Monday, February 21, 2005

Worthless or Faithful?

I will sing of mercy and justice;
  To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.
I will behave wisely in a perfect way.
  Oh, when will You come to me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
(Psalm 101:1-2)
Read, mark and inwardly digest, as David declares his intention and his integrity before the LORD. He will sing in praise of God’s mercy and justice. This is the hesed, the lovingkindness, the steadfast love promised by God. Justice is the trustworthy judgment of God that comes and sets things right.

He will behave wisely in a perfect way. He will walk in the wisdom of God and live in integrity and truth. He does not mean that he is without flaw, but that he will be honest in all his dealings. When he messes us, he will make it right. He is transparent — “What you see is what you get.” He will act with integrity, that is, with wholeness — he will be the same in private as he is in public.
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
  I hate the work of those who fall away;
  It shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
  I will not know wickedness.
(Psalm 101:3-4)
He will set nothing wicked before his eyes. The word for “wicked,” belial, can mean that which is evil. Or it can mean that which is destructive. Or it can mean that which is simply worthless, without any redeeming value. David does not merely avoid the evil, or even just the destructive — he will not set any worthless thing before his eyes.

He will show no favor to the works of those who turn aside from rightness, truth and integrity. He will not honor those who do not honor the LORD (Psalm 1:1-4). He will live with a smoothness of heart, so that the works of the worthless will find no place to stick to him.

He will give no place in his life to those of a perverse heart. A perverse heart is one that is deceitful, false. He will not show any honor, or tolerance, to that which is evil.
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor,
  Him I will destroy;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart,
  Him I will not endure.
(Psalm 101:5)
He will not tolerate gossip or slander. Those who do will be gone from his life, cut off from fellowship with him. Nor will he allow any room for those with swelled heads and arrogant hearts.
My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land,
  That they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a perfect way,
  He shall serve me.
(Psalm 101:6)
He will set his eyes on the faithful — the faith-filled ones — and they shall have a place in his heart. The word for “faithful” is aman. It is the word for faith, and also for believe. In Genesis 15:6, where Abraham “believed” God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness, the word “believed” is aman. A man who is truly full of faith will walk with integrity and transparency. He will do what is right because he believes God. Those are the ones David desires to surround himself with in his court.

Now, David did not always keep these resolutions. Far from it! But to the extent that he honored what was full of faith, he did very well. It was when he gave place in his life to worthless things that he experienced crisis in his heart, unnecessary division in his family, and painful failure that could have been avoided.

What you set before your eyes, you will tolerate in your life and eventually honor in your heart. Will you tolerate worthless things? They will lead you to destruction, or at best, mediocrity. Or will you set your eyes on those who are full of faith, who walk with integrity, trusting in the LORD? Surround yourself with them, and honor them in your heart, and they will cause you to rise above the crowd.