David's song explores the characteristics of a person who enjoys fellowship with the Lord in this life with seven facets of integrity. As you consider each one, take note of the Lord's emphasis on relationships.
Who enjoys fellowship with God?
- He who does not do evil to his neighbour. The Spirit-filled believer is loyal and consistent—not fickle, not erratic. He does not consciously bring difficulty upon others.
- Nor takes up a reproach against his friend. The Hebrew word translated "reproach" refers to sharp, cutting, and scornful speech about others, either behind their backs or to their faces. When others begin this kind of talk, the person of integrity refuses to join in. There is honesty yet gentleness (Galatians 5:22–23) in his or her character.
- In whose eyes a reprobate is despised. A reprobate mentioned here is literally a "worthless reprobate," someone who is totally disinterested in spiritual things. The genuine believer with strong integrity will discern the impact such a person can have on his own walk with the Lord, and will be wary of cultivating a close association with him or her. "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals'" (1 Corinthians 15:33). If a friendship is cultivated, let it be for the sake of evangelism.
- He honours those who fear the Lord. Like the preceding phrase, this refers to our choice of friends; only this phrase addresses those with whom we should keep company. The believer who walks with the Lord has a scale of values that is determined by biblical principles. Because we tend to emulate those with whom we spend time, we need Christlike friends.
- He swears to his own hurt, and does not change. This means that we perform what we promise, even when keeping our word is difficult to achieve. Our word should be our bond. The Christian with integrity makes it his or her aim to follow through on commitments, even when it's no longer convenient ... even when it hurts.
- He does not put out his money at interest. According to Deuteronomy 23:19–20 and Leviticus 25:35–38, the Hebrew was commanded not to loan money toa needy Hebrew brother with interest. He was to assist generously and unselfishly. The believer in Christ who offers to extend personal financial assistance to his brother in Christ should do so without interest—love being his only motive. (Needless to say, discernment must accompany love ... or we will have more love than money!) Not every financial need among believers is a "need." Some "needs" stem from careless spending.
- Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. My Webster's dictionary defines a bribe as "money or favour bestowed on or promised to a person in a position of trust to pervert his judgment or corrupt his conduct." We have all read about what has come to be known as "influence peddling." Not even Wall Street has been protected from such schemes. The psalmist's point is clear: one with integrity won't stoop to that level.
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission.