1 I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing.
2 I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;
3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
4 Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
5 One who secretly slanders a neighbor I will destroy. A haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not tolerate.
6 I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, so that they may live with me; whoever walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.
7 No one who practices deceit shall remain in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue in my presence.
8 Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord.
Whew! Psalm 101’s list is pretty demanding. Study the way that is blameless. Walk with integrity of heart. Not set my eyes before anything that is base. Know nothing of evil. Not tolerate an arrogant heart. Not allow anyone in my house who practices deceit or utters lies. Destroy all the wicked in the land.
While the list feels daunting, it gives us some pretty fundamental precepts: loyalty, justice, integrity, honesty, humility. All this “within my house” and “morning by morning.” It suggests that there are very concrete daily decisions to be made about how we live. What does this Psalm look like in your day to day?
In thinking about all this, I found it helpful to read the translation in The Message Bible:
My theme song is God’s love and justice,
and I’m singing it right to you, God.
I’m finding my way down the road of right living,
but how long before you show up?
I’m doing the very best I can,
and I’m doing it at home, where it counts.
I refuse to take a second look
at corrupting people and degrading things.
I reject made-in-Canaan gods,
stay clear of contamination.
The crooked in heart keep their distance;
I refuse to shake hands with those who plan evil.
I put a gag on the gossip
who bad-mouths his neighbor;
I can’t stand
But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people—
they’re the ones I want working with me;
Men and women on the straight and narrow—
these are the ones I want at my side.
But no one who traffics in lies
gets a job with me; I have no patience with liars.
I’ve rounded up all the wicked like cattle
and herded them right out of the country.
I purged God’s city
of all who make a business of evil.