Many people today are finding themselves alone. We never thought about how much this changes everything about life, did we? When you aren’t meeting people, priorities change. You don’t have to dress as carefully. Schedules change. Responsibilities change. Policies change. So many things are different—if no one sees.
But is this true? The question is, why? What are we living for? Perhaps the current situation is showing us our real selves from the inside, and our need for more inside house-keeping. Makes us wonder, WHY were we doing as we WERE? Was it just to be SEEN, and not to be RIGHT before GOD?
After all is said and done, our accountability to God IS JUST THE SAME. Yes, we need to keep that INSIDE house all neat and orderly! No time for day dreaming. We don’t want dis-order INSIDE! Even if no one else SEES!
David had thought this through when he wrote one of his psalms.
Psalm 101:1 1I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.
He was still singing, but very thoughtfully. It is a lyric of praise to God both for His mercy and His judgment, i.e., for his goodness and His severity. Then he says,
Psalm 101:2 2I 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.
Wisely. In a perfect way. And right at home! INSIDE.
Home is where we show what we really are, among those who know us best. Home is where we are most apt to relax, and let down our guard.
Remember the rhyme?
We have kind words for the stranger,
And smiles for the sometime guest,
But for our own the bitter tone
Though we love our own the best!
Which makes me ask, How careful am I with my personal disciplines when I am alone? There is help in accountability, when someone is seeing what we do. But when we are alone, when the only observer is God’s angel, what then?
David’s is a statement of absolute all-the-time integrity. INSIDE, even at home, David says, You Lord are always welcome. COME RIGHT IN! Any day, any time, come right in and check on me!
The text is especially good in the Revised English Bible:
Psalm 101:2 (REB) 2I shall lead a wise and blameless life; when will you come to me? My conduct among my household will be blameless.
“My conduct among my household… blameless.” That sets the standard. That lifts the bar. All the way to the top!
No opening to spill out our anger, even at home.
No leeway for venting our feelings, even at home.
No place to unleash our frustrations, even at home.
A wise and blameless life keeps life ON TRACK. PRECISELY.
David puts even more limits in place: where he puts his EYES, yes, what he LOOKS at.
Psalm 101:3 3I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.
David didn’t have the temptations we have today, but he needed the same standard for his eyes that we need: nothing wicked, nothing impure, nothing that would draw His mind away from God. His resolve is firm. It is good in the New Jerusalem Bible:
Psalm 101:3 (NJB) 3I will not set before my eyes anything sordid. I hate those who act crookedly; this has no attraction for me.
Sordid means “Involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt; dirty, squalid.” Our world today is full of sordid living. Let it arouse our moral distaste and contempt. We must not be complacent with evil.
And being at home is the BEST! We are away from it all. The safest, cleanest, best – Covid-19 FREE—environment we can find!
Then David says,
Psalm 101:4–5 (NEB) 4I will reject all crooked thoughts; I will have no dealings with evil. 5I will silence those who spread tales behind men’s backs, I will not sit at table with proud, pompous men,
Will he reject ALL crooked thoughts—even if they are his own? That was David’s intent. Along with all kinds of slander and pride. It was a noble plan.
The general thought today is that our private life and public life can be different. We can have faith and conviction and religious beliefs, but only in private. Our public life must be “politically correct.”
Which brings up another point: isn’t this being DOUBLE minded? Having a DOUBLE standard? Serving God AND man?
James 1:8 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Jesus said it too:
Matthew 6:24 24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
But it can also make us free to mutter, free to complain, free to take little liberties we really don’t want to take. Do you remember what the unhappy Israelites did who “murmured in their tents”? It was after the return of the unfaithful spies.
Deuteronomy 1:26–27 26“Nevertheless you… rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; 27and you complained in your tents, and said, ‘Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
They had no gratitude in their hearts for their deliverance but only complaints, and the best place to express them was “at home,” “in their tents.” It was so much remembered about these people that the Psalmist said the same about them:
Psalm 106:23–24 23Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach, To turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them. 24Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe His word,
Moses did his best to steer the people right and turn away God’s wrath; but their sin was too deep in their hearts. The even “despised the pleasant land”—the good land of Canaan to which God was leading them. “Despise” is to scorn, treat with disdain. They had no gratitude in their hearts.
God made every effort to set His people on the right path, but again and again they refused him. Psalm 78 describes their perverse attitude again:
Psalm 78:5–8 5For He established a testimony in Jacob, … That they should make them known to their children; 6That the generation to come might know them, …7That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; 8And may not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
What was the problem underlying?
Psalm 78:37 37For their heart was not steadfast with Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant.
It was a heart problem. Again,
Psalm 78:40 40How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert!
Lessons, lessons written for us!
What a contrast with the Psalmist who said,
Psalm 34:1 1I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
ALL times. Continually, not off and then on, then off again.
1 Corinthians 10:31 31Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
God wants us constant, and consistent.
Every day, all day. At home, at work, shopping, resting, WHATEVER we do.
House in order all the time. INSIDE. OUTSIDE. ALL-sides.
One standard ALL THE WAY.
Inside Housekeeping – The psalmist said, “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps. 34:1).
David failed at home, but he faced his sin head-on. He learned his lesson. He would not fail again. All of us have failed. The only remedy is to face it, repent, and seek forgiveness. That is what David did. Even after such terrible sins, the Lord forgave and gave him another chance. Result: He is accounted as one of the faithful.
I am reminded of one at my workplace. He had a language problem. He let slip a bad word from time to time. He would catch himself and regret it. He knew I didn’t approve, though I never told him. One day, he asked, “How do I stop it?” I replied: “You have to begin at home, and practice, practice, practice.”
Isn’t that what we have to do? When we’re at home, we are most likely to let our guard down. We must be careful all the time and practice, practice, practice doing what we know the Lord approves.