“Power corrupts,” as the saying goes, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It is true that there is something about the human condition that makes power dangerous. In his commentary on the Psalms, the reformer John Calvin observed: “Although kings are not born fools, yet they are so blinded by their dignity that they think themselves in no respect indebted to their subjects.” These corrosive effects of power can even be seen not only in government but also in the church.
In today’s reading, David affirms a commitment to justice and holiness. He resolves to worship God by how he lives, by leading “a blameless life” (v. 2). He commits himself to extend this commitment to his position as king. He will run his “house” (or kingdom) with integrity as well (v. 2). A part of running his kingdom with integrity included rooting out corrupt administrators and officials. David declares that “the perverse of heart shall be far from me, I will have nothing to do with what is evil” (v. 4).
David’s examination of his house and kingdom should prompt an examination of our own. Can we say, “I will be careful to lead a blameless life” (v. 2) or that we “will not look with approval on anything that is vile”? David desires to surround himself with people who are honest in their communication, who have integrity in their motives, and who will serve people faithfully (vv. 6–7). For David living with integrity was not just about being a good king, it was an act of worship (v. 1). And this choice would not be made once, but “every morning” (v. 8).
>> This psalm can extend beyond advice for leaders. Turn the verses in today’s reading into questions for personal reflection: Am I conducting the affairs of my heart with a blameless heart (v. 2)? Am I looking with approval on vile things (v. 3)? How will this affect our speech, our purchases, our entertainment choices?