The distinguishing peculiarity of this Psalm, in the tone of its appeals, is, that it dwells so much on the Righteousness of Jehovah's character.
Having in the previous one dealt much with his mercies it was fitting to trace the channel down which these mercies flow to sinners.
Our Head himself speaks here as well as his members. We may consider Him as teaching his members to take up his words, and address them to the Father in his name.
"Judge me, O Lord" (v1). Who could so well speak thus as He who prayed that prayer and spoke in John 17 - examine me, O Lord, test me. My heart and reins have been tried as gold is tried (v2) John 17:4.
And who could so well say as Jesus in v3, -
"Your lovingkindness is before my eyes - as Deut 6:8
And I have walked in your truth."
He fears not to invite this searching of heart and reins, for he knows the "lovingkindness" of the Lord; and he fears not to be driven from any favourite path he is upon, for his desire is to walk habitually in his truth. I love the Father, said Jesus (John 14:31). I come to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). We might thus go through the Psalm and show its application to Him.
More particularly we observe v6,7:
"I will wash my hands in innocence" ( Gen 20:5, Deut 21:6)
"I will compass your altar O Lord" (as Jericho was compassed, Josh 6:3)
"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell all your wondrously accomplished works."
The meaning is, that he will go round and round the altar, looking at it, looking at the blood on its base, and the blood on each of the four horns, north, south, east and west, beholding the smoke of the fire, and thinking of the sacrificial victim that has died there - all in the way of joyful thanks, for salvation provided for me!
It is a survey of redemption work taken by the Redeemer! Such a survey, as every member of his body often takes after having felt the power of felt forgiveness, and while aiming at innocence. For the compassing of the altar takes place after pardon. It is made in order to view it slowly.
Jesus loved the Types and that Typical Temple because they showed his work:
"Lord I have loved to live in your house,
And the place where your honour dwells" (v8)
Where his Glory dwelled, and where God was shown just, while gracious. He hated the thought of sin; and though numbered withe transgressors, abhorred their company as hell (v9,10). And is not this the feeling of every member of his mystical body? And do not all join in the the resolution and prayer of v11?
We consider v12 as anticipating the future. The even place seems to be the place of security, where no farther danger of falling shall occur. It may express also the present sure standing of the soul in God's love. At all events it points farther than the assemblies of God's people on earth.
However pleasant these may be they are by Types of better things. They are but shadows of those multitudes, numbers without number, in the kingdom, and their voice of praise, but the prelude to the anthems that shall arise from blessed voices uttering joy, when the Lord shall have gathered his great innumerable multitude.
Till that day dawns let us use this Psalm in order to enter fully into sympathy with the appeals of the Righteous One and his members. It is throughout, a breaking forth of The confidence of the Righteous in the Lord's righteousness.