As we enter a new year it is very popular to engage in the practice of New Year’s resolutions. Most resolutions are about physical things. We often will make a resolution that the diet begins for the new year. Now we are going to exercise. Now we are going to eat healthier. Now we are going to be more active. There are any number of resolutions that we tend to make, whether written down or simply as a desire within us to do better. Humans seem to be goal oriented. We need to a goal to set before our eyes and then give our effort to reach that goal. The apostle Paul spoke in goal oriented terms when he said that he pressed on to the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The scriptures are not foreign to the idea of making resolutions and commitments before God. If we are going to live a godly life, we need to make a decision and a commitment to live that way. A godly life does not occur by accident. In our lesson today we are going to explore the resolutions of David and the commitments that he makes before his God. As we read these I am calling upon each of us to make the same godly resolutions for our lives.
I Will Praise the Lord (101:1)
The first declaration of David is that he will sing of steadfast love and justice to the Lord. David basks in the joy of God’s steadfast love and goodness. Singing is the movement of the heart. This is why God described our worship to him as “singing and making music in our hearts to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). The heart moved by the love of God leads to a joyful song. It is not just that we sing songs. God does not care about words being put to music. The point is that the heart is motivated to sing. David does not say that I sing to the Lord because I have to. David will sing because of God’s steadfast love and justice.
This knowledge is the motivation for all of our actions. We must not turn the love of God into the drudgery of obedience. It is the difference between bringing flowers or giving a gift to your spouse because you want to or because you have to. The act is the same but the motivation makes all the difference. We need to have grace-driven obedience.
I Will Pay Careful Attention to the Blameless Path (101:2)
David envisions a life of careful consideration of the proper path to walk in life. We are presented with numerous choices each day. What path will we take? Solomon as the wise teacher instructs, “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” (Proverbs 4:26 ESV) However, Solomon also describes those whose path leads to destruction. He pictures the forbidden woman and says:
Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. (Proverbs 5:5–6 ESV) Notice that the difference is the careful consideration of the path you are taking. She does not think about which path is the path of life. She just wanders all over the place. How often we fail to calculate our life choices! How often we do not consider the spiritual gravity of the choices we make. Jesus was very clear about the two paths that lie before us each day.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13–14 NIV11)
The right path to take is not the obvious path. The obvious decision is often the decision that leads to destruction. That is why so many take the wrong path. David says that he will consider the way of the blameless life. We will think about how to live wisely and not mindlessly make the journey. Consider your ways and think about which way you go so that your choice does not lead to your destruction.
I Will Walk with Integrity (101:2)
Third, David says he will walk with integrity of heart within his house. It is easy to try to fool others with your righteous living and then live completely differently at home. The godly do not do this. God wants integrity of heart in the house, behind closed doors, when no one is looking. We will train our children in the way of the Lord, full of instruction and discipline. We will remain faithful to our spouse. We will be the husbands and wives that we are supposed to be for each other. We will not put on a show for everyone else. Integrity of heart means that we will not be false in public, pretending to be something that we are not. The family relationship that we see is the family relationship that exists in the home when no one else sees. We will treat our family in a godly way, just as Ephesians 5-6 describes. The home is the proving ground of our Christianity, not the shield where we ignore all of God’s commands.
I Will Not Set Worthless Things Before My Eyes (101:3)
This is a commitment to redeem the time and make the most of the time God has given us. We will take advantage of opportunities to keep worthless things away from our eyes so that we can have valuable things before us. We waste so much time on the internet, spending time on worthless things. This time could be far better spent. How often we spend our time reading status updates but never checking the status of our own hearts by reading God’s word, meditating on his teaching, and spending time in prayer. Further, David says he will not get entangled with the evil of the world. People are going to try to get you entangled in worthless and sinful things. Your friends, your co-workers, your employers, your neighbors, and the like are going to be used as tools of evil to get you to do what is sinful. You will be tempted to turn away from the Lord, to cave in on the clear teaching of God’s word. When we see people lying or cheating or stealing, we will not approve of it. We will not engage in it ourselves. We will hate those evil works. We will see our lives as a display for the glory of Jesus. Therefore I cannot let worthless things occupy my time. I will not be caught up with those who participate in evil. This leads to the next resolution.
I Will Be Pure (101:4)
We need to make a covenant of purity before the Lord. We will keep a perverse heart far from us and know nothing of evil. We will have no relationship with evil. We will be ignorant of evil things. We will live in purity. We will be pure in our minds and hearts. We will not watch movies that contain filthy language and sexual explicit images or anything that implies it. We will watch television shows that promote wickedness and that laughs at things that are an abomination to God. We will not look at sexual images on our computers. We will not flirt with the opposite gender if we are married. We will be pure to our spouse. We will reserve sexual relations for marriage. We will not live with our boyfriend or girlfriend. We will not divorce. We will not have an affair. We will be pure in action and pure in heart. May the words of the old hymn fill our prayers: “Purer in heart, O God, help me to be.”
I Will Destroy Slanderers and Proud (101:5)
I am not going to participate or tolerate slander and pride. We will not secretly gossip and slander others. We will not speak about them. Further, I will not participate when others are gossiping and slandering. It is so tempting to jump in and participate in this kind of talk. We must remember that such language reveals a corrupt heart. The mouth speaks from the abundance of one’s heart (Matthew 12:34). I will not participate. I will speak well of people, not badly of them. I will assume the best in them and not the worst. I will seek out their good and not their ill. Further, I will not be proud nor will I spend time with the proud. Christianity is not about showing ourselves. There is nothing about servanthood and discipleship that is about us. It is all about Jesus. We must have humble hearts before the Lord. There is no room for pride for what we can be proud of? We are nothing without God. Do not walk with the proud. Do not spend time with them.
I Will Look with Favor on the Faithful (101:6)
Rather than spending our time with the wicked who are trying to pull us away from God, we need to spend our time with the faithful people of God. We will love the brotherhood of Christians. We will think well of them. We will consider their words and watch their ways. We will let other Christians teach us, set us straight, correct us, and build us up.
I Will Despise Evil (101:7-8)
Finally, David says that he will have nothing to do with evil. No one who practices deceit will be in my house. We will not tolerate sin in our home. We will make the covenant before the Lord as Joshua did that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. We are not going to have lying in our home. We are not going to have sinful behavior going on in our family. The reason is that we will have such a disdain for evil that we will not want it near us. We will adopt the character of God that cannot stand to dwell in darkness. We will separate ourselves from evil and evildoers. How can light spend time with those who have no interest in the light and are trying to shut out the light? We will surround ourselves with those who help our faith and not those who undermine our faith.
This psalm appears to be the psalm of David when he was king since he speaks about the power he has to enact these moral reforms throughout the land. Unfortunately, David failed at keeping these resolutions before his God. We know about his moral failures and many grievous sins. In the same way it will not be long before we also fail at these resolutions. This is not to be a reason for us to not make this commitment to God. We cannot look at God’s word and decide we can’t do it and then no longer try to live godly, holy lives. The reason Jesus came to the world is because God knew we could not do what is required of us. Jesus did what none of us could do. Jesus is the fulfillment of this psalm. Jesus lived a life of integrity and paid careful attention to the path of righteousness. Jesus did not set his eyes on worthless things but maintain a covenant of purity in his heart and actions. He is the one who cuts off the wicked but looks with favor on the faithful. We will conclude with the words of Isaiah, who is speaking about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus who would save the people.
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. (Isaiah 11:1–5 ESV)