We do not know for certain the background of Psalm 26, but most scholars believe it was written in response to the assassination of Ishbosheth. David wanted to distance himself from this and was concerned that people would think that this was his doing. This is a wonderful psalm that teaches us how to handle it when rumors and slander begin to be directed towards us.
Let God defend you
When rumors begin to swirl around us, we can many times seek the verdicts of men in our defense. We offer facts, seek legal judgments, make public statements, etc. However, many times these things only further the rumors and slander. David here leaves his reputation in God’s hands. If God defends David, that is his best hope. Further, if God declares you innocent, who cares what other’s may say?
Walk in integrity and obedience
David has lived a life of integrity. Anyone who knew David would know that this was not his character. He has sought to obey God’s Word in every instance in his life. His character speaks for itself. David’s life is marked by God’s truth not man’s scheming.
Consider your companions
David has refused repeatedly to associate with people of poor character. He has continually distanced himself from every form of poor character and evil. He does not want to be around those types of people. He does not want to even sit down with wicked men, much less go in with them in their schemes.
Focus on God’s glory
David focuses on worshiping God and proclaiming His works, not defending himself. David is far more concerned with God’s reputation than his own. David lives for God’s glory.
Pray for deliverance
David asks God to deliver him and keep him from the fate of evil men. He speaks of how those who are judged by God have done the very things that David hates – violence, wicked plans, and bribery.
Place yourself on solid footing
In doing all of these things David has placed himself on solid footing. He is in a position that is not likely to fall to these rumors. Above all, God will take care of him, and he will praise God publicly for his deliverance.
It is easy to look at David’s life and begin to believe that the path to deliverance is our own holiness. Nothing could be farther from the truth. David’s integrity does not produce his deliverance. David’s belief in God and His Word is what produced David’s integrity. Salvation and the entire Christian life is looking to Jesus. If you are not saved, you must look to Jesus to save you and change you. If you are saved, you must look to Jesus to continue to give you the Spirit of holiness and walk each moment by faith.