Psalm 101

(Originally By Ben May and reworked by David Riggs)

   A. Introduction: Story: "A Flag of Rags"
      1. In the final years of our imprisonment, the North Vietnamese
         moved us from small cells with one or two prisoners to large
         rooms with as many as 30-40 men to a room. We preferred
         this situation for the companionship and strength we could
         draw from our fellow prisoners. In addition to moving us to
         new quarters, our captors also let us receive packages and
         letters from home. Many men received word from their
         families for the first time in several years. The improved
         conditions was a result of public pressure put on the North
         Vietnamese by the American public.
      2. In our cell was one Navy officer, Lt. Commander Mike
         Christian. Over a period of time Mike had gathered bits and
         pieces of red and white cloth from various packages. Using a
         piece of bamboo he had fashioned into a needle, Mike sewed
         a United States flag on the inside of his shirt, one of the 
         blue pajama tops we all wore.
      3. Every night in our cell, Mike would put his shirt on the    
         wall, and we would say the pledge of allegiance. I know that
         the pledge of allegiance may not be the most important      
         aspect of our day now, but I can tell you that at the time  
         it was the most important aspect of our lives.
      4. This had been going on for some time until one of the guards
         came in as we were reciting our pledge. They ripped the flag
         off the wall and dragged Mike out. He was beaten for several
         hours and then thrown back into the cell.
      5. Later that night, as we were settling down to sleep on the
         concrete slabs that were our beds, I looked over to the spot
         where the guards had thrown Mike. There, under the solitary
         light bulb hanging from the ceiling, I saw Mike. Still      
         bloody and his face swollen beyond recognition, Mike was    
         gathering bits and pieces of cloth together. He was sewing a
         new American flag. (From The files of Leadership, by John
   B. We admire the commitment and dedication that Lt. Mike
      Christian had to our country.
      1. There is a commitment and dedication, though, that is far
         more important.
         a. It is our commitment and dedication to our God.
      2. The brief Psalm (Psalm 101) lists some practical things of
         dedication and commitment which, hopefully, will be useful
         for all of us.

I. The Psalm begins: "I will sing of mercy and justice; to You, O
   Lord, I will sing praises." Verse 1
   A. The small title at the beginning of this Psalm shows that this 
      is "A Psalm of David."
      1. These titles, which are at the beginning of some of the
         Psalms, are as old as the manuscripts themselves; thus, we
         take them to be accurate.
   B. We don't know  he wrote this Psalm, but the context seems to
      point to the time when he was king.
   C. As David often did, he begins this Psalm with praise to God.
      1. Our God is worthy of our praise, and He is worthy of our
         dedication and commitment.

II. David's commitment to the Lord was strong. Verses 2
   A. Some want to do only enough to get by.
      1. Often, there is no true dedication and commitment on their
      2. Consider this quote: "Fewer than 10 percent of Americans
         are deeply committed Christians, says pollster George
         Gallup, who adds that these people 'are far, far happier    
         than the rest of the population.' Committed Christians,     
         Gallup found, are more tolerant than the average American,  
         more involved in charitable activities, and are 'absolutely
         committed to prayer.' While many more Americans than this
         10 percent profess to be Christians, adds Gallup, most
         actually know little or nothing of Christian beliefs, and   
         act no differently than non-Christians." (From Signs of the 
         Times, Nov. 1991, p. 6)
   B. David determined to keep his heart pure. Verse 2b
      1. His way of accomplishing this: "I will set nothing wicked
         before my eyes." Verse 3
         a. We need to guard our eyes regarding what they see.
            Psalm 119:37; Isa. 33:15
         b. Solomon warned of looking at wine when it sparkles in
            the cup. Prov 23:31-32
      2. We know that David, who was truly a godly man, failed in
         guarding his eyes when he looked upon Bathsheba. 2 Sam
         a. Thus, the danger is very real.
         b. Jesus warned of the danger. Matt 5:28
            (1) We sin when we allow lust to conceive. James 1:15
         c. We need to be like Job and make a covenant with our
            eyes. Job 31:1
            (1) We need to be on guard regarding TV, movies, the
                internet, magazines, the beach, swimming, summer
                clothes, and such like.

III. "A perverse heart shall depart from me..." Verse 4-5
   A. David was committed to staying away from evil doers. Ps
      1. "Evil companionships corrupts good morals." 1 Cor. 15:33
      2. "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers." 2 Cor. 6:14
      3. Let us not associate with evil people. Prov. 22:24-25
   B. David, as king, had the power to literally banish evildoers    
      from his presence.
      1. Our commitment to God needs to be strong enough to
         oppose evil people. Eph. 5:11; Prov. 17:15; 1 Tim. 5:20
      2. Reproving can bring about good. Prov. 25:12
      3. Reproving can at times have bad consequences. Luke 3:19-
      4. Blessed are those who have the courage to not only turn
         from evil, but to condemn it wherever it is found.
      5. This is from Charles Stanley: "A woman in our church was
         married for only a short time when she found out her
         husband was a homosexual. Soon after, he left her. As I
         talked with her, she said something I shall never forget.
         "After I was divorced, several of my friends came to me and
         said they knew he was gay. When I asked them why they
         didn't say anything to me, they said, 'We didn't think it   
         was any of our business.'" Her friends were dead wrong. They
         violated a scriptural principle. After hearing her story, I 
         made up my mind never to stand by quietly and watch a friend
         make what I was sure in my heart was a mistake. This
         resolution has made me very unpopular at times. People have
         left my church over things I have confronted them about."

IV. "My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land..." Verse 6
   A. We need to keep company with "those of like precious faith,"
      with those who will build us up, and not tear us down. Psalm
      1. When we walk with the wise, we will be wise. Prov. 13:20
      2. We need to note those who walk according to truth, and
         follow them. Phil. 3:15-16

V. "He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house" Verse 7-8
   A. As Parents, we must do our very best to raise godly children.  
      Eph 6:4
      1. We cannot allow bad influences to remain in our homes.
   B. How deep is our commitment?
      1. Do we have hard, fast rules which are enforced in our
      2. God demanded obedience to parents under the Old Law.
         Deut. 21:18-21
      3. We, as parents, need to demand obedience in our homes.
   C. David said, "He who tells lies shall not continue in my        
      1. Again, David, as king, would not tolerate evil people being
         around him.
      2. He worked at destroying evil doers. Verse 8

   A. Applications from Psalm 101:
      1. Let us keep our hearts pure before the Lord.
      2. Let us guard what we see.
      3. Let us, whenever possible, avoid perverse people.
      4. Let us reprove evil doers.
      5. Let us keep company with the faithful.
      6. Let us not allow deceit and lies within our own homes.