Living like a King
By this title, I don’t mean ‘living it up’ with a self-indulgent lifestyle. I mean living like a king in the medieval sense, which was to live like THE King.
C.S. Lewis understood this and knew that the best education to this end was to observe kingly living in others. So throughout the Narnia Chronicles we find children learning to be kingly.
We love Narnia, and find much help there, but they are not comparable to the Scriptures. In this psalm and in the Gospels particularly, Christ, THE King Himself, is presented to us in all His beauty.
In before Out
Before we get into the detail of the character of the psalm, it’s important to note the structure. Simply, the psalm goes in before it goes out, and this is a great lesson for us. To be like our King, first deal with our own hearts, before considering the character of those around us.
‘A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.’ (v1)
Some people are too merciful; others too judgmental. David desires to keep both in correct proportion, and while he, at times, failed, the life of Christ was one of perfect balance.
He was the ‘fine flour’ of the meal offering (Lev 2), ‘full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14). Consider the Lord Jesus in John 8. First he shows grace to a woman caught in adultery, before standing firmly for truth against the false leaders of His day.
If we are to be kingly, we must be balanced. We must seek to live a life of proportion.
‘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.’ (v2)
The Lord reminded his disciples that ‘every one that is perfect shall be as his master.’ (Luke 6:40)
Now, this is seen in Christ, who being ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Col 1:15), could say to His disciples, ‘he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father’ (John 14:9), and could say to His Father ‘not my will but thine be done’ (Luke 22:42).
To have a perfect heart, is to have a servant heart: humbling ourselves to the will of the greater King in the service of others. Thankfully, we are not left alone, but the One who humbled Himself could pray, ‘I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one’ (v23).
If we are to be kingly, we must be humble. We must seek to live a life of perfection.
‘I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.’ (v3)
The truth of this in the life of Christ is seen throughout, but especially in the temptation in the wilderness (Matt 4), where our Lord does not even countenance the thought of sin, but immediately replies bringing the holy Word of God to bear upon the situation. And as He is ‘the Word’ (John 1), He is in essence ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners’ (Hebs 7:26).
But, for us, we can have the same victory, and ‘overcome the wicked one’, when ‘the word of God abideth in’ us. (1 John 2:14). For while we are not sinlessly holy, Christ is doing a work in is to ‘sanctify and cleanse’ us ‘with the washing of water by the word’ … that we ‘should be holy and without blemish’. (Eph 5:26,27)
If we are to be kingly, we must be holy. We must seek to live in the Word, to live out a life of purity.
‘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.’ (v6)
A King will be defined by those he has around him. David understood this, and choose godly men to be his counsellors. Rehoboam choose badly, and lost his kingdom as a result.
The Lord Jesus chose an inner circle of companions too, and while they had their faults, they were patriots. By that I mean they loved the Father’s land, seeking ‘first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness’ (Matt 6:33).
And while, at times, they failed, they proved themselves (Judas Iscariot apart) ‘faithful unto death’ (Rev 2:10).
If we are to be anything for God, we must choose our companions carefully. Paul would exhort us: ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?’ (2 Cor 6:14).
If we are to be kingly, we must be wise in our choice of counsel. We must seek to live among heavenly patriots.