I will walk with integrity – Psalm 101

The 4th book of Psalms

“When will you come to me?” asks David in this psalm. But the idea is not a frightening one to David, God is someone whose presence he welcomes. Unlike the double-standards of the work manager who calls spending time talking to people “networking” when it applies to himself and fellow managers, but “skiving” when applied to those under him, we have nothing to fear from a God of love and justice.

A concrete wall with the graffiti slogan. "Jesus is coming, look busy".

The 4th book of Psalms, those 17 religious songs between psalms 90 and 106, have a theme, God is above us.

The layout is like this:

Book 1: Psalms 1 – 41: God is beside us.
Book 2: Psalms 42 – 72: God goes before us
Book 3: Psalms 73 – 89: God is all around us.
Book 4: Psalms 90 – 106: God is above us.
Book 5: Psalms 107 – 150: God is among us.

Book 4 answers the questions of Books 1-3 with the message that God is king.

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
    to you, O Lord, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
    Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
    within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
    anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
    it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me;
    I will know nothing of evil.
Whoever slanders his neighbour secretly
    I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart
    I will not endure.
I will look with favour on the faithful in the land,
    that they may dwell with me;
he who walks in the way that is blameless
    shall minister to me.
No one who practises deceit
    shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
    shall continue before my eyes.
Morning by morning I will destroy
    all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all the evildoers
    from the city of the Lord.

Psalm 101 ESV UK

In a Tweet on June 19th this year, Timothy Keller @timkellernyc said: 1st thing to improve your prayer- learn to pray the Psalms. 2nd thing to improve your prayer- after Bible study and before prayer do biblical meditation. See Luther’s A simple way to pray. jenifer o’herin @JeniferOhrin replied: I’ve been making it a habit periodically to pray through the psalms, personalizing them.

A psalm of King David is here part of a collection of Psalms collated at the end of the Babylonian exile well after the time of David. It comes immediately after a group of songs praising God as a great king greater than other kings and other gods. So what is the song of a long dead king doing here?

There are parallels. David established Jerusalem as his capital city as the cultural, economic and religious centre of the nation, and the same is true of the returning exiles who are rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and God’s temple within it. What the psalms compilers are doing is personalising David’s psalm for their own time. That is what this series is about, looking at what the psalms meant at the time of writing so we can see what it means to you, personalising the text.

David wants his reign as king of Israel to be aligned with the values of God, to that end he chooses not to use arrogant people, gossips, those who plan evil and liars on his staff, preferring to be advised by ordinary humble people. I have an issue with purging the city of God though. Jesus showed in the parable of the weeds in

David wants his reign as king of Israel to be aligned with the values of God, to that end he chooses not to use arrogant people, gossips, those who plan evil and liars on his staff, preferring to be advised by ordinary humble people. I have an issue with purging the city of God though. Jesus showed in the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24–43 that it is not our job to sort out who those who God will save are, only God can do that.

From verse 6 onwards the psalm seems to me to switch to a prophetic voice, the faithful of the land that may dwell with me is talking in God’s voice. God is the one who purges evil, ours to accept all so that all may accept God.


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