The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.

(Psalm 18:20)

What a tremendous statement! Remember, David wrote this psalm near the end of his life, as a summation of God’s accomplishments in his life. How could David then declare he is righteous, that his hands were clean? Has David so quickly forgotten his sin with Bathsheba or against Uriah? Look closely as he continues:

For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his rules were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

(Psalm 18:21-24)

Can anyone truly say these things and believe them? Yes, unashamedly yes! King David is not physically claiming he is righteous; for David himself wrote, “there is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1). He is claiming positional righteousness. A righteousness that has been given to him through his personal relationship with Yahweh. David understood he was a sinner and that only God provides the means by which he is considered holy. I believe Spurgeon states it best, “God first gives us holiness, and then rewards us for it. We are his workmanship, vessels made to honor; and when made, the honor is not withheld from the vessel, though, in fact, it all belongs to the Potter upon whose wheel the vessel was fashioned.”

Following this expression of truth, David completes the mid-section of this psalm with praise for what God has accomplished in his life.

With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

(Psalm 18:25-30)

May we all boldly proclaim such a personal relationship! Nothing physical or spiritual can prevent protection or provision from the elect of God. For His word is true and His way is perfect.  May we all rightly echo as David does, “according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.”