Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Opposing Ungodliness (Psalm 26)

"I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked" (Psalm 26:5).

In Psalm 26, David implores the aid of God, entreating Him to undertake the cause of a man who has been unrighteously afflicted and accused by ungodly men. The psalm is filled with references to David’s own upright life as he exposed his own integrity of heart before God. Calvin comments that this approach is not unfounded for a believer: “It is to be observed that it was the wickedness of his enemies which forced David to commend himself so much. Had he not been unjustly condemned by men, he would have humbly deprecated such an examination, as he well knew notwithstanding his’ zeal to act aright, that he was far from perfection.”

David hated the wicked, and abhorred unjust attacks by men who derided the holiness of God. Such should be the attitude of all believers—they should oppose those who stand in opposition to God, who wear ungodliness as a fine dress. David impugned such men because he so loved the goodness of God. Because of the holiness of the Lord, David refused to take counsel with wicked men and even refused their association. Calvin aptly wrote, “It is indeed true that the wicked are everywhere hated; but how few withdraw themselves from them, that they may not imitate their vices!” God’s people, while still in the world, should not make themselves part of it.

The wicked to whom David referred were not only in the world but also among the hypocrites in the assembly. Yet, David did not withdraw from God’s temple because of the impurity of men. Many people become isolationists because they want to have nothing to do with the hypocrisy of the people in the church. They see impurity in people’s lives and they refuse to be involved in a local body. David prudently moderated his zeal, however, and while separating himself from the ungodly he did not cease to frequent God’s house. Even when the number of hypocrites must have been great, this did not prevent David from coming as usual to the sacrifices. We must be on guard not to defile the church by wickedness, but in the struggle to keep the church pure, nothing should hinder the faithful from remaining in the fellowship of the church wherever that local church may be.

How committed are you to your local church? Have you allowed your distaste for hypocrisy to keep you from joining and worshiping with God’s people? Heresy sometimes necessitates breaking fellowship, but we should search for another church. How would you advise someone in this situation?