Today's Insight - August 16, 2013
Response to Others
by Charles R. Swindoll
Psalm 101, David's spiritual manifesto in song, began with a list of admirable qualities the king desired to cultivate. He then took a good look around him to determine how he would respond to different kinds of individuals based on their positive or negative influence.
He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. (101:6b)
David admits that there is a certain category of people who minister to him, who serve him. He says that they are the "blameless" people—not perfect people, but men and women whose conduct is above reproach. In my opinion, this is the single most important trait to be found among ministers—among all those who shepherd, counsel, teach, and serve others. Maintaining a standard of conduct that is above reproach must become an indispensable qualification of God's servants. When integrity breaks down—or even the appearance of it—one forfeits the ability to lead in a high-profile capacity.
He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house. (101:7a)
David's original term for "dwell" in this verse is different from the previous verse. In this context, the term literally means "to sit." It's used figuratively the same way we might say a person "occupies a seat in parliament" or "has won a seat in congress." It refers to a place of responsibility or authority. David has determined that a hypocrite or deceiver will have no authority or responsibility in his administration. Deception has to do with keeping back the full story or hiding the real motive behind an action. It is the act of deliberately causing someone to be misled. If you have ever dealt with a deceiver, you know why David felt so strongly about this.
He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. (101:7b)
The king had a policy: anyone caught in a lie cannot keep his position of authority. Trust has been broken. A person who will lie once will most likely lie again. If you're in business or you occupy a leadership position, you are unwise if you tolerate an untruthful employee. Leadership depends upon reliable information. How can you steer the organization without clear sight? Morale depends upon healthy relationships, and relationships are built upon trust. You cannot maintain teamwork with even one liar in the group.
Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity. (101:8)
This is quite a conclusion! David has mentioned several types of people and forcefully declared himself regarding each one, but this is the strongest of all. The term "wicked" is a judicial term referring to those who commit a crime and then are found guilty by a court. This is not merely someone with bad character; the "wicked" are criminals. The phrase "those who do iniquity" are people who commit crimes. The verb "destroy" translates a Hebrew term that means "to put an end to, cut off, vanish, wipe out."
David resolves to rid the capital city of criminals by any means necessary, including execution, though not exclusively. He says, in effect, "I'm going to wipe the capital city clean of all criminals so it will be unsafe for people to commit crimes." He promises to clean up city hall.
David's credo promises to assemble an honest government administration, from top to bottom. He commits to a high degree of moral conduct personally, and he resolves to hold everyone in his government to the same standard. In doing this, he expects to discern the will of God---having cleared away the distractions of bad character—and to pursue his divine purpose to the end of his days.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.