Resolve to Rely
Scripture: Psalm 101
David pens in Psalms 101 the rules he RESOLVES to follow in his journey as a man of God, a family man, and Israel’s king. We know from 1 Samuel 16 – 1 Kings 2 that David’s results weren’t always great — that stout intentional RESOLUTIONS were not sufficient for David, nor for us in our personal lives, our homes, and our vocations God has placed us in.
Good morning, Calvary Family, Apprentices of Jesus. Let’s get out our workbooks this morning and learn from his marvelous word. So finish this well-worn adage for me. If you give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. We are in Summer Psalm series, and we’ve had two weeks of really delicious meals from Pastor Kyle from this amazing book. Actually, it’s quite a honey hole for all of us, but he’s also taught us along the way some fishing tips. So I’d like to start this morning by reviewing a few of those and adding a couple. So if you’re taking notes in your bulletin, here’s that place at the top about some ways to handle this honey hole called the Psalms. First of all, it’s dead center in your Bible. That’s almost prophetic. I think it certainly is a beautiful layout because you can go right to the middle. And I would say it should be indicative of where this Psalms collection is in our personal lives – right at the center. It is 150 poems or prayers, most of them to music written over a thousand years from Moses to the Babylonian captivity. This is God’s top 150. It is poetry; you might not have known that if you’re new to the Bible, you read through the Psalms and it doesn’t sound like poetry. That’s because it’s Hebrew poetry. Hebrew poetry is not meter and rhyme. It’s parallelism where it repeats a line. And to contrast it or to explain it or to reinforce it. It is raw and earthy and real and up and down. Did you catch that in the first two expeditions we’ve had fishing. Hope in my or You put more joy in my heart. That was two weeks ago and sorrow in my heart all the day long talk about highs and lows. And some translations try to make it high English and really fancy. I think they do it a disservice. This is supposed to be love language. It’s real and raw and earthy. And if you don’t believe that when Pastor Kyle gets to the Imprecatory Psalms he mentioned last week, you’ll realize very quickly it’s just kind of letting her rip. It’s about a relationship. It’s relational language, like a love song. So in some ways, I want to warn you that when you go to the Psalms, don’t draw your theology from the Psalms. It’s deeply, theologically based, but don’t draw your theology. Draw it from the first five books of the Old Testament or the letters of the New Testament. In many ways, theology is kind of like the practice of biology. You know, you get a frog in biology and you pin it to a board and you dissect it even under microscope. That’s what you do to get good, strong theology. The Psalms is more like zoology. That frog, how does it live, thrive? What’s its environment? How does it relate to its environment? You see the difference. Essentially, it’s love songs. It’s me and we between two people, God and the writer, or us and him. Between the congregation together in their love expression to God. It’s an incredible book, but it’s essentially an overgeneralizations or a refuge for a weak mind. I think one of those old guys like Aristotle said that. But generally speaking, they’re love songs. So I looked up this week on Google. What’s the number one love song of all time? And it was this one. Remember that in 1981, some of you were my age and up. Did any of you have this in your wedding or at your wedding dance? Right. Lionel and Diana, that’s much like the Psalms poetry. Passionate, raw and real metaphor in there, right? I bet if you put stethoscopes up against their chest when they’re singing that you’d hear two heartbeats, not one. Right. It’s love language. Don’t dissect it. Experience it. Do they look like they mean it?
Resolutions to pledge themselves to endless love. I went to Wikipedia. I wanted to check on Lionel and Diane. And in their individual lives, both their endless loves ended twice. Sometimes even the deepest resolutions. Love resolutions are hard to keep, aren’t they? And that’s precisely where we’re going this morning in the honey hole of the Psalms. Psalm 101. In this text, David wants to explain just how much he’s going to be committed to God and God’s people and the people, his peeps, in his own house. I was at a coffee shop on Tuesday with Josh Spencer, who was going to do a summer Psalm in a few weeks. It is going to be something you’ll remember. I’m just going to tease you with that. You will never forget Josh’s song. And I’m explaining to him a little bit about Psalm 101 to have him sharpen me. And when I express the gist of it, he starts right there in the coffee shop singing a Rick Astley song from 1987. Never going to give up. Never going to let you down, y’all. Yeah. There was 1 billion YouTube views on that. I’m going, How does he even know that he wasn’t even alive in 87, but 1 billion YouTube views. I looked up Rick Astley, too, and I found out that he and his wife Lene are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Well done, Rick. He hasn’t given her up. He hasn’t deserted her. But I bet you lunch today he’s let her down, made her cry and hurt her, all you married people. Can I get an amen? Sometimes our resolutions, even our deepest ones, are really hard to keep.
That’s today’s text learners from this beautiful song of David, Psalm 101. So let’s go there. It’s right in the dead center of your Bible. Page 501. If you want to take a church Bible in front of you, I hope you brought your workbooks. I always like you to bring your Bibles, take some notes. So let’s take a look at it. Psalm 101, and I’m going to stretch my rule a little while ago. But don’t pin this psalm to a board and dissect it. I just wanted to so you can take it home with some handles on it. I wanted to break David’s commitments in this song to God down into Six Rules for the Road, how he’s going to roll through his journey as a man of God, a family man in Israel’s King, you all with me? So let’s just take a look at it and you might be able to come up with better way to describe these rules. But let me see if these will help us. His resolutions.
Number one, I will fix my heart on you. It’s in verse one. Look at it. I will sing of steadfast love and justice to you. Oh, Lord, I will make music. You will be the song of my heart. You will be the priority of my life. You’ll be my audience of one that I sing this song to. David learned that as a little kid, the shaman in his home. By the way, David was the great grandson, great great grandson of Ruth and Boaz. So he learned this. The Lord is one. The Lord you shall love with all your heart, soul and strength. He knew that. And he said, I’m going to make you the object of my devotion, my joy. Psalm 73, not written by David, is one that you should maybe go to. The verses are Let me get this right. Write it down. 25 and 26. Whom have I in heaven but you and nothing on earth that I desire compares to you. My heart and my flesh may fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. There it is. I’ll fix my heart on you. If you were here two years ago during the Nehemiah series, I gave a message about what does God want from all his kids? And I use my hand as an illustration. Do you remember what the thumb was? Those who were here. A passionate daily intimacy with the Lord. That’s to be the center of David’s life. And David says, That will be my song. You’ll be the one I sing to. And the lyrics look at it. I will sing of steadfast love and justice of all the things he could sing about to God and about God, He says, Your steadfast love might be mercy in your translation. There the same word and justice. Mercy and justice. That’s what David picks out. All the things he could say about Almighty God in this relationship they have that he wanted to sing about, about it to the world around him and to God, His lover, your mercy and justice. Can you come up with a better, simple description of our God. When we get to the New Testament, by the way, that’s all over the Old Testament, His justice and his merciful love.
They’re just there like a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Two great tastes that are always good together. As a matter of fact, somebody was struggling one time with the mercy and the justice of God, and they asked Charles Spurgeon, How do you reconcile these two? And he smiled and said, I don’t reconcile friends that great. The New Testament, God becomes a man and is with us in John’s prologue. John, chapter one. You know, the first 15 or 20 verses is the movie trailer to the whole gospel. It gives you what’s coming in the gospel. And it says, and the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of God and full of what Grace and truth, mercy and justice. Boy, if those aren’t kissing cousins, if not outright twins, I don’t know what they are. Jesus, Grace, mercy, love, justice. We sang about that in communion. And the most famous verse in the New Testament. God so loved the world that he gave. For what? To pay the penalty of our sin. To pay the just penalty.
I would think in our own lives as men and women, or if we’re in a family, as family, men and women, or in our workplace, wouldn’t that be wonderful to model that in balance, loving justice like our God? I think David thought if I will esteem this, maybe I will reflect this in my actions. And just as an FYI, we’re always out of balance. Have you noticed how out of balance we can get? If you’ve got an error on either side, the New Testament says Err on the side of mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Aren’t you glad our God would err, if anything, on that side? I spent the most time on that because I think it’s the most important rule. I will sing of steadfast love and justice to you. Oh Lord, I will make music. May that be true of our lives? Apprentices of Jesus. He’s our highest priority and greatest joy.
Rule two I will seek your wisdom. And I put desperately look at the next verse. Verse two. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Give me wisdom to know how to make decisions, to walk in a way that will please you. And I put the desperately there. Because I do believe David was desperate. Aren’t you desperate when you have to make a difficult call? Oh, I find decisions agonizing. Not just what should I do? When should I do it? What should be my attitude? And there’s a reason for that. The Old Testament says this in the Book of Proverbs twice, it says, there is a way that seems right to a man. This has to be the road I should take, but its end is death. Oh, Proverbs three, five and six. Many of you know you probably have it on your wall. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. There’s that first rule. You’ll be my object of joy and focus. And do not lean on your own understanding. The rest of this book tells us you’re made in God’s image. Use your understanding. Don’t be foolish, but don’t lean on it. In all your ways, acknowledge him. That’s the thumb and he’ll guide you. Make your paths clear, David says. I desperately need to know, as a man of God, as a household, a father in a home and a husband, and as the king of Israel, what is the way I should go?
Rule number three: I will live with daily integrity. Look at the end of verse two. I will walk with integrity of heart within my house. It does start at home, right? In the real deal behind those walls. And then he explains. And here again, I don’t want to dissect this too much because it’s parallel. These statements might be explaining each other, but listen to the way he’s going to live with integrity at home. He says, verse three, I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. You may have heard you can look, but you can’t buy. David goes, Not on your life. I will hate the work of those who fall away. It shall not cling to me. I’m not going to celebrate twisted stuff. I’m not going to give it any value. As a matter of fact, I want those things to make me start over time to feel nauseous. A perverse heart shall be far from me. I will know nothing of evil. I’m not only going to let this stuff not stick in my fur, I’m going to keep it at bay. You say, well. Aren’t you being a little puritanical? Well, in the New Testament, the Apostle John, in his little letter to the Christians, he calls them my little children. Verse. John says, There’s three things I want to warn you kids about. You know, kind of don’t touch the stove kind of things. The lust of the flesh. It’s powerful to draw us in the lust of the eyes, that stuff and the pride of life. Heaven to be in charge or first. Kids, they’re just traps. Stay back. Can I give you a little good news? Scripture says someday all that allure will be gone. C.S Lewis. I love the way he says it. He says the allure we have now in our flesh one day will be like the nauseous allure of a haggard harlot. When a man’s beloved whom he thought was dead but is found to be alive and, is even now, standing at his door, won’t that be great? New hearts together with the Savior, where this stuff won’t play off of our brokenness. But for now, David says I’m broken and I’m going to be very careful what goes in here, what I celebrate, and who’s even around me.
Rule number four I will defend those who are being attacked. Look at verse five. Whoever slandered his neighbor secretly, I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure. If I hear backbiting, somebody being torn apart behind their back, or if I see people in people’s faces thinking they are better than others and are ripping people apart, I will intervene. You know, my take here is this and I could be wrong, but this after 62 years, this is my opinion. We’re far too quick to defend ourselves and far too slow to defend others. David says, I will help and step in on the helpless, the harassed, the hurting, the people who are being torn down by words from behind and being frontally attacked in their face by people who think they’re better.
Well, I learned this. I learned this in ninth grade. This is maybe one of the five most formative events in my entire life. We’ll call her Vicki. I was a ninth grader and I was on the main road, our main road in front of the elementary school and the high school, And there was a curvy bus lane that went from the high school past the tennis courts, the baseball field, the football field and the hockey rink. I’m down on the street and I hear about the baseball field honking with two kids, hanging out the passenger side of a car. And there was they were yelling at somebody who was walking along the passenger side on the right side of the road carrying something. By the time they got between the football field and hockey field, I could see and hear what was going on. I could see that that person was, we’ll call her Vicki. And she was carrying an armload of books and she was noticeably limping. I had learned since she was a year behind me, I knew her all the way through school. She lived right up the street where I was standing. The first or second house grew up terribly poor, and I’d been told she limped because of rickets. And I witnessed the worst case of bullying I’ve ever seen in my life. And something inside, it shaped me. David got this. He’d been one of those people that had been bullied and he’d seen people bullied when he could do nothing about it. And he says, In my personal life, when I’m a bully in my home in this kingdom, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to defend the helpless. We get to the New Testament. Sometime Read Matthew 23. Jesus last week of his life. He’s had it with the bullies of Jerusalem, the religious bullies. And he eviscerates those people on the curvy streets of Jerusalem for the Vicki’s.
Rule five. I will make my inner circle faithful. Verses six and seven I will look with favor on the faithful in the land that they may dwell with me. He that walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house. No one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. David says, I can’t afford to have unfaithful people in my circle. You might be thinking, but I thought we were supposed to mix it up with the world and be light and salt. This sounds like a holy huddle. Well, I played football from seventh to 12th grade, and there’s a place for a huddle. A huddle is where you get direction. Encouragement, right? Motivation. Sometimes a slap on the butt, your signals. David says those are going to come from God’s faithful people. Then we’ll break the huddle and go mix it up. That’s a pretty good resolution.
And last [rule 6], I will deal quickly with evil where I lead. Do you notice like cancer, sin hardly ever goes into remission on its own. And sometimes we have to be careful. David says, Well, let’s read it: morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord. Now we have to take the rest of scripture here. Remember, this is a love song. And love songs often have strong language, even exaggeration. Sometimes we don’t do it every day. Scripture says we don’t want to do it if we have a terrible attitude like anger, because the anger of man does not achieve the righteous purposes of God. And it says we need to do it in the right timing. Proverbs says A timely word is like a kiss on the lips. The wrong time just doesn’t work. But we need to have a heart to deal with it in those places that we have authority or influence. There’s an old timer down south I heard was talking to his grandson, who had to deal with a hard problem. And he says, Son, if you got a frog to swaller, don’t look at it too long before you swaller it. And if you’ve got two frogs to swaller, swaller the big one first. David’s attitude is I can’t let sin rot. I’m going to deal with it, as a man of God in my own life, as a family man in my family, or as the King, God under you in this kingdom.
That’s quite a list, isn’t it? Can you improve on that? No wonder he’s a man after God’s own heart. Is he the right man for the job of King? I’d like to be in his kingdom. Unfortunately, we have 1 Samuel:16 through 1 Kings:2 to tell us how he did. Sometimes I will give the man credit. He was epic following these resolutions. Please read that section soon or listen to it. It’s spellbinding. Other times you just shake your head and say, How is it even possible this person could do this wicked thing, could sit on his hands, could blow his resolutions to pieces.
Here are just five. Notice what’s missing up there? What Pastor John taught on just a few weeks ago in the Chat Room series. There’s no David and Bathsheba and Uriah there, right? Everybody knows that one. Here’s a few of the little lesser known ones. They’re tragic. Let me just grab 1 or 2 here today. How about the first one, Home Wrecking. So David married Michael Saul’s daughter early on before Saul used him for target practice. Saul planted her in his life to trip him up. That gives you a little indication of what kind of woman maybe she was. David has to flee because he’s going to be murdered. He bails on the marriage. He’s gone for at least a dozen years. Probably right away, Saul marries her to another man. So now David becomes King. It’s been at least a dozen years. And we find in this text prior to this, he is married this amazing woman. Abigail, Huh? Sound familiar? She’s a honey. Wise. Then it tells us he married Ahinoam the Jezreelite. That’s the second one on the screen. I’m not going there today. It’s shocking. What was he thinking? So he has two wives, you could say. Remember, David, you said you pondered the way that is blameless. You live with integrity of heart in your own heart. How could you have two?
But anyway, he wants to firm up his kingdom. Maybe it seemed right in his eyes. So he says, I want Michal. Go get her. He sends his thugs. And he wrecks the home. Probably kids, too. The text tells us, as she’s being dragged back to David, her husband is going behind, weeping, till the thugs tell him go home before somebody gets hurt. Sometimes the strongest, deepest resolutions, we just blow them up. You can chase down those other passages or see them as you read through that section. I would suggest maybe at least for passages like this, you don’t do it on a full stomach.
So the question is, how is this possible? A man of God, someone who wrote these songs, half of these songs, maybe a little bit more. Someone who would say things like, I lie awake at night thinking of how much you’ve helped me. I follow close beside you feel your strong right arm. Hold me securely. I love you, O Lord. My strength as the deer over there was panting after the water. I pant after. How could he do this? I think I know. And it applies to us too. One more story from my past. I grew up on a gravel road in central Minnesota, up by Saint Cloud. This is the banana belt compared to there, by the way, mid-April. Usually the frost would heave. I lived on a dairy farm and a milk truck would come lumbering down this road when the frost heaved and would leave 10 to 12 inch tire ruts in the road.
Any of you? David’s nodding his head. I’ve been there. The grader would come behind from the county, thankfully, and it would grade this road smooth. I mean, it was the color of those brownies this morning, this cocoa brown, smooth gravel road. It was like a redneck autobahn. All right. You just bookin’ down this thing for a while, but after a few weeks, a month or so, it got packed down. I wanted to show you what that road looked like because it’s very important to our answer about David and us. I couldn’t find it on Google Images, anything that looked like it. So I drew one unveil it, Wendy. I have signed dated copies for sale in the lobby. Oh, I’m drawing this on Wednesday morning. I just got done drawing the pencil thing and I was coloring it in the work room, and Pastor Kyle walks by. Right. This is the road I grew up on after the ruts resurfaced. So if you drove down that road, you could drive successfully all summer. If you just kept one wheel on the right shoulder and one wheel on the center crown, if you stayed focused. But farmers don’t look at the road. They look at the what? The crops. And when you look at the crops, inevitably you would be sucked down to this. And if those ruts had gotten deep enough yet, you might need a new oil pan. Sometimes the deepest resolutions are hard to keep because of our ruts. David had ruts from his DNA, his upbringing, those hard things that happened growing up and when he was an adult around Saul. Then he gets to a position that gives him all kinds more pressures in a culture that gives him pressures. He had ruts.
SO WHAT number 1: You and I have ruts. Do you know you have ruts? Do you know what your ruts are? Those tendencies that your DNA, those hard things, those Vicki moments in your life have caused. Your culture, your place as a household person, parent, husband, worker, and your vocation. Those pressures. Churches, by the way, have ruts, I believe. Our history? Who’s coming? The denominational DNA. Pressures to be a certain kind of church. We all have ruts, and we’ll slip into them if we’re not focused. Ask a trusted family member or co-worker or someone in your small group who will speak the truth and say, Where do you see that I have tendencies to slip from those passionate things I want to do for our God into things that are shameful. They probably see that.
Number 2 SO WHAT: what resolutions are inadequate. I want to say they’re important. All through Scripture, we’re told to fix our mind on certain things, to transform our hearts, to make certain things, priorities. Ephesians says Walk wisely, full of the spirit, making the most of your days. Our culture otherwise will give us those values. Churches need values, or they’ll wander or be sucked into things that God has not called us to. We have five. We have we have a David Psalm 101 for this church. I will love the lost or we will love the lost and make and preach the gospel. We will make disciples. We will gather together, We will build leaders. We will strengthen the family. But resolutions aren’t enough. You say maybe that’s Old Testament. Are you sure? I say, yeah. John 6. Jesus says I am the vine. Excuse me, John 6, he’s talking about I am the bread of Life. He says you’ve got to rely on me like your daily bread. And then he says this in verse 63: Human effort accomplishes nothing. It’s my spirit that gives life. Resolutions aren’t enough. Then in John 15, which I just mentioned, Jesus comparing himself to a vine and us to the branch, says If you don’t abide in me, apart from me, you can do, resolutions aren’t enough. And that tips us off to number. Well, before we go there, let me just ask a question. For those that maybe still don’t buy this, who does that remind you of? David’s strong resolutions with epic failure in the New Testament. Peter! That’s what the first group said as well. The night before Jesus death along the way, the three years prior, he said similar things. The night before Jesus death, Peter, Peter goes, Rick Astley on us. I’ll never give you up, Lord.
I’ll never let you down. I’ll never let you die. I’ll never say goodbye. And Jesus said, Pete, you won’t even make it till morning. Which is the most important takeaway. While all this is important, Rut’s resolve is not enough. We. We need to resolve to rely. Did you notice I missed a phrase this morning in my sermon? I didn’t read. What was that phrase? It’s in verse two. All these promises. And suddenly David starts asking a question. In desperation, he injects a question, What is it? Oh, when will you come to me? David knew then I cannot do these things without the invasion and presence of Almighty God. And that’s what you and I need to Jesus in that vine passage. He says, Abide in me. Let my word abide in you. Abide in my love. That’s the difference.
Relying on our God as we press forward on the road ahead with those values that have gripped our hearts as individuals and as a church. Jesus said, If you’ll do that and you know it. Abide is right. It’s the vine branch. Ponder that. Drawing your sustenance from staying always connected to Jesus calls us to that. Oh, when will you come to me? David says he’s come and he wants us to abide. And when we do, Jesus in John, 15, says, When you abide in me and I in you, you will prove to be my apprentices, my disciples, and you will bear much fruit. And God’s people said, Amen.