In Psalm 101, David shares many of the goals he has for living a life worthy of a follower of God. He sets the bar very high for himself, saying to God in verse two, “I will be careful to live a blameless life–when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.” In this verse David sets up the question of what exactly is a blameless life, and as the verses unfold, we get a better idea of what he is talking about.
In verses two and three, he continues, “I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.” This is something that struck me when I read it, because back in David’s time it was probably far easier for at least the common man to steer clear of visual distractions of this nature. I am not sure how it was for David, being a great ruler with a lot of power and wealth; he may have been surrounded by people trying to woo him in any way possible and he probably had a harder time avoiding things like this. But in the modern era we are besieged by distracting imagery on tv’s, computers, and phones. A whole industry is geared toward distracting us and trying to divert our thought processes through advertising, many of which is suggestive and based on seduction of our senses.
In verses four and five, David writes, “I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride.” This is a great reminder to us of what Jesus talks about in the Gospels as to how we will be accountable for ‘every idle word’ when we face God’s judgement.
I have known a few people in my life who made it their firm resolution to not talk about others, and I when I was living a secular life I greatly admired them but didn’t quite understand their devotion, because I couldn’t see what harm it was doing. Now that I have read the Bible I see the many admonishments to us about the harm that can be done by speech, and I understand why David is so committed to this principle. Jesus tells us in the Gospels that ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump’ and it makes sense why David is so wary of gossipy speech, because the temptation to join in is so great.
This Psalm is a great place to look for rules to live by. I really admire David’s devotion to these principles, and his high standards, delineated for us in Psalm 101, are a great place to look for inspiration on how to live a life worthy of the standards of God and Christ.
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