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Adopting the Testimony of David

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Psalms 24–26

In Psalms 24–26 David testifies to God as the one who makes him righteous, guides his path, and by God’s grace causes him to walk in integrity. This is his personal testimony, but it can be ours as well.


In Psalm 24, David asks similar questions to those he asked back in Psalm 15:1. Let’s take a closer look here in verse 3, where David asks, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?”

As you read the Psalms, you will come across these two places David mentions here—the hill and the holy place. The hill refers to Mount Zion, or simply Zion. The first time we see the word Zion in Scripture is back in 2 Samuel 5:7, where we read, “David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.”

So, Mount Zion is in this range of hills where David builds the capital city of Jerusalem. This hill country was important real estate long before David captured it from the Jebusites. This was the same place where Abraham had been willing to offer up his only son Isaac. It was also the place where Solomon would build that beautiful temple for the worship of God.

And along this same ridge of hills was the place where Jesus would be crucified on an altar, in the shape of a cross. We call that hilltop, Mount Calvary, where the final sacrificial Lamb of God came to die for the sins of the world.

Now David not only refers to the hill (Mount Zion) in this psalm; he also refers to the holy place. This is in the same neighborhood, but the holy place refers specifically to the temple mount. The holy place is essentially a reference to the temple and to the presence of God and the worship of God at this sacred spot. Frankly, there’s no piece of real estate in the world as sacred as this range of hills.

Throughout the Bible you will read references to the hill and the holy place. The hill represents the capital city of King David, and the holy place is a reference to spiritual power—the glorious temple of God.

So, the hill represents secular power, and the temple represents spiritual power.[1] And let’s remember that it is in the spiritual realm where the real power resides. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” Kings and congresses might think they are up there on their little hill running things, but God is ultimately steering everything toward His divine purposes.

David, then, is asking here in verse 3, “Who has the right to go up that hill and rest in the power of God, and who can go up to that holy place to worship God?” Immediately, he gives the answer in verse 4: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”

David goes on in the next verse to say that the one who can stand in this holy place will “receive blessing from the Lordand righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

The clear implication here is that you get clean hands and a pure heart by being forgiven. You have to make a trip up Mount Calvary and kneel, as it were, at the foot of the cross where Jesus paid for your sin. He is the only one who can clean your hands and clean your heart and make you righteous—that is, make you right with God.

With that, David breaks out in a song of triumph through the rest of this psalm. Verse 7 celebrates: “Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.”

During the earthly days of the Lord Jesus, this passage was quoted by religious leaders on the day following the Sabbath; that is, on the first day of the week, or Sunday. And what happened on a Sunday, a thousand years after David wrote this psalm? Well, here came Jesus, mounted on a donkey (which represented a peaceful reign), entering Jerusalem. The people sang, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” while priests were in the temple singing, “Be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” Well, the King of glory had just come in through those gates.[2]

Did any of them connect the dots back then? Sadly, they did not, and the singing would soon turn to shouting for His death. And they would take Jesus up that ridge of hills to the place we call Mount Calvary, where he would die, just as He had planned, as our substitute, dying to pay the penalty for our sin.

Now we come to Psalm 25, where David begins each stanza with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet—a device that serves as a memory aid for the people. David gives us the theme of this psalm in verses 4-5:

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.

David is effectively saying, “Lord, unless You teach me and You lead me, I’m going to choose the wrong path.”

David then praises the Lord, saying, “He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way” (verses 8-9).

You see, David knows he didn’t sin just when he was younger; now he’s an older sinner. Frankly, you and I were sinners when we were younger too, and we’re still sinners today. Our hearts get dirty so quickly. Sometimes our hearts get dirty before we are even out of the driveway in the morning. We need daily cleansing, and we need daily direction.

As we move on to Psalm 26, David begins in verse 1, saying to the Lord, “I have walked in my integrity,” and near the end in verse 11, he states, “I shall walk in my integrity.” He’s saying, “This is my testimony today, and I want this to be my testimony in the future!”

I was curious, so I searched the word integrity on the internet. In less than a second, there were literally 26 million places for me to go.

I looked at some of them, and it became obvious that nobody knew how to get integrity. There was no connection between integrity and a relationship with the Lord. But that is exactly how David describes integrity here. It’s having a right relationship with God.

David illustrates integrity, writing further in verse 1, “I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.” Now David is not claiming perfection; he is claiming progression. At this moment he is thrilled to have a testimony of trusting the Lord. Read all of David’s psalms, and you will find there were times when he wasn’t trusting the Lord—but in this psalm he is.

So, what is your testimony today? That’s the question. Adopt David’s testimony. Make it your testimony today to worship God and rest in the power of God and find cleansing in your heart through the forgiveness of God.(end)

William Booth, who founded the Salvation Army in 1870 used to say, “You can’t make a person clean by washing his shirt.”[3] In other words, true cleansing is a matter of the heart. And only Jesus can cleanse your heart from sin.

So, let’s adopt David’s testimony as our own. Let’s ask for cleansing today and then declare, “I will walk with integrity and in a right relationship with God today.”

[1] John Phillips, Exploring the Psalms: Volume One (Loizeaux Brothers, 1988), 182.

[2] James Montgomery Boice, Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 141 (Baker Books, 2005), 214–220.

[3] Quoted in Phillips, 197.

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