bad influenceWe notice in today’s devotional reading (Psalm 26:1-5) the character and disciplines of the man who, like David, evidences those qualities that are necessary to promote and preserve godly character.

Psalm 26:1-5 – “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.
2  Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
3  For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.
4  I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.
5  I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.”

We notice two precepts true of believers who discipline their lives to keep on the right path.  The first, those who love the Lord will evidence humility and integrity before Him (Psalm 26:1-2).

Psalm 26:1-2 – “Judge [plead; avenge; defend] me, O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God]; for I have walked [behave; go] in mine integrity [uprightness; completeness; soundness]: I have trusted [confident; secure; bold] also in the LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God]; therefore I shall not slide [waver; be shaken]. 2  Examine [try; prove; test] me, O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God], and prove [test; try] me; try [refine; melt; purge away] my reins [lit. kidneys; figuratively the reins of my mind, soul and thoughts] and my heart [mind; understanding].refining gold

Facing the assaults of enemies who accused him of wrongdoing and delighted in his troubles, David may be continuing his cry for vindication that we read in the previous chapter (Psalm 25).  David prayed for the LORD to come to his defense, declaring, “Judge me, avenge me, defend me; I have strived to be a man of integrity; I trust you and have determined to not be shaken in my faith (26:1).

Picturing the smelting process of precious metals (Psalm 26:2), David reminds us that fiery trials purify our hearts, test our motives and burn away the impurities that pollute our lives.  David prayed, “Examine me”, identify both the good and the evil in me; “prove me” and see what manner of man I am; “try my reins and my heart”, bring to light any thoughts and affections that are not pleasing to your sight.  Knowing God is loving, merciful and gracious, David declares,

Psalm 26:3 – “For thy lovingkindness [mercy; kindness; love and grace] is before mine eyes: and I have walked [behaved; go] in thy truth [right; faithfulness; trustworthiness].

In a later psalm, David will assert his conviction that the Word of God is a guiding “lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105; John 17:17).

David states the second precept followed by believers who to stay on the right path in four disciplines (26:4-5).

influencePsalm 26:4-5 – “I have not sat [dwell; inhabit; abide; remain] with vain [deceit; lying; useless] persons [men], neither will I go in [come; go; enter] with dissemblers [concealed; pretenders]. 5  I have hated [set against] the congregation [company; assembly; multitude] of evil doers [wicked]; and will not sit [dwell; abide] with the wicked [ungodly; immoral; criminal; i.e. guilty of breaking the law].”

It is a scientific fact that, “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch”!   Scientists have found that ripening fruits emit a gaseous hormone called ethylene that promotes ripening in other fruits.  In a very literal sense, one ripening apple will release enough ethylene that it will cause other apples to over ripe and eventually begin to rot.  It is true, one bad apple does spoil the whole bushel!

David recognized the same principle was true in the spiritual realm; that the influence of one rebel, one unrepentant sinner can have devastating effects on the character of the godly.

Because we live in an ungodly society and the influences of the wicked are a perpetual presence, we must adopt the four disciplines stated by David in Psalm 26:4-5.  I challenge you to consider David’s assertions and make them true of your life:  1) I will not keep company with worldly, dishonest men (26:4a).  2) I will not support or cast my lot in with hypocrites (26:4b).  3) I will oppose and withstand the influence of the wicked (26:5a).  4) I will not fellowship with the wicked who continue in their sin (26:5b).choose the right company

Paul challenged believers with the same spiritual principle in 1 Corinthians 5:11, 13b.

1 Corinthians 5:11-13 – “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat13 …Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

Realizing one rotten sinner can have a devastating influence on the character of the godly,  I close today’s devotional with Paul’s admonition: Be not deceived: evil communications [companions] corrupt good manners [morals] (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith