By Shawn McMullen
Albert Barnes suggested the psalm was written “when [David] was entering on domestic life, as the psalm consists of ‘rules’ which he appears to have laid down for himself as the head of a family.”
Charles Spurgeon referred to it as the “House-holder’s Psalm” and remarked that if every husband and father followed its principles in leading his family, “there would be a far greater amount, not merely of domestic happiness and comfort, but of fulfillment of the serious and responsible duties which devolve on the respective members of a household.”
Others have suggested that David wrote this psalm early in his reign, as the pledge of a new king to God and the nation.
Whether written to reflect David’s commitment to his home, his nation, or both, Psalm 101 provides helpful guidance to fathers who want to lead their families to know and love God.
I will sing of your love and justice, Lord. I will praise you with songs* (v. 1). David recognized God’s goodness and praised him for it. What better way for a husband and father to lead his family than through his personal example of worship?
I will be careful to live a blameless life. . . . I will lead a life of integrity in my own home (v. 2). Although he failed at times, David wanted to live blamelessly before those he led—from the throne room to the living room. Godly men make personal integrity a priority—not only at work and at church, but at home as well. Few things enhance the spiritual health of a family like the consistent, blameless example of a Christian husband and father.
I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar (v. 3). In a culture corrupted by pornography, racy reality TV, suggestive sitcoms, violent games and movies, and crude humor, the husband and father who resolutely avoids all such ungodly influences stands head and shoulders above his peers.
I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil (v. 4). Godly husbands and fathers don’t attempt to see how near they can come to sinful influences without caving in. They stay as far away as possible.
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride (v. 5). Godly husbands and fathers don’t gossip. They don’t criticize people who aren’t present to defend themselves. They set an example of humble service at home, putting the needs of every member of their household above their own.
I will search for faithful people to be my companions (v. 6). Wise men know that “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33), so they choose friends who help rather than hinder their spiritual growth.
I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence (v. 7). Godly husbands and fathers tell the truth. Always.
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip (v. 8). David had more clout to clean up his city than most of us. Still, Christian men who live blamelessly with their families, serve their churches well, and show integrity at work make a profound impact on the world around them.
They are the husbands and fathers who make a difference.
* Psalm 101 is quoted from the New Living Translation.
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