nor do you have to keep in contact with them. People will come in and out of your life (as I see it) and nothing will ever change that. If someone is an evil doer, why keep them in your life. It’s just another person your grandma or mom told you never to hang out with. Evil doers are always evil doers and you may say I am in the wrong, but this is my belief, or why Christians try to find reasoning to pray.

Pulp Fiction 6

Psalm 26 is one of the 'ideal' Christian. To anyone who is able to fulfill every aspect of this reading, I believe you are very strong and dedicated to your life and well being. To the rest of the world, I feel that this is a very hard passage to live by. Even if we try our hardest, temptation will always be there and sometimes we give into that and cannot help the consequences. Since reading this psalm for the first time in class, I have been trying to follow it more closely. I see where my life has been affected by making the wrong choices according to this reading, and I see where it can be improved. I have been making it a priority to do what I used to call 'random' acts of kindness, which I know a lot of people call them, but they should not be 'random' they should be something we do without even having to think about it and without thinking about how difficult it is to go out of your way in order to do something nice for someone else.

The Mission 5

I have to say I agree with Shawshank 4. I love the Bob Marley quote brought into the conversation because I think it is very true. I think everyone, not just Christians, often are quick to judge, even though they do not uphold the same standards. I know I am one of the people that always wants to stand up against others, but it is easier to say it then actually do it. I would love to stand up to my boss, but the risk of losing my job is too great.

Dead Man Walking 5

To Psalm 26, I hope that someday, everyone will be able to pray this Psalm. Not necessarily that they have suffered the consequences of standing up to evildoers, but that they may find the courage to stand up to them and stop the evil. It is unfortunate that the good store owner you knew from Sicily suffered the consequences of not paying protection money to the mafia, but he had done a good thing by refusing to pay. If more people would have decided to refuse the mafia’s “services” they could have drawn nearer to an end to that type of organized crime. If more people could pray this Psalm, the world would be a better place for it.

Chariots of Fire 4

I must agree, I believe that everyone is quick to judge others at times. I know that I do quite regularly and also I have to agree with what dead man walking 5 said. Hopefully everyone can eventually gain the confidence to stand up to evildoers and stop evil. Psalm 26 is very powerful prayer and it could help us all if we learned from it.

Praying with Lior 2

I like that the bible has special prayers for special circumstances. Not every is always experiences the same things and having special prayers makes people feel unique.

Breaker Morant 3

I enjoyed reading this article. I work at a Lutheran camp in the summer and one message we discussed often was "Simul Justus El Peccator" which is Latin for "simultaneously saint and sinner." We discussed that we are only saved purely by the grace of God and we are sinners, but He loves us and wants us to do his work here on Earth.

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  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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    Copyright © 2005 by John F Hobbins.