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The Pink Psalm

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Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 13:03:38 ‑0400

To: "Recipients of The Reformer's Fire" <trf‑>

From: Christ Covenant Reformed PCA <>



X‑Mailing‑List: <trf‑> archive/latest/106


Psalm 101: 1‑8

The Reformer's Fire ‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑  Max A Forsythe

Our psalm today is a royal proclamation concerning whom the King of Israel,

even David, would have serve Him in his royal household.  There are three

times in David's life when this psalm could have been most appropriate.

First, it could have been composed immediately after the death of Saul when

David succeeded to the government of a part of the kingdom.  The second,

could have been when the whole kingdom was again united under the dominion

of David.  The third possibility is the removal of the Ark of the Covenant

to Jerusalem.

This psalm has been given various titles according to the application of

the message contained.  At the family level, it has been called the

Householder's Psalm.  The notion here concerns the regulation of the family

and servants who are to be trained in righteousness by the example of the

Father.  At the national level, this psalm has been called "The Mirror for

Magistrates" as a means of determining who will be allowed to serve the

nation's King.  In this sense, Ernest the Pious who was once Duke of

Saxe‑Gotha, invented what we would call a pink slip which might appear in

the pay check of a person let go from their position.  It is recorded that

on several occasions the Duke would send a hand written copy of this psalm

to unfaithful employees.  It even became a proverb in that area of Germany

that when an official would do something wrong he must soon receive the

prince's Psalm to read diligently!  At the heavenly level, this psalm may

celebrate the present rule of the Lord and King Jesus Christ in our very

own hearts while we prepare ourselves for eventual entry into His eternal


The psalm falls into two main parts.  In the first part, King David lays

down the rule of his own conduct, and in the second part declares war

against faithless followers.  His ambition is to have God's own city worthy

of its true King, prepared for His eventual rule whenever He decides to

come and dwell in it.  In verse one the singer declares his purpose for his

whole life.  He begins by promising to praise God for both His love and His

justice.  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once reflected upon the terrible misery

inflicted upon him by the communists for thirty years.   Later in life, he

was able to dismiss that misery and suffering as necessary to discipline

him in righteousness and necessary to bring him to the saving knowledge of

Jesus Christ.  And so, as we grow into the faith we may too learn in time

to give God the glory for all the pressures and sickness and turmoil that

persuaded us to fall at His feet and seek forgiveness for the sins

deserving of just punishment.

Like a parent's love in discipline so David praises God for both love and

justice.  In the following verses, two and three, David resolves to lead a

life worthy of being used to praise his heavenly Father.    Now we know

from the biblical record that David did not always lead an exemplary

blameless life!  Whenever this psalm was composed we see the nature of

David's heart.  We see his goal, his aim to please the Lord of Lords and

the King of Kings.  How many of us have even made this much resolve?  How

many of us are even committed to improving one little part of our earthly

life?  If we, unlike King David, a man after God's own heart, are not even

willing to resolve to do well, what hope is there for improvement?  Heads

of Households, Employers, Ministers and Leaders alike should pray for a

blameless life, and endeavor to improve their work and witness daily.

Now in verse two there appears to be an interruption.  David asks, "When

will you come to me?"  By this he desires not only divine guidance and

instruction, but also the divine presence to assist him in achieving a

blameless life.   David, unlike many today realizes the impossibility of

improving the species of man without God's help and without God's presence!

 Like God's people in all ages he awaits the Father's presence.  Only then

can he and we continue with the following resolves.  David will walk in his

house with blameless heart.  Here we see that piety begins at home.  We

must practice perfection at home if we are to maintain it away from home.

There are many people who appear to be most saintly out in the world, but

let them return home and the family might possibly prefer the presence of

the devil himself.  If this be the case for any of you that is indeed


We should be aware that how we act in the quiet and comfort of our own home

tells us more about the real person that we are!  Is there a need for you

to pray David's prayer here and to make the same resolve?  We continue with

verse three.  Here David vows to turn his eyes away from what is shameful.

He will not even look upon any vile thing.  Several years ago a government

commission published a book describing and showing in graphic detail the

dangers of pornography.  Now government publications rarely have a chance

of making the best seller list. But, this particular book sold out its

first printing almost overnight!    You can imagine that David would not

have allowed any Jerusalem press to print such a report.   Sadly, very many

people wanted a good excuse to see what shouldn't pollute their minds and

eyes.  David knew in his heart that visual fascination could soon lead to

mental addiction.  Thus, he would not set his eyes on any vile thing.

In the middle of this third verse we move on to the second portion of this

psalm where David declares what behavior he will not tolerate in his royal

court.  This list is interrupted briefly in verse four by a description of

those whom he will favor in his kingdom.  We will save that verse for the

end.  Briefly we will consider the way of the wicked who have no promise of

increase in David's royal city. 

First, David will not tolerate unfaithfulness.  Men who cannot be trusted

with a little will not be trusted with much either.  I once heard a story

of a grocery owner who tested prospective employees by leaving a few coins

on the floor that he would ask them to sweep up.  He reasoned that if they

were honest enough to return a handful of change, than he could trust them

with the treasure of the whole store. 

Second, David refused to allow perverted retainers in his house.  Third,

David will not tolerate tattlers like those who made up stories to tell to

King Saul about himself.  He knew well the destructiveness of such

mischief.  In fact he almost forfeited his life several times.  These

people will have no voice in his kingdom.  Fourth, David will bar from his

kingdom any whose pride has lifted them to blue‑blooded heights.  Fifth, in

verse seven David will cast out any who practice deceit and speak falsely.

He will have a sense of honor in his royal house.    Very many colleges and

institutions once imitated David here.  These organizations regularly

imposed an honor code.  A simple one might go like this:  "I will not lie,

cheat or steal, nor tolerate those who do".  One college in Virginia was

compelled to abandon such a code, because it discriminated against any who

could not live up to its standards!  So much for the profitability of honor

in our time! 

Finally, we must focus upon those whom David will honor and seek to

minister to him.  His eyes, just as our Lord's eyes will be on the faithful

in the land.  David looks for those whose faithfulness to God guarantees

their fidelity to men and general reliableness.  His servants should be

like himself, followers of "the way of perfectness".  In David's court,

dignity and office would go, not to talent, or to crafty arts, or to birth,

but to moral and religious qualities.  Years ago I had time to read the

complete session records of one church.  The records went back forty years

or more.  The records provided an interesting history of a church, there

were cases of discipline, causes of division and argument.  In one chapter

so to speak there appeared one faithful elder whose faithfulness and

Christian charity shined like silver through the awe struck words of the

Clerk of Session.  After five years, there appeared a page of memorial to

this particular man the likes of I have never seen in any other Session

Minutes.  This dear Saint had departed this life and gone home and the

Session of the Church missed him terribly.  These are the kind of men that

David sought to serve him.  These are the types of Christian that Jesus

seeks to serve him today. 

In that particular church there was another person that I knew of, a

saintly little lady who had sat at the feet of this one elder at the turn

of this century.  She faithfully served her congregation for seventy‑five

years!  She was not rich, she did not take a prominent position, but when

she died we wondered, who would pray for that congregation and that

community with the fervor and intensity that glorified God for those many,

many years!  Great in the memory of God's people were these two saints.

Great in God's Kingdom will they be honored at our King's return.  It is

servants like these that David desires.  So is the desire of Jesus Christ.

We come to the last verse of our psalm this morning.  Here David resolves

to weed his kingdom every morning by putting to silence the wicked of the

land.  If you have or have had a garden you well know the need to weed

regularly.  If you don't, very soon your garden will be polluted with weeds

and there will be very little increase in the amount of usable food.  In

the same way God tests his people to see if they be faithful or unfaithful.

 His eyes will be on the faithful, but the evildoer will be cut off!  As

Jesus looks over His Kingdom today, what will he find in your heart of

hearts.  What will he find in your mind's eye.  Are you faithful in your

daily duties, in your business relationships, in your obligations to the

Kingdom of Christ?  Then He will someday say, "Well done, my good and

faithful servant".  If not, you have the warning in this psalm of what you

should not be doing.  If you think that is the case, then like David you

need to be praying "When will you come to me" O God?  We must realize that

we cannot go to Him.  David anticipated the Gospel and He waited for God to

come to Him.  Here in this psalm he resolved to lead a blameless life.

Yet, we know that he failed in all respects.  Still, God came to him and

called him to be near to His Heart.  If He has not yet done so, may the

Lord our God call you through the power of His Holy Spirit.


Resources Used:

     MacLaren, Alexander. The Psalms.

     Spurgeon, C.H.       The Treasury of David.


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