Introduction: Clearly, this Psalm was penned by David. However, the time and place of writing is uncertain. It seems as though the Psalm was written as he contemplated entering domestic life – being the head of his own household and family. He lays down the rules or the standards which will govern his home and his family life.
David then concludes that these same principles should govern not only his household, but his business dealings and his kingdom; they apply to all avenues of life.
That being the case, the poetic verses of this Psalm are timeless. Its principles have a universal application to God fearing men and women of all ages, backgrounds and levels of authority.
Psalms 101:1 – A Psalm of David. I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.
Scripture tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Therefore, we can conclude that David has been meditating on both the mercy (steadfast love) and justice (judgment) of God.
Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. It can also be defined as an action motivated by compassion, performed out of a desire to relieve suffering.
Justice is fairness; moral uprightness, just dealing or right action; using power/authority to support fair treatment and due reward.
When David considers these two aspects of God’s character, it produces a profound joy which wells up inside him and bursts out as a song!
It should produce the same reaction in us. Let’s briefly consider God’s mercy. When mankind rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, we essentially gave our earthly authority to Satan. At that point, we were subject to him. Since his main focuses are stealing, killing and destroying, that is what mankind could expect to get from him.
And that is exactly what we received. Look around you. Satan has tried to steal/kill/destroy everything that affects you. He wants to steal your peace and leave you with anxiety. He wants to steal your joy and leave you with depression. He wants to kill your hopes, your dreams and your creativity. He wants to destroy your health, your relationships, your finances and anything else he can get his hands on. Consider what he did to Job!
But, hallelujah, the mercy of God has been manifested on the earth! Because of the sacrifice of Christ, we no longer have to suffer under the dominion of Satan. We can now experience true joy, peace and fulfillment. We can live in hope. We can see our dreams come true and our creativity benefitting mankind. We can have lives that include good health, satisfying relationships, and abundant finances.
Stop and consider the mercy of God in your own life. What has he done for you? Don’t be afraid to sing your own personal song of praise to God for what he has done for you. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just sincere. I am sure God would love to hear it!
David also recognized that God’s mercy is perfectly tempered by his justice/judgment. God is longsuffering towards all sinners. It is his desire for all men to be saved (II Peter 3:9). But eventually, justice will come. Those who choose to be enemies of God will eventually be punished by him. Those who abuse and destroy the people of God (Jews and Christians) will eventually find themselves facing the wrath of God. Sin will eventually be judged and punishment decreed.
Every once in a while, you still find people who declare that God is love and he would never send anyone to hell. Clearly, they have never taken the time to read the Bible! God is certainly love; there can be no doubt about that. But God’s love is perfectly matched with his justice. Therefore, he will punish those who do not turn from rebelling against him.
We primarily consider justice in regard to our enemy (Satan) and his followers, but justice also plays a role in discipline. God does the right or just thing when he corrects us. God loves his people, but like any good Father, he will discipline them if needed.
Children who grow up without any discipline wind up being unstable and unreasonable adults. If Christians grew up without any discipline from God, they would wind up being big spiritual babies, unfit to contribute to the kingdom of God. God loves his children too much to allow them to end up that way.
In David’s case, he sees how God’s perfect combination of mercy and justice bring forth a stable, peaceful environment that cultivates success of every kind. Creativity and accomplishment, peace and joy, hopes and dreams all flourish under this type of loving yet controlled circumstance. This is what David desires for his own household. What principles are you using as the foundation for your house?
Psalms 101:2 – I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;
Our translation says “I will ponder the way that is blameless”, but I think the King James Version is significantly better. It says “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way”. One reason I think this is so much better is because there is a big difference between ‘pondering’ and ‘behaving’. Anyone can ponder or think about doing the right thing, but actually doing it is something else all together!
However, David’s point is a good one – if you purpose in your heart to do what is right, that is likely what you will do when temptation comes.
By purposing in our hearts and reminding ourselves that we will do what is righteous, we are building up a defense against evil attacks. Let’s face it – we all have areas of weakness. So right now, you can begin to rehearse God’s laws in your mind. You can begin to purpose not to succumb to temptation in that area. If we wait until the moment of temptation to decide how to handle things, the outcome might not be so good!
David’s desire is that when God visits his house, He will find it being run according to righteous principles, including mercy and justice. These principles apply to his own conduct, the way he treats those under his authority and anyone in his employ. These are the rules that should govern our everyday lives:
Micah 6:8 – He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
Sometimes we try to make Christianity so complicated, but it really isn’t! Loving God and treating our neighbors as ourselves really is the heart of Christianity.
Here is something else to consider: those who are faithful in little things make themselves available to God for much bigger things:
Luke 19:17 – And he said unto him, Well done, good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.
Have you ever desired for God to use you to accomplish something for his kingdom? He is not going to start you out as the overseer of a million people. That wouldn’t be fair to you or them! But if you are willing to minister to just one, and you do a good job, he may just give you two, or five. Then 10 or 20 or more.
David will one day rule the nation, but he needs to rule his own house first. So if your desire is to do more or greater things for God, make sure you are being a wise steward of what you currently have!
Psalms 101:3-4 – I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
Have you ever taken a walk through the woods and found brambles or briars stuck to your clothing when you returned? Or even worse, maybe you found a tick that hitched a ride on you or your pet. Obviously, you don’t want briars or ticks clinging to you; you no doubt find them abhorrent and you will remove them immediately.
Spiritually speaking, you can’t separate yourself from the world – you have to walk through it. You are going to come into contact with people who do wicked things. But David vows that this kind of person will not have a place of influence or authority in his world. He hates their evil works; he will not allow their evil to cling to him like a tick.
Although ticks are small, they feed on your life’s blood and infect you with disease. In the same way, sin can be small, but it is not harmless! Let me repeat that: You may have a sin that seems small or insignificant, but no sin is harmless.
David understands that any sin which clings to him will affect his reputation, his family and his kingdom. For this reason, he vows to keep even the smallest sin away from his sight.
What about you? Do you have sin in your life that you consider to be small? Answer this question – What makes it small?
As humans, we tend to categorize sin into what we consider small sins (white lies, holding a grudge) and big sins (murder), but God makes no such distinctions. All sin is despicable in the sight of God. No sin of any kind can exist in the presence of his holiness. It might be time for us to adopt David’s view of sin!
Psalms 101:5 – Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.
David now speaks of two specific sins that still occur in the present time. Both are very destructive.
If a person has something good to say about someone else, they will normally say it openly. However, if they have something bad to say, it will likely be said in secret. This is how rumors get started, how reputations get tarnished, how ministries are destroyed and how churches are torn apart. Just think about how much damage has been done to people (and the cause of Christ) with just this one sin!
The wickedness perpetrated by secretly speaking evil can be likened to an ambush – the person under attack does not even know they are being assaulted! They have no chance to defend themselves. By the time they discover a rumor is out there, the damage has been done and it is virtually impossible to repair. This is a despicable sin; yet who among us has not either participated in it or been a victim of it?
The second sin David specifically mentions is pride or an arrogant heart. This person considers themselves to be better than others. As a result of this belief, they will not hesitate to slander someone. They will not hesitate to withhold mercy or justice.
In addition, they often consider themselves to be above the law. This is very dangerous mindset for anyone in authority. Fortunately for the people of Israel, David has vowed that he hates these sins and they will have no place in the administration of his kingdom. Truly, David was a man after God’s own heart. Are you?
Psalms 101:6 – I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.
Every ruler, including the president of the United States, has advisors, councilors and confidants. These are people who assist or advise the president in making decisions that will affect the whole nation. If these advisors are wicked, what will happen to the nation and its people?
Instead of looking upon or endorsing that which is evil, David will place his favor upon people who are faithful, humble, upright servants of God. These are the qualifications he is looking for in his future councilors and confidants. If the ruler of the nation and his advisors are righteous, what will happen to the nation and its people?
In this case, we don’t have to wonder – we know. The reigns of David and his son Solomon are considered the ‘golden age’ of Israel. It was a time characterized by peace, prosperity and justice. People were happy and free to enjoy life. As a nation, Israel enjoyed the respect of other nations. In the midst of all this, God was glorified.
But not too long afterward, we find a ruler who surrounded himself with worthless advisors. He was Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. You can read the whole story in I Kings chapter 12, but basically it went something like this: Immediately after Rehoboam became king, the people came to him and asked him to cut their taxes.
The councilors who previously served Solomon advised the new king to earn the loyalty of the people by giving them a tax break. The new, haughty councilors chosen by Rehoboam advised the king to make the taxes even higher!
The king chose the advice of the arrogant young men, and increased the taxes. As a result, there was a rebellion. Eleven of the twelve tribes of Israel decided to elect and serve a new king (Jeroboam), and Rehoboam was left to rule only the tribe of Judah. Too bad Rehoboam surrounded himself with haughty, unwise advisors!
Who are you taking advice from? When you have an issue and you need wise council, who do you turn to? Are they basing their wisdom on God’s law or man’s?
Psalms 101:7 – No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.
The man or woman who exhibited dishonesty, false pretences or trickery was not going to be a part of David’s life. He would not go into business with them, make an alliance or partnership with them, employ them or allow them to occupy a place of authority in his kingdom.
If a person of this character somehow made it into the life of David, he was determined to banish them as soon as he found out. While this may have seemed ridiculous or overly zealous at the time, David ensured a smooth life for himself by nipping trouble in the bud. By not entangling himself with these men in the first place, he spared himself the cost and embarrassment of being associated with them later on, when their sins were made public.
Now there is some really, really good advice – do with it as you will!
Psalms 101:8 – Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord.
The city of the Lord is Jerusalem. At the time he composed this Psalm David was not yet king. He is purposing in his heart what he will do when his kingdom is established.
The same principles that he will use to run his own household are the ones he will use to govern all of God’s people. When he is king, he will do everything within his power to purge the land from wicked people and their practices.
The phrase ‘morning by morning’ indicates that this effort will be constant. It isn’t something that David can do one time and the issue will be permanently settled. Evil will not stay at bay forever; those who want to purge it from their society/culture must always be on guard or it will creep back in.
Let me offer you some encouragement:
It seems as though the Christians in our nation have run away from serving in public office. This has turned out to be a mistake! We need men and women of God who are willing to serve in public office and steward that position of authority and power for the glory of God, just as David did.
If you feel God is calling you to some public office (no matter what that might be), I encourage you to pursue that with all of your might! Your community and your nation need you!
Let me offer you some relief:
David determined very early in his life to exhibit mercy and justice in all of his affairs, starting with his own household. Maybe you already have a household, but you started out with different laws like anger or favoritism. Let me offer you some relief – it’s not too late to change!
Begin to purpose in your heart that you want to treat those in your household and place of employment with the same principles that David did. Begin to ask Holy Spirit to help you make that change.
Let me offer you some strength:
Basing your life on Christian principles in general and mercy/justice in particular, is going to make you different from the world around you. That is a good thing! When people see those principles at work in your life, they will want to be part of what you are doing! Who doesn’t want to work for a person who shows mercy and justice?
So determine in your heart what you are going to do, and stick to it. God will give you the strength to establish these principles in your life and he will bring about opportunities to be a witness for him!