The Righteous One’s Resolve to Build A Holy House 

adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 16 March 2010 

Psalm 101 is sometimes known as the “Householder’s Palm” because of the resolutions contained in it that suggest that the speaker is the head of a household. In verse 2, David asserts his resolution to walk in his house with a perfect heart; and in verse 6, he resolves not to allow anyone who works deceit to dwell in his house. 

So this Psalm may serve as a reminder to all head of households to maintain purity in the home. However, we must remember that David is writing not as an ordinary head of a household, but as God’s anointed king over his people. And he was writing in anticipation of his enthronement. Notice all the future tenses in this psalm! As Calvin puts it: 

David was not as yet put in possession of the kingdom, but having been already created king by the appointment of God, he prepares himself for exercising the government in the best manner. 

So really, David was speaking about his determination to maintain purity in his kingdom by personal holiness, and remove wickedness from his court and the land under his dominion when he came to the throne. 

And moreover, we must remember that David was a type of Christ, and that his psalms generally point to Christ and find their fullest meaning in Christ. Thus Bishop Horne declares of this Psalm: 

In the person of David, advanced to the throne of Israel, we hear King Messiah declaring how he intended to walk and govern his household the church, and also describing the qualifications which he should require in his ministers and servants. 

I heartily agree with this observation, for I know of no man who can perfectly affirm that he walks perfectly with a perfect heart (v. 2) but Christ. Now, Christ is our head and our example. So when we sing His word in union with him, we must not only honour Him, but seek to make his resolutions our resolutions. 

With this in mind, let us consider this psalm. We may entitle it: “The Righteous One’s Resolve to Build a Holy House.” It basically has three parts. 

1. A Resolution to Sing of the Lord’s Mercy & Judgement 

2. A Resolution to Walk Perfectly in the House 

3. A Resolution to Keep the House Pure 

1. A Resolution to Sing of the Lord’s Mercy & Judgement 

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

Those of you who use the Morning & Evening by Spurgeon will be familiar with the reading on the evening of September 12. The text is Psalm 101:1, and Spurgeon writes— 

Faith triumphs in trial. When reason is thrust into the inner prison, with her feet made fast in the stocks, faith makes the dungeon walls ring with her merry notes as she cries, “I will sing of mercy and of judgment. Unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.” Faith pulls the black mask from the face of trouble, and discovers the angel beneath. 

Well, if you look at Psalm 101, it will be hard for you to see that it was borne out of trials. But you must bear in mind Calvin’s observation that when David wrote the Psalm he was still facing persecution as a fugitive rather than as a king. 

David was looking forward to the day when he would be able to sing of the mercy and justice of God with his people. 

And Spurgeon is right isn’t he, that faith is the eyes that enables us to see the mercy and judgment of the God when all our senses are assaulted by trials. 

When David and the greater David express their resolution to sing of the mercy and judgement of God, they were undergoing trials. But they speak with a heart filled with joy and confidence that is founded upon the fact that God is merciful and just. God is merciful in that he has a covenant loving kindness, or a loyal-love towards His people. He is just not only in that he will punish sin, but that he will vindicate his saints. 

God would vindicate his perfectly righteous son. He will vindicate all such as are united to Him by election and faith. So Christ anticipated singing of the mercy and justice of God in union with his people.

Therefore, let us join in to sing in union with our Lord of the Father’s mercy and justice. Let us fill our hearts with thanksgiving and praise towards His holy name daily.

But let us glorify him not just with our lips but also by imitating and reflecting him with our lives. To that end consider the second part of this psalm, which contains… 

2. A Resolution to Walk Perfectly in the House 

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. 

When David wrote these words, he might have been thinking of the struggles he was facing as he sought to walk in the way of the Lord as perfectly as He could even as he anticipated possession of the kingdom. In his heart, might have been the sentiments of the apostle Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom 7:24). 

David longed for the Lord’s visitation. “O when wilt thou come unto me?” For David this visitation would be when he was enthroned as king. But when he was enthroned, it would not be the end of a holy walk for him as it was often the case for pagan kings. Many pagan kings seek to win the heart of the people before their enthronement, but cease to walk in the same way of righteousness once the kingdom is in their grip. Not so for David. David struggled to walk perfectly before the Lord during the days when he was persecuted; and he resolved that he would continue to do so when the kingdom was in his hands. 

But now, our Lord, the Greater David had no sin. How then would He have used these words in His own circumstance? Well, remember that our Lord was tempted at all point like as we are yet without sin. The temptations to sin would end when he announced: ‘It is finished’; and gave up the ghost, and returned unto the Father. Or in other words, it would end when the Father comes for him. “O when wilt thou come unto me?” he asks. 

But as David before, our Lord knew that the visitation of God, would not mean the end of a perfect walk. Rather He resolves to walk with a perfect heart with his people. Our Lord would walk as the head of the church, the captain of our salvation with a perfect heart and He would lead his people to walk in imitation of him. 

For remember, our Lord does not walk alone. He walks with his Church united to him. And so we have the third part of this psalm, where we find… 

3. A Resolution to Keep the House Pure 

There are three parts to this resolution. 

First, David confesses his hatred for wickedness and vows not to tolerate evil: 

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. 

Secondly, David resolves not to have fellowship with the proud and deceitful. He would rather show favour to those who are faithful to the LORD and walk in a perfect way. These are those whom he would call to serve with him: 

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. 

Thirdly, David resolves positively to rid the land of evil doers. Not only would he have no personal fellowship with them, but he would cut them off from the land.

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. 

Now, what was true of David was also true of the Lord, for David was a type of Christ as the king appointed over the Kingdom so that all that is said by David here find their fullest fulfillment in Christ in His Kingdom. 

Indeed, we may say that it is because Christ hates evil and evil-doers, that David hated evil and evil-doers. Did Christ hate evil-doers? Yes, he did. Those who claim that he loves every sinner without exception is painting a different Christ. Just listen to his denunciations of the unrepentant Scribes and Pharisees and you will know what I mean. Of course Christ did not hate all sinners, for he receives and cleanses everyone who comes to him acknowledging their sin. 

But it is a fact that Christ is no lover of sin; and he is not one who mollifies sin. Think of the way he chased out the money-changers from the temple! And so Christ has also appointed for the church that she should not have fellowship with anyone who remains unrepentant despite having been confronted for their sin. “Let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (Mt 18:17) He says. 

So the apostle Paul reminds us: 

8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. … 11 …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” (1 Cor 5:8,11). 

The church does not belong to the pastors or elders. It belongs to Christ. And since Christ has indicated by his word in so many places that He would not tolerate unrepentant sinners in his fellowship, the elders of the church must seek to maintain discipline and purity in the church. 

And as Christ, through Psalm 101, has also indicated that those who serve must be faithful men of integrity, so in the New Testament, we are taught that those who serve must be faithful men of integrity. 

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” says the apostle Paul (2 Tim 2:2). 

And again, Paul says concerning the qualification of elders: “A bishop then must be blameless” (1 Tim 3:2). And of deacons, he says: “Let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless” (1 Tim 3:10). 

It is clear isn’t it? The attitude expressed by David in our Psalm is exactly the attitude of our Lord. 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, and children in Christ, let us, as members of Christ’s body, seek to have the same attitude as Christ. Let us not try to outdo Christ in terms of compassion and tolerance for sin. Let us love righteousness and seek to build holiness in the church for it belongs to Christ. 


We must conclude. Psalm 101 is not only about the Christian home. It is about the Christian church. It contains the manifesto of our Lord for a holy church comprising sinners saved by grace, i.e. saved not only from the guilt, but the power of sin. 

Let us sing this psalm to remind ourselves how the church must be – not merely a loving body which tolerates all sinners, like the Corinthian church before they were repentant; but a body of sinners humble enough to see our faults and brave enough to admonish one another to walk in the perfect way of the Lord; and humble enough to submit to sinful men who are appointed to represent Christ, but brave enough to appoint only faithful men of integrity into the office. 

To this end, we must pray for one another. And we must pray for the leaders of the church. And we must pray that the Lord will sovereignly raise up more faithful and blameless men to serve Him as his under-shepherds and servants. Amen. Ω