1 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.
It is a very normal thing in the business world to be required to go through a yearly performance evaluation. These are necessary for an employee to be at their best and to find their strengths and identify their weaknesses. These evaluations are not always “fun,” but they are necessary.
The same applies to the life of a Believer. When was the last time you asked the Lord to examine you? When reading the Book of Psalms, we find that this is a common theme in the life of David. David was very concerned about what God thought about him. In these 2 verses we see a pattern in David’s life that can be a great help to us.
1. David WAS doing what was right
Employees will often look at another and think to themselves, THEY need a performance review. They will ask, “Why doesn’t the boss see that that person is just not doing their job.” That employee will usually overlook their own short comings.
We often exhort those that are not living right to “examine” themselves. We will tell them to “Get right with God!” And yet, in this passage, we see a Believe who was NOT in sin. David WAS walking in his integrity. He WAS trusting in the Lord. He was concerned about backsliding. Psalm 26:1 “…therefore I shall not slide.” He was walking in God’s truth (verse 3), he was avoiding the wrong crowd (verses 4-5) YET in this condition, David asked God to examine him!
Even Believers who are trying to live for God need to have the Lord examine them. David was not satisfied with what he was doing for God, and where he was in his relationship. He wanted to be doing EXACLTY what God would have him do. Too often we think we are alright. Many times we are like the people in Laodicea in Revelation 3:17 who thought they “have need of nothing.”
2. David ASKED God to examine him
David invited the Lord to examine him. He laid himself bare and asked, “Lord examine me…” When was the last time you asked God to look you over to see if He could find something that needed to be changed? When Samuel went to Jesse’s house to find one of his sons to anoint to be king, he judged Eliab to be the right choice. 1 Samuel 16: 6 “…Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” He was big, he looked good, he had ability, yet God said, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)
God sees what we cannot see. He looks where we cannot look. David wanted God to show him the areas that needed to be changed.
3. David ASKED God to PROVE him
Psalms 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
To prove means to “test.” That means you are to put it under stress to see if it will break. In a factory there are people designated to “prove” every part used in the manufacturing process. Every item must be put under a load to see if it will function correctly. Believers need to be “proven.” We need to be put under stress and a load to reveal the weakness. The Lord needs to put us under a load so that we will see what He sees about us. Anyone can look and act like a Christian at church during the Revival meeting, but what about at work, when the boss is having a bad day and is giving us a hard time? It is easy to sing the hymns of the Faith during Sunday morning church, but do you have a song when the car engine blows up?
In addition to asking the Lord to PROVE him, David asked Him “try my reins and my heart.” That means to test, and to reveal, his motives and desires.
Adam Clarke, when commenting on this verse, said: “To thee I appeal; and feel no hesitation in wishing to have all the motives of my heart dissected and exposed to thy view, and to that of the world.”
Matthew Poole said, “Because it is possible that I may deceive myself, and be partial in my cause, or at least mine enemies will so judge of me, I appeal to thee, O thou Judge of hearts, and beg that thou wouldst search and try me by such ways and means as thou seest fit, and make me known to myself, and to the world, and convince mine enemies of mine integrity.”
I cannot know my heart. I cannot know my motives. It is the Lord that will reveal that to me!
Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
When was the last time you asked the Lord to PROVE you? When was the last time you asked Him to put you under stress to reveal your motives and desires?
The purpose of the examination and testing is so that you will not “slide.” The only way we can keep from backsliding is to ask the Lord to prove us, test us, pressure us, reveal our innermost thoughts and motives so that we will know what needs to change in our lives. “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me!