It seems like leaders, especially political leaders, who lead with integrity are hard to find today. In Psalm 101, David expresses his desire for his reign to be marked by covenant faithfulness and blamelessness. Spurgeon says of this Psalm:
“This is just such a Psalm as the man after God’s own heart would compose when he was about to become king in Israel. It is David all over, straightforward, resolute, devout; there is no trace of policy or vacillation – the Lord has appointed him to be king, and he knows it, therefore he purposes in all things to behave as becomes a monarch who the Lord himself has chosen. If we call this the Psalm of Pious Resolutions, we shall perhaps remember it all the more readily. After songs of praise a Psalm of practice not only makes variety, but comes in most fittingly. We never praise the Lord better than when we do those things which are pleasing in his sight.” (The Treasury of David, Vol. 2, 239)
A leader’s integrity usually breaks down in one of two areas, or sometimes both – their personal life (i.e. their heart) and their relationships (i.e. the company they keep). David addresses both in nine “I will” statements and five “shall” statements in this psalm that is only eight verses long.
Psalm 101:1-4 deals primarily with David’s heart. David resolves to:
- worship God as the source of steadfast love and justice (verse 1). A heart of integrity worships God as it’s source, because He alone is the source of all that is good (James 1:17).
- “ponder”, or think upon, the way that is blameless (verse 2), realizing that, just as sin often starts in our thought life (Romans 8:5), so does integrity (Philippians 4:8).
- walk in personal integrity (verse 2).
- not set his eyes upon anything that is worthless (verse 3). Wow, is this convicting. For other verses that connect our eyes to sin, see Genesis 3:5-6 and 1 John 2:16.
- remain innocent about those things which are evil (verse 4, also see Genesis 3:5). How often does simple curiosity lead us to compromise our integrity?
David also wisely recognized that close friends and associates could adversely affect his character, so he also made several commitments regarding his relationships with other people in verses 3-8):
- to reject the advice of unfaithful men, i.e. “who fall away” (verse 3)
- to judge those who slander others and the wicked (verses 5a and 8)
- to not put up with pride and arrogance (verse 5b)
- to look with favor upon faithful men (verse 6a)
- to allow only men of integrity to serve in his administration (verse 6b)
- to keep away from those who are deceitful or liars (verse 7)
We cannot simply resolve to be people of integrity. However, as we walk humbly with the Lord and depend upon His power, he does call us to lead lives that are marked by obedience. May we be people who practice godly living, for His glory and our joy.