1 I’ll praise your love and justice, LORD;
I’ll praise you cheerfully.
2 I’ll strive to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
Within my home the life I lead
will show a blameless heart.
3 My eyes will view no worthless thing;
from sin I will depart.
I hate what faithless people do;
it shall not cling to me.
4 All wicked people I’ll avoid;
from evil I’ll stay free.
5 I’ll put to silence everyone
who slanders secretly;
I will not tolerate the proud
who act so haughtily.
6 My eyes are on the faithful ones,
that they may dwell with me;
Whoever lives a blameless life
will serve me constantly.
7 No one who practises deceit
will dwell within my home;
Nor will the one whose words are false
before me ever come.
8 Each morning I will silence all
who wicked deeds have done;
I’ll cleanse the city of the LORD
of every evil one.
The editors of Sing Psalms suggest the tune York for this Psalm which you can hear here, or the tune Moravia (here)or the tune St James (here).
Wanted! God’s Representative on Earth Today. Must lead a blameless life, evidenced by showing a blameless heart. Must be prepared to depart from sin and not to tolerate its presence in their household and wider community. Sympathy with and support for God’s faithful ones is a genuine occupational requirement for this post.
This is a re-advertisement. Previous applicants should re-apply.
Whoever wrote Psalm 101 would not hesitate to apply for this job, but I would. I’m all too aware of the gap between what I want to be and how things turn out in practice. Is this just an aspirational Psalm? Is this optimistic public advertising language about a job; what we want, though, privately, we expect a lot less?
Still, the Psalmist makes a confident pitch for the post. These claims make contestants on TV’s The Apprentice appear modest in comparison. They will praise God cheerfully, maintain a blameless life, avoid the wicked, keep company with the faithful, have nothing to do with deceit, and ‘cleanse the City of the LORD of every evil one.’ I admire them, but perhaps not as much as I fear them, especially were they to detect any evil or deceit in me.
Aim high, like this Psalmist, and I crash and burn. Step back, and I remain stuck with my many imperfections. Yet there’s a chink in the Psalmist’s optimism which gives me hope: ‘I’ll strive to live a blameless life – when will you come to me?’ Even this most self-confident of believers admits to striving as well as achieving, needing God to turn up to make sure the job gets done. So …
Dear God I wish to apply for this job, which I am sure I can do, sometimes and to some extent … though only with your help.
Encourage me to aim high
in how I live my life, O God,
and when I struggle or when I fail,
come to me;
comfort me and save me.
The Rev’d Trevor Jamison, Minister, St Columba’s United Reformed Church, North Shields.
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