image by Luke Stackpoole from Unsplash
Psalm 101 is the psalm I've been memorizing recently; perhaps its shortness appealed to me (it's been a while since I last memorized Scripture.) Just a verse a day, right? Eight days, and you have one whole psalm memorized. However lazy you are--or how bad your memory is; my two main excuses--you can't really argue with that.
There's a reason why memorizing a passage is different from simply reading it through. As your brain struggles to recall, to remember what order the verses come in, whether it's "haughty" or "proud"--or whether it's "haughty heart/proud look" or "proud heart/haughty look" (!!!) you're meditating on the meaning of the words, the significance of their order. I found much more food for thought from Psalm 101 than I had before just reading through on a superficial level, especially since you focus on just one verse each day. I've enjoyed Spurgeon's verse-by-verse commentary on the Psalms for the same reason.
I will sing of your mercy and justice; to You, O God, I will sing praises.
"Mercy and justice"--only with Christ can we celebrate both of these virtues of God without fear or guilt. Knowing that we are sinners, but redeemed ones.
I will behave myself in a perfect way; Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
Behaving wisely, perfectly, starts with our everyday life. Within our house. The small duties that others won't see. The everyday relationships, tasks, decisions that we make--that is where we should start in our quest to be holy, to model Christ's perfection. And as always, David makes clear the connection between behaviour and heart. Our hearts must be in the right place before our behaviour can be perfect, can be pleasing to God.
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.
Holiness is not merely doing what is right, but just as much the purposeful avoidance of temptation and removal of sin from our lives. We may be going to church, giving generously, behaving with kindness and graciousness; but are we turning a blind eye to the pet sins that we are reluctant to give up? Is there bitterness, pride, or hatred that we need to address, but distract ourselves from by being busy with doing good?
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbour, him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.
This includes seemingly petty/respectable sins: gossip, lying, jealousy, pride. David does not mince his words. He addresses these sins for what they are, and affirms his commitment to eradicating them from his life.
My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me. He who walks in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence. Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land, that I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord.
Within our responsibility and scope, how do we encourage what is right, and discourage what is evil? How do we live making a clear distinction between good and evil, when often culture, society, or environment tries to blur the line and justify what ought not to be justified? Here's a quote from Mark Driscoll I happened to come across that puts it clearly and simply (whatever bones you might have about him otherwise:)
"One of the great themes of the Protestant Reformation was that scripture--not culture--is best suited to interpret Scripture. If at any point our cultural preferences are in contradiction to Scripture, it is culture that must move, and not Scripture."
If you've ever watched any period dramas--be it the Game of Thrones fantasy sort, Chinese palace dramas, or Western historical dramas--politics, merciless survival-of-the-fittest scheming, deception, and backstabbing are the foundation of any court life. How revolutionary is it that David, as king, declares here his resolution to remove lies and deception from his court? Idealistic, some would scoff. As king, David could have shrugged and settled for "it be like that sometimes." Especially as someone who had been majorly exposed as a liar and deceiver over the whole ugly affair with Bathsheba, trying to cover up the sins of murder and adultery. It was all the more humbling, an act of vulnerability as well as an act of accountability, that David took this stance against lies and deception. His resolution did not stem from or cultivate a holier-than-thou attitude because it was common knowledge that the king himself had been a liar. His resolution was an effort of true repentance, seeking to put away all traces of what had been his besetting sins of pride, lust, deceit.
"A Psalm of David. Promised faithfulness to the Lord."
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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