What does someone who is close to God look like? – This weeks Psalm just might surprise you in how it describes a spiritual person.
Psalm 15 (NIV)A psalm of David.
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?
[First] 2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous,
[Second] who speaks the truth from their heart; 3 whose tongue utters no slander,
[Third] who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others;
[Forth] 4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD;
[Fifth] who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;
[Sixth] 5 who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things will never be shaken.
INTEGRITY. Who gets to draw near to God? Those who speak true words (verse 2), but in love (verse 3) and generosity (verse 5). Those who are transparent, honest, and faithful to their word, not always changing their minds (verses 4 and 5). If we deceive, vilify, and flatter, if we make empty promises and overblown claims, we cannot expect God’s presence in our lives. This standard not only challenges us but also reminds us we can go to God only through his grace. No one but Jesus ever lived with perfect integrity (Hebrews 4:15), but because he is our Savior, we can go in to God (Hebrews 4:16).
Prayer: Lord, the sins of my tongue are so many! Forgive me for talking too much (because of pride), for talking too little (because of fear), for not telling the truth (because of pride and fear), for words that are harsh and cutting, for hurting others’ reputations through gossip. Purify my words with your Word. Amen. – Tim Keller
Hebrews 4:15–16 (NIV) 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
The opening, double question of the psalm inquires regarding who may enter into God’s presence. The references to your tent (be?ohole??; cf. 61:4; 91:10) and your holy mountain (har qo?še??; cf. 2:6; 43:3; 48:1; Isa 11:9; 56:7) positively identify the location as the temple. The concept of the tent as God’s abode predated the temple, reflecting the tradition of the ark being kept in the tabernacle, but the term continued in use even after the more permanent temple was built. The reference to the mountain (cf. 48:1) — Zion in Jerusalem — assures that the psalm has the temple complex in mind. Interpreters should take care not to overread meaning into the verbs gûr (sojourn) and š??an (dwell). The petitioner is not asking to dwell permanently in the temple — nobody dwelt permanently in the temple, although the practice may have been known at other sanctuaries (cf. 1 Sam. 3:1-9) -Nancy Declaisse-Walford
It is interesting to note, however, that Psalm 15 does not focus on these forms of physical preparation for and style of worship. Instead, it emphasizes the twin aspects of personal integrity and appropriate relationship to others. The one who is ready to enter God’s presence is not the one who has taken the prescribed ritual precautions or who knows how to adopt the requisite outer attitudes of worship. Instead, the one who lives a life of transparency, where one’s inner thought is reflected truly in speech and deed—such a one is ready to meet God. The kind of worship envisioned here breaks out of the confines of temple and Sabbath to infect the rest of the week and all of life. It is aware of God’s presence day by day and not just at prescribed moments of worship. Here life becomes a form of worship in which ordinary human activities and relationships are invested with uncommon sacramental character. Honest words become the embodiment of our prayer, and loving relationships exalt our God in praise. Martin Buber, the Jewish theologian known for his loving and challenging exposition of the faith of Hasidic Judaism, speaks of a way of life in which common human acts are transformed into significant service to God by the intention to live that act as a part of God’s restoration of creation. May we see God present in all our common moments of life and enter his presence as we intentionally dedicate our thoughts, words, deeds, and relationships to the restoration of his kingdom. – Gerald Wilson
Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 86. WE HAVE BEEN DELIVERED FROM OUR MISERY BY GOD’S GRACE ALONE THROUGH CHRIST AND NOT BECAUSE WE HAVE EARNED IT: WHY THEN MUST WE STILL DO GOOD?
A. To be sure, Christ has redeemed us by His blood. But we do good because Christ by His Spirit is also renewing us to be like Himself, so that in all our living we may show that we are thankful to God for all He has done for us, and so that He may be praised through us. And we do good so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ.