Judge Me?

Judge me, O Lord, for I walk in my innocence (Psalm 25:1)

     In this Psalm, David is asking God to judge him because he believes in his own innocence.  Wow!  That’s a pretty bold statement.  Who among us is so brave that they are asking to stand before God so that they can be judged?  Certainly not me.  However, if we examine the Hebrew and the Greek of this passage, we will begin to understand that this is not what David is asking for at all. 

     Both the Hebrew of the Masoretic text and the Greek of the Septuagint use similar words for “judge.”  The issue comes into play because neither of them translate very well into English.  The Hebrew word is “fpv” which is transliterated, “shaphat.”  It’s primary meaning is to exercise the process of government.  Basically, to establish a governmental process that protects the innocence.  The Greek word “krinos” carries much the same meaning but adds the idea of separation.  Meaning, to separate the evil from the good.  This is really what a theocratic process of government does.  It separates good from evil and destroys the evil.  This is what David is praying for when he cries out, “Judge Me!”  He is saying that his desire is to be separated from the assembly of evildoers to remain in the assembly of the righteous.

     Innocence.  Is David really claiming that he is innocent before God.  This is the man that had Uriah killed because he got his wife pregnant.  Is David really ready to stand before God for judgment and make a case for his own innocence?  I think not.  The Hebrew word for innocence used here is the word, “hMf” which is transliterated “temah.”  It is a derivative of the word for completion.  It is the word that is used to describe the sacrifices that the law required to be “temah” and perfect.  The Greek equivalent “akakon” is used of Christ in Hebrews 7:26 describing Him as perfect, innocence, and the righteous sacrifice and high priest.  Things still aren’t looking to good for David so far.  However, Job was also described “temah.”  Job was described as blameless not sinless.  This tells us that inside the establishment of God’s order and government, there has been provided a system by which sin can be atoned.  In the OT it was the blood of “temah” bulls and goats, in the NT it is the blood of the “temah” Lamb of God.  What I mean here is that inside the government of God, sin does not distinguish between the righteous and the wicked.  The distinction is made between the heart that desires to follow God’s law and order and the lawless and wicked who desire to follow the devices of their heart.  Theirs is a theology built upon selfishness.  The government of God is a theology built upon the human hearts response to the established order of God.  The psalms use the same word to describe both groups of people.  It is the word assembly, congregation, or church.  There are only two types of assemblies.  Those of the wicked and those of the righteous.  The assembly of the wicked takes delight on doing evil and encourages it.  The assembly of the righteous takes delight in the presence of God, living according to His law and order, and loving one another.  The basis for the assembly of the wicked is selfishness.  The basis for the assembly of the righteous in the covenantal love (Hebrew Hesed of verse 3 in this Psalm) that has established the order and us within it.

     Let’s regroup.  This is what David is really saying.  “Make a distinction, LORD, between me and the assembly of the wicked because I have arranged my life according to your established order which is built upon your love and in this order, my sins are atoned for so I  can have boldness to stand before your throne.”  Indeed, Judge us, Oh God!”

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