Summary: When we think about ourselves and our mistakes, we often think that God either doesn't love us, or that we disappoint Him regularly. The problem is our compass is broken.
Two of the three psalms we’re going to go through this morning were written by David. Psalm 101 sets forth the principals wherewith David will run his administration and the city of Jerusalem. Psalm 102 is a cry from someone captured and taken to Babylon, asking the Lord to restore what has been destroyed by their unfaithfulness to Yahweh.. And Psalm 103, again written by David, is a wonderful declaration of God’s love and forgiveness to us who are weak.
Being in charge isn’t easy. It’s especially hard to be the boss and still reflect the character of God. We’ve all worked for bad bosses. I’ve worked for bad bosses who were Christians. So how do you do it? The pressures are enormous. Even if you don’t employ or supervise people, you still have influence or authority over others. We can learn with how David determined to lead as the king of Israel.
1 – 4
David first outlines what are the two main elements of his leadership: faithful love and justice. It is sometimes hard both to do what is loving and what is right and fair. But this is the character of God. David says he has determined to lead with “integrity” which means “soundness or completeness.” It means you are the same on the inside in what motivates you and the thoughts you think, to the words and actions that take place on the outside. It’s a tall order but ought to be the goal of every one of us.
In verse three David is saying that he won’t engage in activities that draw him away from the character of God (“worthless” = Belial, evil, without profit). Furthermore he “hates” (“enemy”) purposeful transgression against the character of God. He won’t let it stand nor affect him. He will be Teflon when it comes to things that not like God: loving and just.
David also will have nothing to do with those that say one thing but mean another. He simply will not be involved with evil.
Jesus said: Matt. 10:16 “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.” Innocent there means “unmixed.” We are “in” the world but we are not “of” the world. You can lead in the world without using the world’s methods.
So he goes on to say “if you are going to be unlike the Lord, get ready to look for a new job.”
5 – 8
Slander is talking someone else down. Arrogance is talking yourself up. Neither one has a place in the kingdom of God.
Instead, David wants to include those that are faithful to God in his administration. But those who act “deceitfully” (verse 7 “treachery”) or is ruled by lies, can work in David’s kingdom.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read this verse, but in the eyes of the Lord, lying is just as bad as any other sin:
Rev. 21:8 “But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Paul tells us to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15).
Finally David promises to dismiss from his administration, and even from Jerusalem, anyone who has set themselves against the character of God.
How do we put this into practical life? We can’t do a litmus test of everyone who works for us and all those who aren’t born-again get shown the door. No. That simply won’t work.
I think, though, that we can learn from David here.
Let God’s character form the backbone of your standards.
By that I don’t mean everyone carries a Bible and sings worship songs all day. But it is quite possible (and I have tried to put this into practice) to model and even enshrine the characteristics of the Lord into the work we do in the world. Because in the end, no one can argue against the character of God.
Start with Faithful love and justice
Faithful love means you are willing to lay down your lives to serve others; that you stick with them, care for them, love them, even through their mistakes. Justice means you do what’s fair for everyone, even if it’s tough love. If someone needs to be fired, you fire them. If they need to change some behavior then you have a hard talk with them. If they are hurting others, you stop it.
But in all this, we pray, as David does, that we will be motivated, think, speak, and act like God would if He were our boss. Because He is!
Psalm 102 was written by someone in Babylon who desperately wants to see Israel restored. In a way, it could be the prayer of someone who has made some really bad decisions and desires the Lord to restore them.