I once heard the president of a seminary express his concern over the school by saying, "I fear we may be turning out graduates with a great number of beliefs but not enough conviction." Conviction gives beliefs a backbone. David wasn't satisfied with a set of theological truths floating around in his head; he pinned them down to concrete convictions. It's as though he is saying in Psalm 101:1-4, "I'm committed to God's purpose, whatever it happens to be." In these four verses he lists four great qualities the believer must possess in order to discover clear direction. Each one assaults an aimless mindset. Verses 1 and 2 describe the qualities of honor and integrity.
I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O LORD, I will sing praises. (101:1)
Observe what David praises through song: lovingkindness and justice. These two qualities not only define God, they represent the guiding values by which He wants the world to operate. Many years later, the prophet Micah will write,
What does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
The first value, translated "lovingkindness," is chesed. It combines the ideas of extraordinary and unselfish mercy, love, friendship, kindness, and loyalty. The New Testament concept of grace captures the spirit of chesed. The companion word, translated "justice," is mishpat, which denotes an orderly, equitable administration of government; it describes that quality of civil rule that allows everyone to live peacefully and productively.
David resolves to make these two divine qualities the song of his life. He commits to letting them animate every decision and every relationship.
I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. (Psalm 101:2)
The first part of this verse has to do with public integrity as David says, literally, "I will give heed unto the way of integrity." The original Hebrew term translated "blameless" or "integrity" means "to be whole, complete, finished." It carries with it the idea of being totally honest, thoroughly sound. The king of Israel knew that his life before the people had to be solid and honest for the kingdom to remain strong.
The second part of this verse has to do with private integrity—he mentions being sound in "my house" and "my heart." Integrity is about authenticity, which doesn't change based on the audience or venue.
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.