I’d like to consider five verses from one of the psalms and briefly show forth a lesson I believe we can learn from this bit of holy scripture.
“He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.” – Psalm 18:19-24
Brothers and sisters, first allow me to say that if any one of us ends up spending eternity with God, it will be due to the Father having elected us, Jesus our Lord having redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit cleansing our soul to make it fit for eternal heaven. Had it not been for him placing his Spirit within us, we would not have a desire to serve him. Afterward, however, he does reward us for our obedience to him. I believe such timely blessings in staying on the strait path are what David is referring to in the verses quoted above.
That being stated, what I’d really like us to consider from these verses is the emphasis David places on being clean before God; cleanness before men is not referenced. Note how David says that he was upright before *him*. While it is important to be clean before men, we mustn’t forget that being clean before God must come first.
What did our Lord tell the Pharisees and scribes in Matthew 23:25-26? “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” He says to start with the inside first. The outside will almost completely take care of itself as you focus on keeping your heart right before God.
We should be concerned with sins that maybe even no man will ever know about.
“…cleanse thou me from secret faults.” – Psalm 19:12
When David says, “I kept myself from mine iniquity” in the scriptures under consideration, is that not a key to our success in keeping our lives clean? The Apostle Paul wrote, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” – I Corinthians 9:27. We must keep our bodies under subjection, exercising self control. Should not a disciple keep himself disciplined? In doing so, our God has promised that he will reward us.
“…he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
Our reward in serving God is not eternal heaven, for that is ours by God’s work alone. But here in this life we will reap untold joys when we press into the kingdom, starting with internally cleansing our hearts and minds of wickedness and applying ourselves unto good works that Christ might be glorified by us, undeserving though we are.