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Psalm 15

02 May

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?  Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth  from his heart and has no slander  on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury  and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things

Introduction:

Ps 15:1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?  Who may live on your holy hill?

When we ask God questions, especially those which pertain to his eternal home we must be prepared to receive the answer. God is not going to say- ‘you can’ and while we expect that type of answer, it is not an answer out of love.

We would look at that response as love, acceptance and support of our ways but in reality it is none of those. I say this because love does not lead one to disrespect oneself; it does not lead one to break their own rules and it does not accept sin into one’s residence.

Love lays out honestly what the requirements are to live in one’s home. God is no different. His love for us does not lead him to disrespect himself, violate or alter his rules nor allow sin to enter his residence. Thus when we ask such questions as David did, we may not like the answer, we may not be prepared for it but it will be honest, it will be the truth and it will not change.

God does not change nor can he lie so we know that the answer he gives will not be altered no matter how hard we or anyone tries to avoid meeting his requirements. God’s requirements are pure, just, holy and they apply to all people equally. There are no exceptions to God’s rules for status, wealth, beauty or nationality.

Let’s go through God’s answer to David for that answer applies to us as well:

#I. He whose walk is blameless 

Now this requirement is not based upon human perspective. In life we cannot avoid being blamed for something. Whether they be believers or the secular world someone will always find fault with our actions or words, we cannot avoid it. The Bible tells us to beware when all men speak well of you so we cannot expect that no matter how correct our behavior is no one is going to find fault with what we do or say.

No, the criteria for blameless is God’s perspective. He determines who is blameless not the judgment of our fellow man. {Keep in mind that this is not an excuse for people to do as they please and then excuse our behavior well God told me to act that way or something similar} People must make sure that they are actually following God’s rules in order to remain blameless sin his eyes.

The bad news is, we can’t do it thus we need a Savior to receive grace, forgiveness and mercy in order to reach the level of being blameless in God’s sight.

#II. and who does what is righteous,

To understand exactly what the word righteous means we do need to go to a dictionary to see what God is saying in this portion of Psalm 15. Webster defined ‘righteous’ as:

Just; accordant to the divine law. It denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man.

A person who is righteous acts justly and according to God’s laws, commands and instructions. He does not deviate from them. Then notice that righteousness is based upon holiness which is to come from our hearts. it is not a lip service or something we pull off the shelf from time to time but it is always there in our lives dictating how we act towards others and ourselves.

A righteous person applies God’s way correctly as taught by the Holy Spirit. We do not listen to just anyone who comes up and say ‘well you need to change this and this and that…’ for then we would be pleasing men and not God. We would also have a nervous breakdown if we kept changing every time a different person came up to us demanding that we change something about our lives in order to be righteous.

If a person feels they need to correct someone, they need to make sure that information comes from God and not their own personal views. One is not leading another person to God’s righteousness if they are bringing their own ideas to that other person. They are leading them away from God and not telling them the truth.

This brings us to the next answer God brought David and by extension to us:

#III. who speaks the truth  from his heart

The person who resides with God must have the truth in their hearts and they speak that instead of their own ideas or someone else’s words. The truth does not change nor does it say one thing to one person and something else to another. The truth speaks the same message to all people.

I have spoken on the truth previously and in that sermon it was outlined how one gets the truth into their hearts. The truth is taught and we are brought to it by the Holy Spirit. There is no other source for the truth. God is truth and we can only learn and establish it in our hearts by following Jesus’ instruction as found in John 16.

When one has the truth, they must make sure it is actually the truth that they are speaking and not something they think is true. And it happens, many believers are taught something by their pastors or other church leaders and they think it is the truth but in reality the pastor or church leader may have been mistaken or misguided in his acquisition of the information they passed on to their congregations

You cannot blindly assume that a pastor or church leader automatically has the truth or honestly investigated and found it. You need to double-check for pastors and church leaders make mistakes. One reason you need to make sure you have the truth and it is what God wants you to say is because you can do a lot of damage to other people and their faith by speaking the wrong words and bringing the wrong message.

We are not in the business to hurt or ruin the faith of others.

#IV. and has no slander  on his tongue,

Again we must turn to the dictionary in order to understand what is meant by the term ‘slander’ here. Webster defines it as:

A false tale or report maliciously uttered, and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing him to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of living; defamation.

These words go hand in hand with the 9th commandment thou shalt not bear false witness. Slander is bringing a false witness about another person to all who will listen. One cannot have the truth in their heart if they slander others.

#V. who does his neighbor no wrong

This goes hand in hand with 2 NT verses: first, love your neighbor as yourself and second, love does not rejoice in evil

Doing wrong to your neighbor means you are not loving them as yourself and you are rejoicing in evil because doing wrong is not righteous, holy nor allows one to be blameless in God’s eyes. Even if one feels slighted or has a wrong done to them, we are not granted permission to do wrong if we want to live with God for eternity.

The words ‘do no wrong’ does not leave any loopholes for believers to return evil for evil. We are told to return good for evil thus the NT is in line with what God has said in the OT. The truth does not change thus we have the same message to us in the New Test. as we read in the Old.

#VI. and casts no slur on his fellowman,

Again we must turn to the dictionary to get a clear picture of what the word slur means:

To soil; to sully; to contaminate; to disgrace.

Much like the word slander, we do not speak evil of our neighbor or those who have what we think some wrong in our eyes. To consider something to be wrong we need to make sure we are using a just standard than defines wrong for both parties.

We do not just make up a standard in order for us to feel wronged in any way. The best standard is to use God’s word as our guide but we must use it correctly so that we can bring healing not further dissension in the congregation.

The NT tells us to go to the person first and then if they do not hear you, then you go to the next level but at no time is slander, gossip or bringing slurs acceptable in God’s eyes. If you think you have been unjustly treated you solve issues God’s way not the human or secular subjective way.

#VII.  who despises a vile man but honors   those who fear the LORD,

This does not mean that we hate the sinner for that would not be in line with the rest of the teaching of the Bible. In today’s world many people are ready to jump on other people and hate them because the latter has done something they do not like.

This is not what is being talked about here. You have to make sure that he actually did something vile first before you can hate him. A modern example is Bill Cosby. Once a beloved comedian in the West he now stands accused of committing many crimes. But the problem in this situation is that the people who hate him as a vile man do so based upon the unsubstantiated testimony of women who have brought no real evidence of Mr. Cosby’s wrong doing.

They are hating him based upon slander, slurs, and other wrongs . This is not just nor is it fair or of God. You need to have real evidence proving the person is vile and your word is not enough to do this. The Bible tells us to investigate

Dt 19:18 The judges must make a thorough investigation

We do not become judge jury and executioner based upon a person’s word alone, or even 20 witnesses’ words for conspiracies do take place and people are bribed and so on to lie. You need real evidence to support those words and we must be cautious with the evidence as it can be forged as well.

We do not stop a matter simply because someone produces evidence, it must be the correct evidence.

#VIII. who keeps his oath even when it hurts,

To understand how this word applies we again go to the dictionary and it tells us what the word ‘oath’ means and how it is applied:

A solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed. The appeal to God in an oath implies that the person imprecates his vengeance and renounces his favor if the declaration is false, or if the declaration is a promise, the person invokes the vengeance of God if he should fail to fulfill it. A false oath is called perjury.

An oath is not giving one’s word but when one gives their word, they are to make sure they keep it as the Bible says ‘let your yea’s be yea’s and your nay’s, nay’s. But these verses do not mean you hold someone to their word when you are to fulfilling your end of the bargain

#IX. who lends his money without usury

Usury simply means interest. Interest is something levied by the secular world as they try to get rich off the backs of those who cannot afford to pay the money. It is a dishonest way of getting rich and if you have ever dealt with banks or those who give loans, interest is the most important part of the terms.

In the west we have 15 and 30 year house loans and when the bank charges interest on the amount it loans over that 30 years you end up paying 5-10 times the amount of the purchase price of the house. it all depends upon the interest rate they place on the money you are borrowing.

This is not fair, just nor does it help the people borrowing the money. It keeps them as slaves for 3 decades to the bank and that is not right. Loan sharks are even worse as they place higher interest rates on the money they lend out than banks are allowed to do.

They are looking to get rich off those they help and it is not of God to do so. Lending money with interest rates attached is doing wrong to one’s neighbor.

#X. and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

God protects the innocent and again we must make sure we are innocent for our declaration that we are innocent may not be truthful or correct.

We are not to harm the innocent or bring false charges against them for they have done nothing wrong. We need to stand up against those who seek to hurt those who truly are innocent of any wrong doing for we may be charged of some offense even though we did not commit the crime. We do unto others as we would like to be treated and if we do not like to be accused or punished for something we have not done, then we do not help those who want to hurt innocent people nor do we hurt innocent people in any way.

The second definition of the word innocent in Webster’s dictionary says it best when it defines the word:

Free from guilt; not having done wrong or violated any law; not tainted with sin; pure; upright. In this general sense, no human being that is a moral agent, can be innocent.

Conclusion:

So what is the end result if someone does all of these things? God provides the answer in the last line of Psalm 15 as he says:

He who does these things will never be shaken.

The word shaken there may confuse some people but if we look to some other verses which use the same word we can get a better idea of what is meant here.

Ps 21:7 For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken

Ps 112:5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Ps 112:6 Surely he will never be shaken;  a righteous man will be remembered  forever

Ac 2:25 David said about him: I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Heb 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe

2Pe 1:10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,

In other words we will survive and last. When we turn back to the original question that God answers

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?  Who may live on your holy hill?

We see that those who do all that we have just examined get to live with God forever and are not banished to hell. They will not be removed and will have a home in heaven forever. That is our reward for being blameless, righteous, speaking the truth, doing no wrong to anyone and so on.

God rewards those who obey his commands and instructions; he does not reward those who do not. We have example after example of God punishing sin and disobedience but we never have an example of him going back on his word and depriving those who obey him of any reward nor does he punish them for the joy of punishing them.

God does not violate his word and when he tells us to be blameless then we know he is blameless; when he tells us to be righteous, we know he is righteous; when he tells us to speak the truth in our hearts we know he speaks the truth from his heart and on it goes down to not hurting or taking a bribe against the innocent.

We know that God does not do this thus when we meet these requirements honestly we know that God will not go back on his word and hurt us or take a bribe against us. He will bring us to his home, his holy hill and let us live with him forever…

Let us pray…

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Posted by on May 2, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, education, faith, family, leadership, theology

 

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