Psalm 101 is another royal motif psalm, probably an inaugural psalm. In fact, David wrote it on the occasion of his own inauguration, which seems a little strange. But then if we know the character of David, we know that he was a wonderful musician. He was a man’s man and had killed a lion and a bear, which was not an easy accomplishment in any day. He was a mighty warrior and he was the king. So he was an unusual combination of the military grit, of the strength of a man in the field dealing with animals, and yet he knew how to lead God’s people. He happened to be an extraordinary musician and writer as well. So in some ways, it makes sense that he would write his own inaugural tune.
David, not unlike Psalm 110, has this double message. He’s talking about himself, but he’s also talking Messiah, the ultimate King. Now the King of Israel had to do two things. He had to be subject to the laws of God and he had to be an example of the law of God. He had to be submissive to God’s law; He had to comply with it, to follow it, to obey it.
But he also had to be an example of the law to the people who were in his kingdom. I am subject to the law of God, but I must be an example of the law of God to all the people around me in my cabinet. Derek Kidner says, “It should hardly need saying that the resolve here is to have no truck with evil men does not spring from pride, but from the king’s concern for a clean administration, honest from the top down.”
A Commitment to Serve The King
Psalm 101, beginning at verse one: “I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, To you, O Lord, I will sing praises.” Here we have the two vertical aspects that we’ve talked about, lovingkindness and now the word justice. Lovingkindness of course, that covenantal love. God loves to be loyal to His chosen people and His covenant promises. It is His hessid character. It is the ethical love of God that when He says something, it can be trusted. His character, His promises are good. His Word is good. That’s who He is. That’s who we pin our hopes on.
Is there a vertical nature to the worship? One of the great litmus tests of the songs we sing is: Are we singing about Him or are we singing about us? You can do both, but I hope we sing a little more often about Him, the doxology, the glorification of God, praise God from whom all blessings flow. We’re praising God, not talking about our miserable state. The worship sings of a lovingkindness and justice.
Justice is the ruler’s prime duty. We expect a king to execute justice. The Hebrew concept of justice was a two-edged sword. You corrected those who did wrong, but you rewarded those who did well. The king’s resolve as He begins His inaugural address is to talk about the Hesid of God, that He is a lovingkind God, and I as the king will sing of justice. I will do right and I will reward those who do right. That’s the chief concern of the king; a commitment to serve a greater King. We might call them the vertical and horizontal commitments: lovingkindness and justice. Spurgeon called them the bitters and the sweets. Have you counted your blessings? Have you chosen to sing of God’s lovingkindness and justice?
A Commitment to Clean Character
Integrity is a little word in Hebrew, tamim, and it means blamelessness. A person of integrity is a person you can’t pin any blame on. We might say, “They’re squeaky clean.” And his choice is, I will give heed to the way of integrity. I will submit myself to it. Leo Durocher said, “I’ve never questioned the integrity of an umpire; his eyesight, yes.” The demonstration of integrity is, Ok, I’m going to sing about it. I’m going to give heed to the blameless way. How are you going to prove it, King David? How are you going to show us the blameless way?
It’s one thing to look like a person of integrity. It’s another thing to live like a person of integrity. If what we say we do, we do it when no one is around to see if we do it. That’s when you know if you have integrity. What you do when no one is looking.
It’s what you think about in the privacy of your mind. No one can dial in to our thought lives except the Holy Spirit. This is an incredibly intimate insight into King David who’s saying, “I’m really trying to do my best (in our terms), Jesus, but I don’t feel You. I don’t see You. I don’t know where You are. You’re not a real tangible God. I can’t hug You. I can’t feel You. I’ve got this temple complex with an altar and that’s it. How do I know where You are?” The intangibility of His sovereignty was no different than ours. I think it’s a personal glimpse into the heart of David.
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