Matthew R. Perry

“Don’t Mix Politics and Religion”? Someone Forgot to Tell King David

In Seasoned with the Psalter on July 20, 2006 at 9:38 am

When I arrived as pastor of Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, we began going through the Psalms on Wednesday night. With a few stops and starts, we are now at Psalm 101 which we covered last night. The title of the study was “A Model for Civic Leaders to Follow.” Psalm 101 reads as follows:

1 I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O LORD, I will make music.
2 I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
3 I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
4 A perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.

5 Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly
I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart
I will not endure.

6 I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
he who walks in the way that is blameless
shall minister to me.

7 No one who practices deceit
shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue before my eyes.

8 Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all the evildoers
from the city of the LORD.

David desires to establish his kingdom on the precepts of God’s law as well as having a desire to think and walk with integrity (v. 2). He praises (sings!) to God about the love and justice (v. 1) He has established in the counsels of heaven and now sings of how those qualities must be present in his own administration as well.

He desires to surround himself with people (his cabinet?) who walk in integrity as well (v. 3-4). Those who do not will not serve and minister to him (v. 6). The four sins presented in this Psalm that do not belong in His administration are the following:

  • Faithless men (v. 3);
  • Those with a perverse heart (v. 4);
  • Slanderers who cannot govern their tongue (v. 5 — see also James 3:1-8);
  • Those with an arrogant heart and proud eyes (v. 5).

David even goes so far as to say that those who have these qualities as citizens of Israel will be brought to justice in the same way.

I understand that Israel is unique due to its theocratic nature and that we have to be careful when comparing it with any other nation. Yet I believe some principles need to carry over when we consider our mayors, governors, presidents, kings, and prime ministers — we need to see what they do with the mandates of Scripture.

Here are some questions I put before our people, and I would love to hear your thoughts on these matters as well. I’ll address my thoughts in a few days.

Questions to Ponder

1. Do you believe David is being too strict with those in his administration and his citizens? Should David have put a religious test to those desiring to administer with him in his government?

2. Before we look at other’s spiritual walk, do we look at our own? If we trust in the love and justice of God, do we realize that God’s love and justice must work through us as well as others?

3. What do we look for in our civic leaders? Do we look for their stances on education? The economy? The war on terror? Or do we look to see where they stand on the Scriptures’ mandates? Here, politics and faith seem to mix — do you agree with that?

4. How much do we believe that our private life and our public life are connected? Where do you stand? Is it anyone else’s business? Do you care about your leaders’ private life — just as long as he/she is doing a good job in public?

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