You sense that David was getting some bad press. Not just some people gossiping about his flaws, but enemies spreading out and out lies targeted at his integrity and reputation. They sought to turn his honor into shame. They made up things to make him look bad. And while it caused David some distress (who wouldn’t be distressed?), at the end of the day, he knew relief from the Lord. A joy in his heart. A peace that allowed him to sleep well at night. All because he never forgot that the Lord was the “God of my righteousness.”
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
(Psalm 4:1 ESV)
If David had to rely on his own righteousness in order to defend himself, if it truly was about his own track record, then even this man after God’s own heart was done. He’d have more than enough reason to fret and be discouraged. And his enemies would have more than enough ammunition to accuse him with. But David, before the gospel was even called the gospel, knew the good news that God was, as Spurgeon says, “the Author, the Witness, the Maintainer, the Judge, and the Rewarder of my righteousness.”
David’s righteousness was found in God alone. Only by God’s grace. Only through the future provision of David’s descendant, Jesus, could David confidently claim a righteousness not His own–a righteousness from God, . . . the righteousness of God.
For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2Corinthians 5:21 ESV)
Having then this assurance of God’s unmerited cloak of righteousness upon him, David could rest despite his accusers’ claims. He could rest because God would be the Maintainer of his righteousness. Through abiding communion, by means of God’s sanctifying Spirit, David’s boast would continue to be solely in the gracious work of God in his life. By whatever manner his heart was stirred to seek the Lord, to whatever degree he understood the things of God, he would remember that it was only due to the favor shown him by the One who called him out of the sheep’s pasture. Only in the power of the One who enabled him to slay a giant. Due only to the Him who, in Sovereign grace, sets apart the godly for Himself (v.3).
And so, David would know joy and peace (v.7-8) as he remembered that the God of his righteousness is the righteous God, Himself. The God who judges with perfect judgment. The God who rewards with just rewards.
So I’m chewing on the implications of the “God of my righteousness” this morning.
I’m not aware of anyone slandering me today, though there is this persistent, repetitive whisper of an accuser in my ear quick to point out my flaws and failures — very real flaws and failures, I might add. But I also hear another voice. The voice of God’s Spirit, through the truth of God’s word, reminding me that He is my assurance, that He is my defense, that He really is “the Author, the Witness, the Maintainer, the Judge, and the Rewarder of my righteousness.” A righteousness found through Him and in Him alone.
By His grace. For His glory.