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(A verse-by-verse commentary)




 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15




I strongly feel led this morning to study with you Psalm 101.  It has only 8 verses.

I believe the Psalm gives us David's "guidelines" for life!

He tells us some things he is going to do ... and some things he is NOT going to do!

Every Christian needs some standards by which to live!

Let me share with you here the Psalm in its entirety.   

1 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. 2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. 4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. 5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. 6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. 7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. 8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

This is a Psalm of "practice!"  (And if you will notice it follows a Psalm of "praise!") Just as in Paul's writings behavior always follows belief ... so with David practice always follows praise!

Note also that this is a Psalm of David.  What great resolutions the chapter gives for a King in office (Or a President or a Prime Minister)!  I think these would "work" for a Pastor in a church!  Or a "clerk" on a job!  Or a "teacher" in a classroom!  Or "any" Christian anywhere!

David's heart here is throbbing with truth he learned from Deuteronomy 17:14-20. There the Lord gives Moses certain behaviors (to do and NOT to do) for Israel's King! This 101st Psalm in a way is an exposition of the Mosaic passage!

By the way, the PERFECT King has not yet come in all His glory!  That's King Jesus! But He is coming!  And when HE gets here, He will fulfill this Psalm in a way it's never been fulfilled before!  He is the Complete King.  (Obviously David had high goals ... but he failed in many of these areas.)

We don't know for sure what period of David's life gives us this Psalm ... but we do know for sure that any period of life would be a good time to live it!

One old writer nicknamed this "The Householder's Psalm" because it says in verse three: "I will walk within my house with a perfect heart!"  (How to behave at home!)

Wouldn't it have been great if the "White House" had at all times gone by guidelines of this Psalm?

In times past one (English) official sent an unfaithful preacher a copy of this Psalm! (A rather "strong" hint!)  I believe all we preachers need a copy of it hanging on our wall somewhere.

Another British preacher of bygone days used to require all his household servants to memorize this Psalm.  He then promptly rewarded them for doing so!  He then taught and expounded the passage to them in family meetings!

Well, that's enough about the Psalm.  Let's get "into" the Psalm.   We of course must start with verse one.

And, Lord willing, that we shall do ... tomorrow morning!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



VERSE 1 ...

Psalm 101 opens with these words:

"I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing."

We surely here have a "happy" Psalmist.  David is singing.  We are all literally commanded to sing! Psalm 100:2 (in the imperative mood) says we are to "come before His Presence with singing!"

The Hebrew verb "sing" is interesting.  It ("shiyr") means (in its "stem") "to turn" and implies one who turns and travels about in his daily life.  Therefore it pictures one who sings as he goes and comes!  One lexicon actually says a "strolling singer."  Don't you see the picture?  David sings wherever he goes!  On the throne, inspecting new buildings, in the palace, even on the battlefield ... HE IS DETERMINED TO SING! 

I'm sure you know this, but let me mention it for the younger believers.  The first time "singing" is mentioned in Scripture is in Exodus 15:1 --- "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea."  (There is no singing in the Bible until the blood of the little innocent lamb had been shed and deliverance accomplished!  They SANG because the were REDEEMED!)  That's exactly why we should sing also!

Also note that David (in our Psalm) is going to sing both of mercy and judgment.  He will sing during the blessings and the whippings of the Lord!  He will sing for the positive and the negative!  He will sing when he thinks of the salvation of the righteous and of the damnation of the wicked!  (That's what the verse says!)  Go back and look at Exodus 15:1 printed above.  It is a song celebrating God's judgment upon Pharaoh as well as celebrating God's salvation for Israel.

Mercy ("chesed") is one of the truly great words of the Old Testament.  Briefly it means "covenant love."  Love which has entered into binding agreement with another!  (It's like the vows of love exchanged between a new groom and his bride.) God loves us so much that He has covenanted to save us and take us to heaven ... and He will not break that vow of love!  We are His wife!  (The Church IS the Bride of Christ Paul said!  Israel was the wife of Jehovah in the Old Testament too!)  Chesed love also implies love from the GREATER to the LESSER person.  The GREAT God loving a worm like me!  (Wow!)  Sure makes me want to sing!

"Judgment" is a word ("mishpat") that means "a verdict."  It represents the right findings of a wise leader.  I want to tell you that when God judges, He makes no mistakes!  (Genesis 18:25 asks --- "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?")  One thing the book of Revelation (16:7 and 19:2) emphasizes is that the judgments of God are "true and righteous!"  So does Psalm 19:9 --- "The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether."  Then ... sing about them too!

The second time "sing" is used in our verse, it's a different word (Hebrew = "zamar") completely!  This verb in its root form means "to trim a (grape) vine."  It's what the nimble fingers of a young grapedresser does as he carefully tends his fruit.  Then ... the word comes to mean "to make music." It's something a musician does when he or she plays with the fingers on a harp or other musical instrument!  David has accompaniment as he sings! 

Also I just noticed that the 2 verbs (sing at the first of the verse and sing at the end of the verse) intensify grammatically!  The first "sing" is a Qal stem verb (simple active) while the second "sing" is a Piel stem (intensive active)!  The more David ponders God's mercy and judgment ... the more vigorously he sings!

What does he sing, Preacher?

The REST of the Psalm (7 more verses)!  We shall (Lord willing) study more tomorrow!

Excuse me ... I'm going to go SING for a while!

I think I'll sing the old song, "I'm Redeemed!"

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




I am today interested in Psalm 101:2.  There David says:

"I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart."

What a noble goal this is!

Let's examine the verse and behold some of its beauty!

"I will behave myself wisely" translates just one Hebrew verb!  It is "sakal" and means to be circumspect or prudent!  When one is "circumspectful" he is looking all around (alert) as he goes about his daily duties!  The word is from Latin:  circum = around (as in circumference) ... plus specto  = to look (as in spectacles)!  You will remember that Paul uses this term in Ephesians 5:15 --- "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise."

The word "perfect," which occurs twice in our verse, is from a Hebrew word meaning "complete, whole, or entire!  David is committed to not have a divided heart in his love for the Lord!  "With my whole heart" as a "string" of precious words ... is found in the Scripture ten times!  (Seven of those ten times are from the 119th Psalm!) Preachers, therein is a sermon!

Then David prays a quick little "prayer" toward the Lord!  "When wilt Thou come unto me?"

He either is so in love with the Lord that he longs for heavenly fellowship ... or he senses a need for divine help in living a godly life ... or he has a specific situation that requires God's attention!  (Anyway, it's a great prayer!  AND a New Testament prayer matches it, too!  Revelation 22:20 --- "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.")

The verb "walk" means to travel and refers to a constant lifestyle rather than just a few steps.  David wants to order his whole life (and as a King, his whole administration) in the ways of God!

Again, Paul says a lot about the Christian "walk" in the New Testament!

"House" ("baiyth") is  basically the little Hebrew word "beth."  As in Bethlehem (house of bread) or Beth-el (house of God)!  With King David it means his palace.  With a shepherd it means his tent.  With a preacher it means the pastorium.  It says we should live for God at the house (wherever that may be) as well as at the church!

What resolve.  What determination!

Let's each of us today set our course as did David.

It's much like Paul's "this one thing I do!"  (Philippians 3:13)

I hope you have found a "nugget" today! 

I sure did!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Look what godly King David says in Psalm 101:3!

"I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me."

The 101st Psalm reveals to us the standards by which David lived.

Our verse today is set in a negative tone. There are just some things a growing Christian can NOT do!

"Will set" is a Hebrew verb that means "to place or to put." Itís in the Qal stem and is an "imperfect" in its sense of timing. This indicates active voice --- David will perform the resolution. He will see to it that no wicked thing is put before him! And the "time" sense is one of ongoing action. He will habitually not set evil before his eyes!

"Wicked" is an unusual word. It is spelled "beliyal" and means a thing of belial. It means "worthless" or "good for nothing" or even "without profit!" The Old Testament terms "sons of belial" (4 times in KJV) and "children of belial" (4 times also) speak of worthless, wicked men and women! (Question: Can some things be perhaps not wicked ... but just worthless? Either way, David wants no part of them!)

"Thing" is the Hebrew noun "dabar." It usually means "word" (807 of 1439 times)! But it can mean matter, thing, or an action.  (David will not even put a wicked "word" in front of himself!)

The word for "eyes" often means sight as well. David now wishes to protect his "eye" gate! (I wonder if this is before or after Bathsheba.)  Old Alexander MacLaren used to preach that after David's terrible sin ... he NEVER again soared as high spiritually as he did before that wickedness!  I am telling you, adultery costs!  Proverbs 6:32 and 33 say:  "But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.  A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away."

To "hate" is from the word for "enemy" and means just what it says --- to hold in aversion. It is a "perfect" verb meaning the action is completed. He has in the past decided to hate the works of the wicked and nothing can change his mind!

To "turn aside" is to make "derelict." (To swerve! To make to fall away!)  If youíre going to "turn" someone ... turn them toward the Lord! (Not away from Him!) Daniel 12:3 says: "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."

"Cleave" ("dabaq") means "to stick, stay close, cleave, join to or stay close!" Talk about Bible separation! The verb form here suggests continual action also. In Jeremiah 13:11 itís used of a girdle cleaving to a man!

It sounds to me like David has some pretty high principles! (I believe Psalm 101:3 is every bit as "good" as Paulís advice: "Abstain from all appearance of evil!" 1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Maybe we all can find a "nugget" or two here for our personal lives.

Most of us have some form of evil (or at least worthlessness) in front of our eyes on occasion!

And if not that, we all fail to hate evil as we should!

And if those donít "get" you ... we certainly let things "stick" to us that ought to be rejected!

Goodness! Let me quit typing before I get to preaching!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Psalm 101:4 says ...

"A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person."

Here we have even more of godly David's "convictions."  At this time in his life he certainly was a "separated" believer!

The adjective "froward" is interesting.  It comes from a Hebrew root word that means to tie in a knot or to twist or to distort.  One lexicon says:  crooked!  twisted! The first use of our word in Scripture is in Deuteronomy 32:5 --- "They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation."  Would you please notice something about that verse.  These twisted, crooked, "bent-from-God's-standard" people were not born that way!  They have "corrupted themselves!"  (Wow!)

"Shall depart" is a verb that means "to turn aside."  (To pluck away, to be diverted!) No perverted person will be associated with David!  The Apostle Paul said not even to eat with them!  1 Corinthians 5:11 --- "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."

And the verb "know" means to know by experience!  It can mean to know closely! We had better be careful what (or whom) we know!  Again, Paul said:  "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Preacher, why all this "separation?"  This time listen to Solomon:  "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul."  (Proverbs 22:24-25)

To spoil (by breaking to pieces)!  To make good for nothing!  These are textbook definitions for the basic word "wicked" in our verse.  It's an "x-ray" study of sin.  Sin spoils!  Sin crushes to pieces!  It devalues whatever it touches!


If one lives a pure life ... based upon this verse alone (not counting the other seven verses in this Psalm) ... that person would be well on his or her way to being really used of God!

May this be our prayer!

That's today's "nugget."

The other evening at a fast food restaurant I ordered a 99 cent pack of chicken "nuggets!"  The clerk called for a "five pack of nuggets!"  I think that's what I get on this page sometimes.  Not just a "nugget" (and certainly not of chicken) ... but a "five pact" of "nuggets!"  Praise the Lord for His Word.  Indeed it IS "exceeding broad!" (Psalm 119:96)

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




David in Psalm 101 tells us a number of things he is just NOT going to do!  It's almost as if he listing his "convictions!"

Look with me at verse 5.  (The other 4 verses are studied in the  articles still posted below today's column.)

This Psalm gives us much light in the area of godly Christian "standards."

"Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer."   Psalm 101:5

"Privily" is an older English word meaning "under cover" or "secretly."  This is done in the spirit of the "whisperer" of Proverbs 16:28.  In 2 Corinthians 12:20 Paul also uses the term "whisperings."

To "slander" is here a use of the Hebrew noun for "tongue" ... but placed into a verbal form.  It indicates "to use the tongue."  It's only found one other time in Scripture. That's in Proverbs 30:10 where it is translated "accuse."  So ... it represents a negative hurtful use of the tongue.  The English word "slander" means "to defame" or "to malign."

The noun for "neighbor" means a friend or a companion.  It also is "kin" to the Hebrew word for shepherd!  When the 23rd Psalm declares "The Lord is my Shepherd," it's really saying the He is my Friend and Companion (as well as my Shepherd)!

Now this verb for "cut off" is pretty strong!  It literally means to exterminate or put an end to or destroy!  David here (I believe) intends no physical harm ... but rather will eliminate that person from his sight and thoughts! 

The adjective for "high" means haughty.  It comes from a verb meaning "to soar" and means lofty!

While the adjective "proud" means large or broad or wide!  In Psalm 104:25 the word is used of the "wide" sea!  It seems here that God does NOT want our hearts to be so wide and vast ... but straight and narrow!  (Single-hearted ... not double-minded!)

"Suffer" as a verb means "to endure!"  David is just not going to "put up" with these things.  (There are some things we Christians are to patiently endure ... but these are not on the list!)  The verb also carries just a "shade" of the meaning:  not ABLE to endure.  David literally says, "I can't stand it!"

Let me tell you something I am seeing about David in this study of Psalm 101! (I've memorized this passage in years gone by ... preached from it ... and even had one church I pastored on a memory program concerning it ... BUT IT HAS NEVER IMPACTED ME LIKE IT'S DOING THIS TIME!)  I never realized just how set David was against sin!  (At least at times in his life.)  David had truly maintained a godly attitude.  He truly was a "man after God's Own Heart!" 

Acts 13:22 --- "And when He (the Lord) had removed him (King Saul), he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."


This make Psalm 101 a wonderful guide for godly living!

That's today's "nugget" from the Word of God!

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





Our "Nugget" verse for this cold Monday is again found in Psalm 101. It is the 6th verse of this great chapter. David previously has been telling us some things he will NOT do ... now he speaks of things that he WILL do.

"Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me."

Since David "will set no wicked thing before his eyes" (verse 3) ... what will claim his attention? The answer is right here before us! His eyes will be focused upon "the faithful of the land!" Who are they?

The adjective "faithful" comes from the Hebrew word "aman." It is really closely "kin" to our word "aman" or "amen!" It means that which is established, confirmed, well supported, upheld, made sure, or trustworthy! (It is the man on whom you can depend. He will do what he says!) The King James translators have beautifully rendered it as "faithful!"  (When you say "amen" to the preaching of God's Word ... you're really affirming it to be TRUE and SURE!)

Who are your "heroes" dear friend? Some silly character of the entertainment world? Some double-talking politician? Some modernistic preacher? I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT! Make heroes of those who love the Lord and are established (faithful) in the Word of God!

To "dwell" means to sit or to remain or to stay or to live with! It has the idea of permanent abode. David means to keep around himself such established and trusted men! (Read Paul's Biblical requirements for deacons and preachers and you will see such men described in detail!)

The verb "walketh" means to come or to go and is here in a verb stem that indicates habitual action. Someone who regularly conducts himself in the right manner. (Throughout all of Scripture one's "walk" equals one's conduct!)

"Perfect" means whole or complete. They are not half-hearted in their living! (Entire! Sound! Filled with integrity!) Here is the sincere believer! David did not care for that hypocritical business!

"Way" is the noun ("derek") which stands for a "path or road."  Again the word is used to portray constant behavior. (Not irregular activity!)

"Serve" is Hebrew ("sharath") for "minister unto" or "to tend to" or even "to contribute to!" David will have no one in his "cabinet" or on his "staff" who fails to meet this test! The idea here of folks serving David makes me think that he perhaps is already King when he writes this Psalm.

Wise is the person who chooses to have godly people around him!

Our associates DO influence our lives!

Today's "nugget," if lived obediently day by day, will prove helpful to us all!

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





On a bright "snowy" day here in Illinois (2 to 3 inches the preacher just told me) I greet you in Jesus' lovely Name!

It's a great day to study God's Word!

Psalm 101:7 says:

He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.

David sure did have a lot of "convictions!"  (Maybe that's partly WHY he is called the "man after God's Own Heart!"  Acts 13:22)

David here particularly "singles out" the deceiver.  But WHAT does he mean by that term?  The Hebrew word for "deceiver" is "remiyah" and means to "to hurt" or "to shoot" and then "to betray."  This is NOT simply lying.  This is being "sneaky" in order to "stab" someone in the back!  This is a covert attack in order to hurt someone (or their reputation or testimony, etc.)!  To "work" is to do or to make and indicates a habitual practice.  (Some folks you just can't trust!)

This kind of individual does not have a chance with David!  He will not be allowed to "dwell" (to sit, to remain, to stay) in David's house.  Probably by now his "house" is a "palace!"

Then he focuses on the liar.  "Telleth" means ("dabar") to speak, declare, converse, command, warn, or threaten (any spoken communication).  Again, the Hebrew sense of timing indicated by the verb represents habitual lying.

"Lies" (Hebrew ="sheqer") is a term that means deception, falsehood, or even fraud. 

And the verb "tarry" comes from a "stem" that means to be firm or established.  (A liar may knock on David's front door ... but he will NOT be invited in and placed at the supper table!)  Further meanings:  to be made secure!  To be fixed!

Today we have seen 2 more kinds of men David plans to avoid! 

It is not only important to have the RIGHT kind of friends.  It is equally important to AVOID the wrong kind of folks who would gain access to our lives!

May I point out to you that David's two "negatives" today approximate God's list of "seven things to hate!"  (Proverbs 6:16-19)  God hates: a lying tongue!  A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations!  And a false witness!

It just looks to me like GRACE gives a man a truthful heart!  (And a holy hatred for that which is untruthful!)

You do remember who the "father of lies" is, don't you?  (In John 8:44 Jesus says it is the devil!)

I hope you find in this little Bible study a "nugget" for use later today!

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




It's always a little sad to me when we reach the end of a series!  Psalm 101 only has eight verses.  In this passage David has been listing the "dos" and don'ts" of his life for the Lord.

He seems a bit "severe" in places, doesn't he?  But no more so than Paul who said for us to "mortify" the deeds of the body!  (That means to put them to death!)  See Romans 8:13 and Colossians 3:5.

"I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD."  (Psalm 101:8)

David (who well may have been King by now) certainly knows the danger of wickedness!  It looks like he was longing for God's will to be done in earth as in heaven!

The adverb "early" is derived from a term that means "the break of day!"  No sleeping late here! (I think he slept way too late on the morning of the most tragic day he ever lived!) 

"Destroy" means "to put an end to."  I do not suggest to you David is contemplating murder here.  (Maybe a "righteous judicial policy" is a better term!)  David intends to discourage national wickedness!  He must have believed that "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34)

America lost much of her greatness when she jumped into the cesspool of iniquity! (Many jumped with judicial robes around their bodies too!)

The word for "wicked" here is one we've seen before.  It means sin that spreads and grown and defiles everything it touches.  (A moral "cancer!")

Wickedness DOES NOT remain static.  It worsens daily!  Paul said:  "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:13)

"Cut off" is a verb meaning to "cut down" or even "to remove a body part" (to amputate)!  Jesus held such a awesome view of sin that He suggested it would be better to cut off one's own hand (or foot) or pluck away one's very eye ... if that body part was leading into sin and hell!  (Matthew 5:29-30)

A "doer" is one who commits an act again and again until it becomes a "practice."  It's habitual action.

The second "wicked" in our verse ("wicked doers) is a totally different word yet!  It literally means to breathe hard or to pant ... and pictures one who is trying to work at an impossible task!  It means to exert oneself in a useless cause!  (To labor in vain!) Isn't that a great picture of sin?  It always fails to finally satisfy!  (But I will tell you today that I am right now complete, happy, and satisfied in Jesus Christ my Lord! How about you?)

The "city of the Lord" may be David's way of indicating Jerusalem.

Wouldn't it be great if every Christian would (in like manner) claim his city for Christ!  (What was it God told Jeremiah to tell the Jews who were taken captive to Babylon?  "And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace." (Jeremiah 29:7)

Let's pray for our nation today!

David started the Psalm singing.  He ended the Psalm deciding.  That's exactly how we should worship God in our church services, too!  We start with singing!  We end at the altar confession, then deciding!  (And in the middle ... just like this Psalm ... comes the PREACHING of the dear Word of God!)

The Lord has given me a "nugget" here today!  I pray you have one too!

Praise His Good Name!

                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Fellow students of Scripture ... this Psalm is powerful.  If the Spirit of God chooses to bless it ... it will PREACH!



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