David’s rise to the throne of Israel and subsequent reign dominate the landscape of Jewish history. From the young shepherd boy who fought wild animals to budding warrior who killed Goliath to the faithful soldier running from a jealous commander, the early life of David established a powerful backstory for the mightiest king in Israel’s history. Despite his youthful anointing by Samuel, he patiently and faithfully served Saul, consistently respecting him as “the LORD’s anointed.” Here we find no power-hungry leader but a man of faith and principle. He did not view his anointing as a political opportunity but as a spiritual responsibility. And while the psalms surrounding his coming to the throne located in Book One are more familiar, Psalm 101 offers great insight. It essentially records David’s promises to the LORD upon coming to the throne of the kingdom. However, this emphasis provides another practical consideration and perspective. David saw these characteristics as essential when he came to the throne of an earthly kingdom, but they have even greater application for all who become Christians and enter Christ’s heavenly kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19; Col. 1:13-14).
Throughout this psalm David makes a series of promises to the LORD. The two words “I will” dominate the psalm. But for the Christian, submitting to the reign of Christ as King by being immersed to enjoy the forgiveness promised (Acts 2:38) and the joy assured (1 John 1:4) is an even greater promise—the promise to live faithfully as a subject in the kingdom, whatever that may require (Rev. 2:10). David saw his responsibilities as God’s anointed leader of the nation of Israel, but truly Christians have an even greater obligation as subjects of a far greater kingdom. Therefore, upon entering the kingdom, Christians are promising to worship God faithfully (Psa. 101:1). This implies far more than regular attendance (Heb. 10:24-25) but rather a heart and soul dedicated to honoring the LORD as much as possible exactly how the LORD desires, as true worshippers do (John 4:24). More than this, upon entering the kingdom, Christians are promising to live and grow in accordance with God’s design and for God’s purposes rather than their own (Psa. 101:2). No disciple begins in exactly the same place, the same knowledge or the same problems, but every disciple should seek maturity in living for God by developing a spiritual maturity in a heart for God (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). Upon entering the kingdom, Christians are promising to distance themselves from wickedness of every kind (Psa. 101:3-5). It is therefore essential to eschew evil (1 Pet. 3:9-12), reprove the works of darkness (Eph. 5:11), maintain a holy heart (Matt. 5:8), and avoid the wrong companions (1 Cor. 15:33). More than this, upon entering the kingdom, Christians promise to keep close to the faithful (Psa. 101:6), following their example (1 Cor. 11:1), building relationships with them (John 13:34-35), and preferring their company (Rom. 12:10). Finally, upon entering the kingdom, Christians are promising to stand against evil however it presents itself (Psa. 101:7-8). Rather than compromising conviction, God’s people stand with the Savior (2 John 9-11). Instead of accepting iniquity, the LORD’s people take action against trespasses (2 Thess. 3:6).
David fell far short of these promises at times, as the rest of inspired history makes clear. But his heart brought him back to these promises and his desire to be faithful to God each and every time. When we become Christians, we are promising our loyalty, our fidelity, and our all to the One who saved us. We may fall short in practice here and there, but may we ever keep the heart of David with a determination to keep our promises.