Daily Family Worship

Psalm 101: The Psalm of Pious Resolutions

by | Jun 9, 2024

psalm 101

It is difficult to resist the impression that a kingly voice is audible here in this Psalm – not merely speaking of the ideal characteristics of a righteous ruler, but also uttering his own solemn personal resolutions. This is a royal proclamation against vice and immorality, which is very appropriate for the beginning of a new leader’s reign. If we interpret the abrupt question in verse 2 – “When wilt thou come to me?” – as the utterance of David’s longing to see the Ark of the Covenant brought to Jerusalem, we get a most fitting period for the writing of this Psalm of resolution. He had only very recently ascended the throne of Israel. The abuses and confusions of Saul’s troubled years had to be reformed. The new king felt that he was God’s viceroy, and here he declares that he will strive to make his monarchy a copy of the Lord’s! He gives evildoers fair warning, and bids all true men to be sure of his favor. But see how he says that he will take heed to himself before he begins to purge and purify his court. Hence the Psalm divides itself into two main parts – in the first of which, the king lays down the rule of his own conduct; and in the second, he declares war against the wicked vermin that infest many courts and cabinets of those who are in power. His ambition is to have Jehovah’s city be worthy of its true King – of Whom, he is only a representative. Therefore, his face will be gracious to all the righteous, and his hand will be heavy on evildoers. The Psalm may very properly be called, “A Mirror for Magistrates,” to quote the title of an old English work.

But although this Psalm declares David’s intentions to regulate his government and govern his kingdom in such a way that he might stop wickedness and encourage Godliness, the words are also very applicable to private families as well; and so it might very well be called “The Householder’s Psalm.” It teaches us that every person who is in any position of authority and leadership – whether it is that of a king, a president, a judge, a business owner, or a parent – ought to use their power as a terror to evildoers, and a praise to those who do well.

The theme of this Psalm is God’s mercy and judgment (verse 1). The Lord’s Providences concerning His people are very commonly mixed – containing both mercy and judgment. He has set the one over against the other, but they both are intended to do good – like rainshowers and sunshine. When, in His Providence, He exercises us with the mixture of mercy and judgment, we must make suitable acknowledgments to Him for both. National mercies and national afflictions are both calls to national revival. Family mercies and family afflictions are both calls to family prayer and worship. Whenever a man has a house and family of his own, let him seek to have God dwell with him; and those persons may expect His presence who walk with an upright heart in the ways of righteousness. David resolves to practice no evil himself; but he further resolves not to keep bad servants, nor to employ those around him who are wicked. He will not admit them into his family or government, lest they spread the infection of sin. A froward heart – one that delights to be cross and perverse – is not fit for proper society, the bond of which is Christian love. David also declares his intentions to not show favor to slanderers – that is, those who take pleasure in wounding their neighbor’s good reputation. And since God resists prideful, false, and deceitful people who do not scruple to tell lies or commit frauds, David determines to do likewise.

Let every man, woman, and child be zealous and diligent to reform his own heart and ways, and to do this early – being always mindful of that future day, when the King of righteousness shall cut off all wicked doers from the heavenly Jerusalem. Let us pray to Him for reforming grace so that we may not be among that sorrowful number!

Lord, we repent of times when we have allowed ourselves to be in the company of evildoers. We pray for grace to imitate David and resolve to surround ourselves only with those who love and serve You, O God! Amen.

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