Psalm 101, David’s spiritual manifesto in song, began with a list of admirable qualities the king desired to cultivate. He then took a good look around him to determine how he would respond to different kinds of individuals based on their positive or negative influence.
He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. (101:6b)
David admits that there is a certain category of people who minister to him, who serve him. He says that they are the “blameless” people—not perfect people, but men and women whose conduct is above reproach. In my opinion, this is the single most important trait to be found among ministers—among all those who shepherd, counsel, teach, and serve others. Maintaining a standard of conduct that is above reproach must become an indispensable qualification of God’s servants. When integrity breaks down—or even the appearance of it—one forfeits the ability to lead in a high-profile capacity.
He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house. (101:7a)
David’s original term for “dwell” in this verse is different from the previous verse. In this context, the term literally means “to sit.” It’s used figuratively the same way we might say a person “occupies a seat in parliament” or “has won a seat in congress.” It refers to a place of responsibility or authority. David has determined that a hypocrite or deceiver will have no authority or responsibility in his administration. Deception has to do with keeping back the full story or hiding the real motive behind an action. It is the act of deliberately causing someone to be misled. If you have ever dealt with a deceiver, you know why David felt so strongly about this.
He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. (101:7b)
The king had a policy: anyone caught in a lie cannot keep his position of authority. Trust has been broken. A person who will lie once will most likely lie again. If you’re in business or you occupy a leadership position, you are unwise if you tolerate an untruthful employee. Leadership depends upon reliable information. How can you steer the organization without clear sight? Morale depends upon healthy relationships, and relationships are built upon trust. You cannot maintain teamwork with even one liar in the group.
Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity. (101:8)
This is quite a conclusion! David has mentioned several types of people and forcefully declared himself regarding each one, but this is the strongest of all. The term “wicked” is a judicial term referring to those who commit a crime and then are found guilty by a court. This is not merely someone with bad character; the “wicked” are criminals. The phrase “those who do iniquity” are people who commit crimes. The verb “destroy” translates a Hebrew term that means “to put an end to, cut off, vanish, wipe out.”
David resolves to rid the capital city of criminals by any means necessary, including execution, though not exclusively. He says, in effect, “I’m going to wipe the capital city clean of all criminals so it will be unsafe for people to commit crimes.” He promises to clean up city hall.
David’s credo promises to assemble an honest government administration, from top to bottom. He commits to a high degree of moral conduct personally, and he resolves to hold everyone in his government to the same standard. In doing this, he expects to discern the will of God—having cleared away the distractions of bad character—and to pursue his divine purpose to the end of his days.
While millions watched on television, Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a 1,800-foot wire that was only 5 inches in diameter. He took all the precautions he could. But adding to the drama and danger of both the height and the rushing water below, a thick mist obscured Nik’s sight, wind threatened his balance, and spray from the falls challenged his footing. Amid—and perhaps because of—these perils, he said that he “prayed a lot” and praised God.
The Israelites also praised God in the middle of a dangerous challenge. Theirs involved a large group of warriors who had gathered to fight them (2 Chron. 20:2). After humbly asking God for help, King Jehoshaphat appointed a choir to march out into battle in front of the Israelite army. The worshipers sang: “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (v.21). When they began to sing, the Lord caused the enemy forces to attack and destroy each other.
Praising God in the midst of a challenge may mean overriding our natural instincts. We tend toward self-protection, strategizing, and worry. However, worshiping can guard our hearts against troubling thoughts and self-reliance. It reminds us of the lesson the Israelites learned: “The battle is not [ours], but God’s” (v.15). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Lord, I praise You, for Your mercy is everlasting.
Help me to remember that every battle in
this life is Yours. The outcome belongs to
You because You are sovereign.
No matter what is in front of us, God is always behind us.
READ: Genesis 12:1-8
There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. —Genesis 12:8
Many believers long to spend daily time with God, praying and reading His Word. Ironically, they are often distracted by a busy schedule. Frustrations mount as busyness seems to crowd out an opening in their schedule.
Oswald Chambers has wisely commented on the transforming power of even 5 minutes in the presence of the Lord. Indeed, even a short time spent in intercession and the Word still has great value: “It is not the thing on which we spend the most time that moulds us, but the thing that exerts the greatest power. Five minutes with God and His Word is worth more than all the rest of the day.” Now, it may sound like Chambers has made an overstatement. Yet powerful results can come from even a short time of prayer, because God is powerful.
Sometimes our days are filled with busy demands that crowd out time spent in listening to and responding to God. But no matter where we are, any time taken to build our own spiritual “altar” to the Lord as Abram did (Gen. 12:8) opens the door to His transforming power. If you are having trouble establishing a time with God, you could start with just 5 minutes and see where it leads. Our God longs to meet with us and show His power in our lives. —Dennis Fisher
Lord, it’s amazing to me that You, Almighty God,
would want to spend time with me! Thank You.
I stumble with my words at times but am in awe of
You. Thank You that You want to hear from me.
Talk with God—He wants to hear your heart.