“The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; He repaid me according to the cleanness of my hands.”
Psalm 18 is David’s song of praise for deliverance from the hands of his enemies. He has been in battle after battle with the Philistines at Gab and at Goth. He has buried seven male members of Saul’s family along with the bones of Jonathan and David (II Samuel 21.10-14). He is even confronted with death when he is almost killed due to exhaustion (II Samuel 21.15-17). Though killing has made him successful and popular, David is wearied by war and the presence of death is all around him. He sings, “The ropes of death were wrapped around me; the torrents of destruction terrified me. The ropes of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me” (18.4-5).
Recently, I delivered a message from this psalm but rereading it this morning, verse twenty seems to stand a part from all of the others: “The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; He repaid me according to the cleanness of my hands.” David says it again in verse twenty- four: “So the Lord repaid me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.” This message was important enough to repeat and if the reader rushed through the first occurence, he says it again to ensure that we realize its significance.
The reward system of God and that of American society are very different. Race would have us to believe that we are rewarded not for the cleanness of our hands but for the social color of our hands, that we are rewarded based on the finite eyes of human beings as opposed to the infinite sight of God. This reward is often referred to as white privilege. But, there are no favorites with God.
We will be rewarded according to what we have done with our hands not based on how they appear, whether we did good with them not if they looked good. God does not see what humans see for we look at the color of one’s hands but God looks at the condition of our hands.