David sings a song of praise to the Lord for delivering him from all of his enemies – “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.”
But then David says – “The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has 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 as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His eyes.”
So how can David claim to be righteous when we know that he is not a perfect, sinless man? It’s because David knows that his righteousness comes from the Lord. David is fully aware that he is a sinner, as he says in Psalm 51 – “Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me… Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow… Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
We are all born broken sinners, and the Lord doesn’t take our sins lightly. Actually, our sins are very costly, and God is making a way to cleanse us from our sins. However, it is going to cost Him the life of His only Son, Jesus Christ. Later in the story, Paul will explain how our righteousness is not earned by our acts but rather through faith in Jesus Christ – ”Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:20-26).
There is and will only be one man ever to live who is perfect and sinless, and that man is Jesus Christ. David can declare himself clean and righteous because of his faith in the Lord and his trust in the Lord’s promise to redeem us through the coming Savior. David struggles with sin throughout his entire life just as we do. But because David loves the Lord, he hates his sin and repents of it. David doesn’t put his hope in himself. David’s hope is in the Lord – “For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect… You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.”
God holds David by His mighty right hand, and He is gently guiding him through his life journey, which is good news because David stumbles again tomorrow. Keep reading to see how once again, even through his failures, David still trusts the Lord and yearns for closeness to Him beyond anything else this world has to offer. (2 Samuel 22:1-51, Psalm 18)