Pastors have many challenging responsibilities each time they deliver the message of God’s Word. They must feed the sheep, rebuke the disobedient, correct false teaching, and exercise responsible leadership.
King David faced comparable responsibilities and challenges as the national and spiritual leader of Israel. Psalm 101, which may have been composed for his son Solomon’s coronation, is in essence a public pledge to make faith, obedience, and righteousness the foundations of life and leadership (vv. 2–3a). God rightfully received this pledge from David and Solomon, as well as from any believer who prays it today. His love and justice are paramount in worshipers’ lives, and He daily provides us with the spiritual strength necessary to live well.
This psalm’s pledge of blamelessness includes both public and private spheres, as well as words, thoughts, and actions. It includes both a positive or active orientation—doing righteous things—and a negative or passive orientation—not doing evil things. It presupposes a love of godliness, that is, doing the right thing is not a matter of mere duty, constraint, or avoidance of punishment, but rather a matter of passion and worship from the heart.
This way of life is not just an individual matter, but is best done in company with others who share the same values: “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me” (vv. 6–7). Furthermore, this is not a one-time choice or action but a commitment that must be renewed on a daily basis (v. 8). The motivation or reward for all this is relational closeness with the Lord (v. 2). This treasure is worth all the labor and sacrifice that might be required.
Apply the Word
We need not be kings to take a stand for faith, obedience, and righteousness. Whereever we are, we can and should pledge to pursue and practice godliness. If you were to follow the psalmist’s example and write out such a pledge, what might it look like? Perhaps doing so could help you shine your light for God’s glory (Matt. 5:14–16)!