Vs. 1-4 declare David’s personal resolutions;
Vs. 5-8 declare David’s royal resolutions against others’ evil.
This Psalm was written by David as he became king (by Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:13; at Hebron, 2 Samuel 2:4). David truly understood a king’s responsibility, as Solomon later wrote: “A king who sits on the throne of judgment Scatters all evil with his eyes” (Proverbs 20:8); “A wise king sifts out the wicked, And brings the threshing wheel over them” (Proverbs 20:26); “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1). There was no “separation of church and state,” for the head of “state” determined his “church” would influence him to lead well. And so it should be!
Verses 1-4: The King would praise the God who was over him (verse 1) and follow the principles based upon God’s characteristics of “mercy and justice.” To “behave wisely in a perfect way” (verse 2) refers not to sinlessness, but to “completely, or consistently,” even at home! The difference between public and private behavior should not be drastically different, as YouTube and Facebook could show. If “what you see is what you get,” then David didn’t want to see it (verse 3)! A man, with the best of intentions, may still fall to his temptations (2 Samuel 11:1-5; 12:9). It is loyalty to God to hate those who “turn aside” (Proverbs 8:13). “A perverse heart” (or “twisted”) kept him simple, honest (verse 4) to accept rebuke for his sins (2 Samuel 12:1-14). To “know wickedness” is to give it your time and attention. David was determined “not to know wickedness,” that is, keep all who carried this dreaded spiritual condition far from him (to have a child’s heart, Deuteronomy 1:39; Jonah 4:11).
Verses 5-8: “Secret slander” (verse 5) cannot be mistaken for good (Proverbs 10:18), nor can it be passed off as “being a sound preacher!” The fact that it is “secret” shows the disgusting underhandedness of the one spreading it, and it is an obvious manifestation of a perverse heart without love. “Whisperers, backbiters” are listed with “haters of God” and given up by God (Romans 1:28-32)! Such people are also guilty of a “haughty look” and “proud heart” and seldom repent of their “secret” wickedness. Since Jesus Christ now sits on David’s throne in heaven (Acts 2:29-32), these sins are an abomination to Him and banned from His kingdom (2 Corinthians 12:19-21). David’s attention will be to “the faithful of the land” (verse 6), for only they would help him in the right way (Proverbs 11:20). David seemed to know: “If a ruler pays attention to lies, All his servants become wicked” (Proverbs 29:12). Since verse 7 is the negative of verse 6, applied today, no faithful Christian “works deceit” and no one who “tells lies” “walks in a perfect way.” David would waste no time in ridding the land of “all the wicked,” (verse 8) as defined in Moses’ Law (Exodus 34:10-17). Jesus Christ now reigns over his kingdom (the church of Christ, Colossians 1:9-14) and Psalm 101 could be His banner over His throne.
Thought: From our hearts to God’s ear: Give us government leaders like David, and help us know how to select them. May we teach all who would lead to follow Psalm 101 and Jesus Christ.
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.