Do me a favor and please read Psalm 101.
As with all scripture, if there is a word that keeps popping up, or a theme that keeps finding its way into the writers voice then we should probably look into it. Today’s text not only focuses on doing what is right in the eyes of God but three times we see the word “blameless” used.
- “I will be careful to lead a blameless life…” (vs 2a)
- “I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless” (vs 2b)
- “…the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” (vs 6)
But what does “blameless” mean? Does it mean that anyone who talks with him or watches him walks away never finding any fault with David? Because to be “blameless” means exactly that. Perfect, right, and complete. And no only do we know that David did NOT leave a “blameless” life but we also know that none of us can do that!
So what is exactly David stating he’ll do?
David isn’t saying he’s perfect, nor that he will succeed at being perfect or even EVER be perfect. He’s making a vow, a promise, to God to do his best. That he will be “careful” to be as faithful to God as possible. He will work hard at living a life focused on God and that he will make sure that those who council him try to walk that same path. It’s a vow he’s making from a personal standpoint but also as king in how he will govern his people and the expectations of them. Again, he’s not saying that he IS or WILL BE blameless – only that he will try his best.
I have EXTREMELY high expectations of myself – especially when it comes to my relationship with God. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the church. Maybe it’s because I was surrounded by love and hope and goodness my whole life – or maybe it’s simply because I’m a pastor. For me, my “best” for God is simply expected and carried within. But I also carry YOUR best in me (my expectations to hold to it because of you and your thoughts of me. These expectations are my thoughts of what you expect of me – spoken and assumed). On top of those two I also have other people’s best placed upon me THAT THEY HOLD to me (these are spoken and expected). So we have a trifecta of best at play (two internal and one external)! And I say this not to place any guilt upon my readers and congregation but simply because this is what we do. We place our own expectations and “best” upon each other and within…and we DEFINITELY have done it to David! And if we fail at these? Then our expectations, thoughts, and feelings tank of ourselves and others. A question I want to pose, and that I am wrestling with personally, is if these expectations of “best” are good or even healthy?
Jesus speaks in John 14:23 that if anyone loves Jesus they will keep his word. How often do we keep God’s word? Are we giving it our best? Are we “blameless” in it?
Paul writes in 1 Cor 5:11 that we are not to associate with anyone who has been guilty of sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, or a drunkard. We aren’t even supposed to eat with them! How many of us have done just that? (my hand is raised). How many of us ARE those people!? (my hand is raised yet again).
“Best?” You’ve got to be kidding! My best is not even close! If I gave it my best shot then I’d write notes for myself each and every morning reminding me what I can and cannot do as well as I should and should not say. If I were truly giving God my “best” then I’d surround myself with only people that went to church, prayed every single morning/noon/night and never had any bad things to say about anyone.
But…if I surrounded myself with people who were living like that…then they wouldn’t be around me. If I surrounded myself with people like that…then I would be lonely. And let’s remember something, people DID have notes and warnings in their life like that – it’s called the “Torah” or the “Law” (think of the 10 Commandments and then add like 600 more rules and regulations) and good Jewish boys, girls, men and women had to live by them. Daily!
The truth is, my “best” is broken – as was David’s and as IS yours. We stink at being covenantal children of God which is exactly why God holds to the covenant even while we break it. When Jesus states, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…” (John 10:14) he is declaring just that. He knows us…completely. He knows our best isn’t up to his best and yet that is OK. It’s not great, he expects more, but those expectations aren’t deal breakers. And why? Because if they WERE to “God’s standards of ‘best’” then we’d be nowhere. God’s standards are EXPECTED of us but held and completed in HIM.
Paul writes in Romans 8:3-4 that that law we had, that covenantal law we were given by God to hold to and be “best” at, was “weakened by the flesh” but we have been given “righteousness” in it anyways. Why? BECAUSE of Jesus Christ who died for us and took our sins away. In simpler terms and understanding: The promise of us to give God our “best” could never be because we are completely broken people. So God sent his son, Jesus Christ (who took on human flesh), to atone for us (die and make our payment for sins) so that our “best” wouldn’t be required. We became “blameless” because he is blameless (Phil 2:15)
The saving grace of Christ is not a matter of “best” any more since we are made blameless. This doesn’t mean we don’t try nor give God our “best” – it simply means that we try hard, struggle, and fail, but we don’t hold it against ourselves because our future is secured in Him and not us. Our future is in God’s hands by what Christ has done and not you or me. And yet we still try and give God our best. Still be careful to lead a blameless life and most definitely surround yourself with blameless people. But know that our “best” isn’t perfect nor is it “good enough” – and yet we still try. God deserves our best attempts at bestness.