We enter Psalms today in a short passage in Psalm 15, with only five verses. David is going to lead us on a journey to get to God’s holy hill and tell us how to live so that we can dwell with God.
This has been a profitable study for us as we have had a sampling of several types of Psalms, and we have covered a lot of points of interest along the way. I hope the series has been a blessing to you thus far.
Let’s read Psalm 15 before we get started today.
LORD, who may reside in Your tent? Who may settle on Your holy hill? One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor do evil to his neighbor, Nor bring shame on his friend; A despicable person is despised in his eyes, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He takes an oath to his own detriment, and does not change; He does not lend his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. One who does these things will never be shaken.
Seeking Directions to Get to God (verse 1)
LORD, who may reside in Your tent? Who may settle on Your holy hill?
David asks two questions about how one can dwell with God (See also Psalm 24:3)
LORD, who may reside in Your tent?
This is not a reference directly to the tabernacle, but more about being in the presence of God. Without the presence of God in the tent of meeting, there would be no meeting or purpose for meeting there.
The Bible refers to the church as the true temple of God where we dwell with God in a tabernacle not made with hands (Hebrews 8:2; 9:11, 24; Rev. 21:3). Some suggest the word sojourn in place of reside, but we should remember that the tabernacle or any tent belonged to someone on the move. In this case the psalmist is asking who can be a stranger “in” Your tent? (See Hebrews 11:9)
Who may settle on Your holy hill?
Zion (Jerusalem) was always considered the dwelling place of God (Psalm 2:6). God was said to send His blessings from Zion and the people brought their offerings to Him there. David doesn’t want to know how to receive those blessings, nor does He only want to go to worship, but rather how to have the everlasting blessing of dwelling forever in the presence of God (Ps. 27:4)
Guidance on What it Takes to Dwell with God (verses 2-5)
One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor do evil to his neighbor, Nor bring shame on his friend; A despicable person is despised in his eyes, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He takes an oath to his own detriment, and does not change; He does not lend his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. One who does these things will never be shaken.
One Who Walks with Integrity (See Proverbs 28:18)
Integrity is uprightness and moral goodness (Isaiah 33:15-16) The word means complete, without spot or blemish and it reminds us of how the church will need to be presented to Christ as His bride (Eph. 5:27). Psalm 101:6 proclaims perfection meaning completeness or wholeness (Mt. 5:48; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:22).
One Who Practices Righteousness
Righteousness is not a righteousness of our own, but we are made righteous by doing what is commanded by God and by His declaration we are right with Him.
Righteousness has always been a requirement of God from His people (Acts 10:34-35) The evidence of righteousness is seen by righteous conduct (I John 3:7). Job was a fitting example of this righteousness (Job 1:1)
One Who Speaks Truth in His Heart
This is an internal conversation that results in what comes out of a man. The KJV uses the word "conversation" to refer to conduct. What we verbalize mentally is often reflected in our actions. He is sincere in speech, but more than that, he is true to or honest with himself before speaking or acting.
One Who Does Not Slander with His Tongue
Building on the last point, what we think, and the internal dialogue ends up pouring out of us. We are warned not to be backbiting busybodies that gossip and speak evil (I Tim. 5:13). Slander is a destructive way to use the tongue (James 3:5) Those who are wicked will speak evil of others (Proverbs 25:23). The Hebrew word “ragal” means “to foot it” which suggests a going about doing this evil work. See Jeremiah 6:28 for example.
One Who Does Not Do Evil to His Neighbor
Those that are willing to speak evil of others will often do evil things to a neighbor. We are taught to love our neighbor as ourselves and all of God’s commands can be summed up in loving God and our neighbor (Mark 12:31). We treat others the way that we want them to treat us. This has always been known as the golden rule (Matthew 7:12). If we hope to dwell with God we must refrain from sinful behavior toward others. This applies not just to neighbors, but to friends and companions. Don’t be like the Pharisees and say, “Who is my neighbor?”
One Who Does Not Bring Shame on His Friend
To treat someone poorly that is merely in community with you is different from bringing shame on a friend. The word used here for reproach carries the idea of stripping fruit from a tree. The fruit is the reputation of the tree because we know a tree by its fruit. Bringing shame is tearing away the reputation of a person and giving them a bad name. If I lie about you and malign you, others will not think of you properly and you will be ashamed. We need to be trustworthy and kind to maintain relationships in this life, while establishing consistent rapport and truthfulness. People that spread lies about you separate friendships (Proverbs 16:28).
One Who Despises Evil While Showing Honor to The Godly
We are told not to rejoice in unrighteousness nor to give hearty approval to those who practice sin. We are encouraged, even commanded, to bestow great honor on those that are spiritual servants of the Most High. We are to avoid evil companions and walk closely with those that are following the Lord. We are told not to be unequally yoked. Light with darkness doesn’t work. We are called out to be separate and sanctified for a holy purpose.
He Takes Contractual Agreements Seriously and Keeps Them Even to His Own Loss
Sometimes when we make an agreement, if we see it is not going in our favor, we will retract our words and try to nullify the contract to avoid being negatively affected. We are told to let our "yes" be "yes" and our "no" be "no". If we vow to carry out a task, we must keep it no matter the cost. That is why we are told to count the cost before agreeing to start something. The only time we are welcome to refrain from any binding contract is if the terms turn out to require us to do anything contrary to the will of God or in some cases where the other party did not meet their terms. This is really patterned after godliness since God who cannot lie made promises and swore by Himself to keep His word. He does not change or go back on His guarantees. We cannot change either. Marriage is a notable example of a binding covenant that cannot be treated lightly. I don’t get to simply nullify the agreement because I feel like I want to be with someone else.
He Does Not Lend Expecting Interest from The Righteous or Bribe the Innocent
In Deuteronomy 23:20, the Israelites were commanded not to charge interest when lending to a fellow Israelite. God went on to say that debts owed by fellow Israelites must be canceled (Deut. 15:3). This is repeated in Exodus 22:25 where you cannot lend to the poor among God’s people expecting them to return to you the money with interest. (See Lev. 25:36-37). Bribes were considered wicked by God throughout the Bible (Isaiah 1:23; Jer. 22:17; Ezek. 22:12). Extortion and oppression toward the innocent, are forbidden by God. The Bible does not condemn the idea of interest earned on money in a lawful manner that does not bring hurt on others (Matthew 25:27). Bribery is always condemned because of the evil motives that lead to the hurt of others.
One Who Does What Is Right Will Never Be Shaken
To be shaken in the Bible means to be moved from your place. If one takes a firm stance spiritually and abides in the will of God, they cannot be upset (Psalm 16:8). David has used this imagery before of standing firm in the Lord and not allowing our foot to slip. We stand on the Rock of our salvation, and He sustains us there when we trust in Him and live godly lives.
Thank you for taking the time to visit the website today. If you have any questions or would like more information, please reach out to me and I will look forward to hearing from you. Until next time, God bless you richly in Jesus Christ our Lord.