The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not done evil by turning from my God. (vv 20 – 21)
Reading the psalmists words in the second segment of Psalm 18 often leads us in a couple of different directions. First, we ask if David is boasting, proclaiming a righteousness that we find incredible. Is his blessing truly the direct result of his works or behaviors? If we were to pull these verses out of context it could certainly be understood that way but we don’t read that way. We read these statements in contrast to the wickedness of David’s enemies. He has devoted himself to the worship and the service of the Lord and is simply saying that any peace and prosperity that he enjoys is the result of this faithful service.
The second thing that jumps out at modern followers of Christ is the idea of possessing any righteousness of our own. You see, we enjoy a righteousness far in excess of what was available to David, we have the perfect imputed righteousness of our Savior. We are no longer under the law, laboring for a perfection that cannot be attained by mortal man and always at risk of our personal Bathsheba. Our righteousness is fixed in the final work of the Lord on the cross. We too can claim the joy and benefit of the righteousness we have received.
You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. (vv 28-29)