Psalm 101: Lessons For Seeking to Live a Righteous Life for God

Introduction: Here, at a time when David was set to become King of Israel, he made a series of vows to serve as a righteous king for God’s glory. David would repeatedly fail in his vows. But he would then repent and return to God. From David’s vows, the Bible reveals seven lessons for seeking to live a righteous life. Out of a love for God, your walk should include: (1) merciful justice, (2) integrity, (3) purity, (4) holiness, (5) separation, (6) faith, and (7) obedience.

First, in an effort to honor God, David promised to rule with both mercy and justice. God also desires that you be a source of merciful justice. Second, David also promised to try to live a life of blameless integrity. God also desires that you try to avoid sin and live with integrity. Third, David also promised to stay pure by guarding his eyes. God also desires that you strive to be pure. Fourth, David further vowed to be holy by “knowing no evil.” God also desires that you strive to be holy for His use. Fifth, David stated that he would not associate with slanders or prideful individuals. God also desires that you separate yourself from evil. This includes keeping bad company with people who may pull you off your walk. Sixth, David stated that he would instead associate with persons of faith. God also desires that you seek to be yoked together with persons of faith. Finally, David proclaimed that being “blameless” before God required that he serve Him. Your walk with God should also include your Spirit-led obedience.

1. Justice: God Desires That You Practice Mercy and Justice. Ps. 101:1.

  • Show your love for God by practicing mercy and justice. Out of love and a devotion to God, David promised to sing and practice both mercy and justice as King of Israel: “A Psalm of David. 1 I will sing of mercy and justice; to You, LORD, I will sing praises.” (Ps. 101:1). “David sang this song exalting the mercy and justice of God. The two go together; mercy can only be properly understood in light of justice. When justice pronounces its righteous penalty, mercy may grant relief. As king, David was concerned with mercy and justice. He knew these principles were not rooted in man, but in God. Before he could exercise mercy and justice in His kingdom, he had to understand and extol the mercy and justice of God . . . David could only sing of mercy and justice in reference to songs of praise to Yahweh. David knew that the LORD was the source of all mercy and justice.” (David Guzik on Ps. 101) (emphasis in original).1

  • Be a source of God’s justice in the world.  God called upon His people to be a source of justice for the poor and oppressed, like widows, orphans, and others in need (Dt. 10:12-11:32; 1 Kgs. 17:17-24; Ps. 146:9).  “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, obtain justice for the orphan, plead for the widow’s case.”  (Is. 1:17). “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.”  (Ps. 82:3). “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do justice and righteousness, and save one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor.  And do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”’  (Jer. 22:3).  “May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor.”  (Ps. 72:4).  “The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern.” (Prov. 29:7).  This is also part of the definition of true religion:  “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”  (Jam. 1:27).  Are you regularly helping the oppressed and those in need?

Verse of the Day: September 13, 2017

Show God’s justice through loving mercy to others2

  • Show love to those who are in need.  God’s mercy is based upon His love for us. Thus, to be a source of His justice, you must also be merciful to others. Thus, Jesus commands you to love to others:  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  (Jo. 13:34).  “And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.”  (1 Jo. 4:21).  “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt. 5:44).  Will you show Jesus’ love to those needing mercy?

  • To receive God’s mercy, you must show mercy to others. When Shimei falsely cursed David for killing Saul, David showed him mercy in the hopes that God would show him mercy for his own serious sins: “Perhaps the LORD will look on my misery and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” (2 Sam. 16:12). If you practice mercy, God will bless you with His mercy and forgiveness: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Matt. 5:7). “For if you forgive other people for their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive other people, then your Father will not forgive your offenses.” (Matt. 6:14-15). God also wants to reconcile with others before you seek Him (Matt. 5:24). Is there anyone you need to forgive?

  • An enemy who fails to respond to loving mercy faces God’s judgment. God wants you to trust Him to be just and fair. If you are merciful to someone who does not reciprocate, you can trust Him to respond in His perfect timing. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” (Prov. 25:21-22; Ro. 12:20).

2. Integrity: God Also Desires that You Walk With Integrity. Ps. 101:2.

  • Show your love for God by also walking with integrity. Out of love and devotion to God, David further promised to be “blameless” while maintaining “integrity” in his heart: “2 I will carefully attend to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.” (Ps. 101:2). “In this psalm we have David declaring how he intended to regulate his household, and to govern his kingdom, that he might stop wickedness, and encourage godliness.” (Matthew Henry on Ps. 101).3

The Psalms 101: Catholic Guide to Sacred Songs of the Church | LEARN25

Even though you will at times fail, try to stay on Jesus’ narrow path of righteousness4

  • God will bless those who try to walk with integrity. Those who seek to live with integrity will never regret their decision: “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the Law of the LORD.” (Ps. 119:1). “Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways.” (Ps. 128:1). “The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their walk are His delight.” (Prov. 11:20). “Since I know, my God, that You put the heart to the test and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You.” (1 Chr. 29:17).

  • A believer who walks with God is also honest in dealing with others.  Being “blameless” and having integrity also means that you avoid all forms of theft, deceit, lies, and half-truths in your dealings: “‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.”’ (Lev. 19:11; Ex. 23:1-2).  Stealing violates God’s Eighth Commandment  (Ex. 20:15; Dt. 5:19; Eph. 4:28).  Lying also violates God’s Ninth Commandment  (Ex. 20:16; Dt. 5:20). Lies and deceit are among the six things that God “hates.”  “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: … a lying tongue, and … a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”  (Prov. 6:16-19). “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.”  (Prov. 22:22).  Satan is the father of all lies.  When you lie, you are under his influence:  “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.   . . . Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  (Jo. 8:44).  If you embrace lies, deceit, or half-truths, you are not walking with God: If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 Jo. 1:6-7). Are you honest in your dealings with others?

  • Also have integrity in all your business dealings. Although some might distinguish between personal and business ethics. But God draws no such distinction. As an example of this, He prohibited God’s people from manipulating weights and measures that were used at that time for calculating the prices of business deals:  “‘You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.’”  (Lev. 19:35-36).  “You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small.  You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just measure, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”  (Dt. 25:13-15).  “You shall have just balances, a just ephah and a just bath.”  (Ez. 45:10).  “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.” (Prov. 11:1; 20:10; 23; Hosea 12:7).  Persons who defraud consumers will also face God’s judgment  (Micah 6:11).  When no one is watching, do you act with integrity?

  • Let God’s truth be evident in your walk.  Lies and deceit are harmful to both you and those around you. Thus, Solomon warns that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21) and that “a wholesome tongue is a tree of life.”  (Prov. 15:4). God’s people should instead embrace His truth: “Your word is truth.”  (Jo. 17:17(b)). “For He said, ‘Surely, they are My people, sons who will not deal falsely.’”  (Is. 63:8(a)). “You shall not  . . . deal falsely, nor lie to one another.”  (Lev. 19:11).   “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”  (Eph. 4:25).  Are you truthful in your personal and business endeavors?

3. Purity: God Desires That You Strive to be Pure for Him. Ps. 101:3.

  • Show your love for God by seeking to stay pure for His use. As King of Israel, David’s love for God would also include a vow to keep his eyes and body pure for God’s use: “3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.” (Ps. 101:3). Like his other vows, David would fail in this vow. But he still tried to be pure. He further repented of his sins and returned to God when he failed.

  • Make a covenant with your eyes.  As our example, Job made a covenant with his eyes because he knew that he was a sinful man who was susceptible to lust: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look at a virgin?”  (Job 31:1).  Based upon his many failures, Solomon also warned about the temptations that come from failing to control what you look at:  “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids.”  (Prov. 6:25).  If you fill your eyes with evil, you may act on it:  “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”  (Matt. 6:22-23).  Unchecked lust can overwhelm your decisions.  “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.”  (Ro. 1:24). It is the second look or staring that leads to lust. What are you doing to guard your eyes?

  • Filling your eyes with sinful things leads to even worse sins.  David’s adultery with Bathsheba started with him secretly staring at her while she bathed on her roof. “Now at evening time David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.” (2 Sam. 11:2). Likewise, Eve ate from the forbidden fruit only after staring at its beauty (Gen. 3:6).  Satan uses the lusts of the eyes to entice people to engage in sins raging from pornography to adultery:  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”  (1 Jo. 2:16).  His goal is to destroy families and anyone who submits to him.  “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (Jam. 1:14-15).  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”  (Matt. 15:19).  

  • Avoid places where temptation can arise.  Part of guarding your eyes includes removing yourself from sinful environments:  “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you.  It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.”  (Matt. 18:9; Mk. 9:47).  David had a choice to avoid his rooftop where he knew that he could see a naked woman bathing on her roof.  In contrast, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph at work (Gen. 39:11).  Joseph had no choice as to where he worked.  It is normally never wise to be alone with a person of the opposite sex.  Do you protect your heart by avoiding places of temptation?

  • Jesus came to raise the standards for sexual purity.  Jesus did not come to repeal the laws against sexual immorality.  Instead, He raised the bar on the type of conduct that He expects from believers.  He stated that merely lusting after a neighbor’s wife is an act of adultery:  “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  (Matt. 5:28).  Yet, while exhorting us to even higher standards of moral conduct, Jesus also used the example of the woman caught in adultery to urge believers to show loving mercy to others who have sinned in the past and repented (Jo. 8:7).  If someone you know has engaged in sexual sins in the past and repented, show mercy. Don’t use that person’s old sins to condemn them.

  • Temptation is a greater risk during times of prosperity and comfort.  David was at his best when he was threatened and forced to cling closely to God.  In contrast, his greatest failures of his faith came during his times of success.  During his times of success, he felt entitled to gratify the desires of his flesh and took more wives or concubines.  This sin is not limited to men.  Potiphar’s wife felt great power in her household.  Joseph’s resistance made her long for him even more.  Because her heart was evil, she longed for the one thing that she could not have  (Gen. 39:10-13).  Satan will exploit any opening that you give him.  If you let your guard down when times are good, he will entrap you.  Has success or times of plenty caused you to drop your guard against temptation?

  • Put on the armor of God to resist temptation.  Guarding your eyes and your heart also requires that you put on the armor of God:  “The night is almost gone, and the day is near.  Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  (Ro. 13:12).  “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”  (Eph. 6:11).  “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”  (Eph. 6:13-14; Is. 59:17; 1 Thess. 5:8).  Jesus has also left you with His Word as a sword against the devil. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  (Heb. 4:12).  Are you using each part of God’s armor against the devil?

4. Holiness: God Desires That You Strive to be Holy for Him. Ps. 101:4.

  • Show your love for God by seeking to stay holy for His use. David’s love for God would also include a vow to keep himself holy for God’s use by seeking to “know no evil”: “4 A perverse heart shall leave me; I will know no evil.” (Ps. 101:4). David would also fail in this vow. But he would again repent and return to God when he failed to be holy.

  • David’s seven deadly sins.  At one point, David violated at least seven of God’s Ten Commandments.  First, by lusting after his neighbor’s wife, he violated God’s Tenth Commandment against coveting (Ex. 20:17; Dt. 5:21).  Second, by repeatedly giving into his lusts of his flesh, he made an idol out of attractive women and violated God’s Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4-5; Dt. 5:8-9).  Third, by sleeping with a married woman, he violated God’s Seventh Commandment against adultery (Ex. 20:14; Dt. 5:18).  Fourth, he violate God’s Sixth Commandment against murder when he killed Uriah (Ex. 20:13; Dt. 5:17).  Fifth, by engaging in lies and deceit to cover up his neighbor Uriah’s murder, he violated God’s Ninth Commandment against bearing false witness (Ex. 20:16; Dt. 5:20).   Sixth, after he later married Bathsheba, he violated God’s law against a leader having more than one wife:  “17 He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; . . ..”  (Dt. 17:17(a)).  He further violated God’s purpose of marriage by joining himself together by more than one other person (Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Tim. 3:2).  To become king, he would have made a public vow to uphold the Torah.  By breaking his vows, David profaned God’s holy name.  He was not “swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God.”  (Lev. 19:12).  Thus, his actions also violated the Third Commandment (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11).  Finally, as God’s appointed king, David violated the Fifth Commandment by dishonoring his heavenly Father (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16).  Even if he only broke one Commandment, he would have broken them all:  “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”  (Jam. 2:10).  David wrote psalms about God’s mercy and grace only after God showed him his sins.  David was a man after God’s heart not because he was perfect role model. Instead, he was a godly man because he repented of his many terrible sins.

  • Be holy for Jesus.  God wanted His people to remain holy and separate from the unclean nations around them (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7).  To keep His people holy and from turning their hearts away from Him, believers are not allowed to adopt the sexual practices of non-believers (Lev. 18:1-3).  When the Jews did these things, they “defiled” themselves (Lev. 18:24).  Are you keeping yourself pure and holy for Jesus’ use?

5. Separation: Separate Yourself from Others Who Embrace Evil. Ps. 101:5.

  • God wants you to abhor evil and those who embrace it. Although David practiced personal mercy when others attacked him, he promised to be impartial as King of Israel and implement God’s justice against those who broke God’s laws by slandering others: “5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; I will not endure one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart.” (Ps. 101:5). Defaming others or lying about others is against God’s law: “You shall not give a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked person to be a malicious witness.” (Ex. 23:1). “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:16; Dt. 5:20). Today, God does not want you to “destroy” anyone. You should instead leave vengeance to Him (Dt. 32:35; Ro. 12:19).

  • Bad company can pull you off your walk. The Bible clearly warns: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.”’ (1 Cor. 15:33). “He who begins with his own heart begins at the fountain head, and is not likely to tolerate evil companions.” (Charles Spurgeon on Ps. 101:5).5 God wants you to guard both your eyes and your heart. If you spend your free time with people who reject God’s Word, they may corrupt your walk.

  • Remove evil from your life. It was the willingness of many Jewish kings to tolerate evil that led to the downfall of first Israel and then Judah: “Here we have an inspired pattern for a king and his court. In order to maintain a righteous administration, the king will have to be ruthless in rooting out all evil, for it would not take much to bring down the monarchy. What is true of an Israelite king is also true of anyone who desires to maintain purity and integrity in leading people in the service of God. If God does not tolerate evil, if wicked activities like those mentioned here prevent people from entering God’s presence to worship (Ps. 15), then those who are chosen by God to lead His people must be sure to maintain that level of righteousness.” (Allen Ross on Ps. 101).6

  • Make no provisions for the flesh.  Paul warns believers not to embrace the things of the flesh as you may have done before you came to know Jesus:  “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”  (Eph. 2:3).  “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”  (Gal. 5:16).  “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”  (Ro. 13:14). “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.”  (1 Pet. 2:11).  “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”  (Ro. 12:1).  Are you a living sacrifice for Jesus? 

  • David suffered because he failed to rule according to his vows. Most of the problems with David's reign can be traced back to his willingness to tolerate evil in his own life, within his family, and within his administration. “Those familiar with the account of David’s life in Samuel, particularly 2 Sam 11-19, will be struck with how David did not do there what he says he will do here. He lusted with his eyes after Bathsheba, failed to do justice against Amnon and Absalom, and then failed to root out the treacherous deceptions of Absalom. One Absalom’s rebellion was put down, David wept over the rebel so much he jeopardized the confidence of those loyal to him. The striking contrast between David’s actual behavior and the ideals announced in Ps 101 joins the placement of Ps 101 to indicate that these sentiments are intended as a value statement that will be realized in the heart and administration of the future king of David’s line.” (James Hamilton on Ps. 101) (italics in original).7 Only Jesus could and will fulfill these vows.

  • Allow God to humble you so that He can also exalt you without pride.  David said that he would “not endure one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart.” (Ps. 101:5). Although he failed with sons, David tried to associate with persons of faith (Ps. 101:6). God had to humble David through his failures before He could exalt him. He did this so that David would serve without pride.  He also wants you to allow Him to humble you through your suffering so that He can exalt you either in heaven or on Earth without any pride. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”  (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14).  “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.”  (Lk. 1:52). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”  (Ja. 4:10). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,”  (1 Pet. 5:6).  “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5; KJV).  Are you staying humble so that God can later exalt you without pride?

6. Faith: God Desires Your Faith and for You to Desire to Dwell With Him. Ps. 101:6a.

  • Associate with persons of faith. Because he abhorred evil, David promised to associate with persons of faith: “6a My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me;” (Ps. 101:6a). God also wants you to associate with those who love God’s Word. “I am a companion to all those who fear You, and to those who keep Your precepts.” (Ps. 119:63). Being equally yoked in your faith will help you in your walk.

The Psalms 101: Catholic Guide to Sacred Songs of the Church | LEARN25

Be equally yoked to those who share a love and faith in Jesus8

  • Be equally yoked with persons of faith. Believers are urged to only be yoked together with fellow believers: “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers; for what do righteousness and lawlessness share together, or what does light have in common with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). There are obviously times in business or other matters when you must work with nonbelievers. You should always show the light of God’s loving mercy to such persons. But you should seek a spouse and friends who are believers.

  • Also be faithful to keep your vows because God is faithful to keep His vows to you.  God further wants you to be faithful because He is faithful to you.  “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”’  (Matt. 25:21). If you also stay faithful to Jesus during your trials, He promises you a crown of life:  “Do not fear what you are about to suffer . . . Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  (Rev. 2:10).  “For the eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth, so that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”  (2 Chr. 16:9a).  “In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”  (1 Cor. 4:2). Because God is faithful to you, you should desire to be faithful in your vows.

7. Obedience: God Desires Your Spirit-Led Obedience. Ps. 101:6b-8.

  • Show your love for God through Spirit-led obedience. David proclaimed that the fruit of a person of faith should also include a desire to be obedient to God’s will and His Word: “6b one who walks in a blameless way is one who will serve me. 7 One who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; one who speaks lies shall not maintain his position before me. 8 Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, so as to eliminate from the city of the LORD all those who do injustice.” (Ps. 101:6b-8). Out of love and not obligations, God wants to obey every detail in His Word: “Be very determined, then, to keep and do everything that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, so that you will not turn aside from it to the right or to the left,” (Josh. 23:6).

  • Obey God’s commandments out of love.  David also exhorted his son Solomon to obey God as he tried to:  “observe and seek after all the commandments of the Lord your God so that you may possess the good land and bequeath it to your sons after you forever.” (1 Chr. 28:5-8).  Obedience was a command that Moses also gave frequently (e.g., Dt. 6:3-4; 9:1; 20:3).  Joshua also encouraged the Jews to be strong and courageous when doing God’s work:  “‘Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.’”  (Josh. 1:7). Joshua and Moses knew that the purpose behind the Law might not always appear clear at the time.  They were required to be obedient even if they did not understand. God’s thoughts and His ways are greater than our own  (Is. 55:8).  Today, Christians are not “under the Law” in the sense that they must comply with it to be saved  (Gal. 5:18; Ro. 7:6; 8:3). By “fulfilling” the Law, Jesus freed us from the impossible task of trying to obtain salvation through the Law  (Matt. 5:17).  Jesus is the great “I AM” who gave Moses the Ten Commandments  (Jo. 8:58; Ex. 3:14).  Although not a salvation test, He reveals that, if you love Him, you will keep His Commandments: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6).  His “disciples” were the “disciplined ones” in keeping His Commandments.  As bondservants or freed slaves, they were obedient out of love, not obligation.  Whether you follow the Law out of love instead of obligation is a test for whether you really know God:  “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”  (1 Jo. 2:3).  Even Paul observed that: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.”  (1 Cor. 7:19).  Do you obey God’s Word?

  • God desires obedience more than sacrifice.  God wants your obedience more than your sacrifice.  “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”  (1 Sam. 15:22).  David previously learned that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”  (Ps. 51:17).  Are you obedient in your walk with Jesus?

  • Jesus is not your Lord if you refuse to do what He says.  A believer may proclaim Jesus as Lord.  Yet, Jesus is not your Lord if you disobey Him:  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”  (Matt. 7:21). “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  (Lk. 6:46).  “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”  (Jam. 1:22).  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  (Matt. 7:24).  “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”  (Matt. 7:26).  If you call Jesus your Lord, is there any area of your life where you are refusing to obey Him?

  1. Allen Ross, A Commentary of the Psalms: Volume 3 (90-150), Kregel Academic (2016) p. 204.↩︎

  2. James M. Hamilton Jr., Evangelical Bible Theology Commentary Psalms (Vol. II: Psalms 73-150) (Lexham Academic 2021) p. 210.↩︎