Psalm 26

Movement language: Instead of sliding (v 1), he wants to stand firm (v 12). Instead of sitting (v 4,5) he walks (v 1,3,11). But how? Answer – by following the firm path of Psalm 1:6.

It’s as if the Psalmist is taking Psalm 1 and personalizing it:

  • He does not sit with the wicked nor walk with the ungodly (Psalm 1:1).
  • He does not want to be gathered with the wicked (harvest language of Psalm 1:4)
  • He is focused on being rooted (Psalm 1:3)
  • He is more concerned with the destination of the path than the current scene (compare Psalm 1:5,6)

As in Psalm 1, the focus could be more on the tree than on the river of water that feeds it. But this is foolish: David knows here that the place that the tree is planted (the habitation of God) is more important than the tree itself. The ability to stand firm is not a property of tree roots – it’s a property of the soil. Verse 11 connects the idea of the tree’s integrity being related to the mercy of God: God’s redemption gives the integrity/foothold.

The wicked also get a personal Psalm 1 report card – in Psalm 1 the wicked “cannot stand”, and here they are portrayed only as “sitting”. In Psalm 1 God knows the path, and here in Psalm 26 David is walking that path. It seems that the wicked are simply refusing to move down that path, and are happy with their own counsels/congregations instead of the path to God’s counsel/congregation.