Photograph by Carl Waltz-this is a place in Wisconson called Holy Hill. So striking, I had to share!
Psalm 15 is all about who will be allowed to live in the house of the Lord. It is basically a guide as to how we should live if we desire to please the Lord and ultimately, one day, ascend His holy hill to live with Him forever.
In reading this psalm, I thought I would break it down, verse by verse, and elaborate on the meaning of each instruction that is given.
First, the question is proposed:
“Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?”
The first response is, “He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous”
Let me start by pointing out that living a blameless life does not mean that perfection is required of you. It says in 2 Peter 3:14 that we are to “make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in His sight.” Making an effort means you are trying for something, not that you have already obtained it. In addition to this, in Philippians 2:14-15 we are given further direction on how we should behave in order to be counted as blameless: “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” In other, more simple, words, be a light amongst the dark.
The second response to the question is, “(he) 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”
I would venture to say this is probably one of, if not the, hardest for most people. Because we’re not just talking about malicious words, we are talking about gossip. Maybe you’re not going around spreading lies about others but if you have ever started a conversation with, “Well I heard…” then you have gossiped, (preaching to myself here people). Whenever an uncomfortable topic comes up among friends, like another’s financial situation for example, if you feel it would be rude to correct the chatty group, simply say, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing someone’s private matters” and excuse yourself from the conversation. This one is for my fellow southern lady friends: it does not erase what you said about someone when you follow it up with, “Bless their heart.” Just throwing that one out there!
Next up on our list of responses on how to dwell in the house of the Lord: “(he) who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord.”
I would think that this is fairly self-explanatory but for the sake of making my point, I’ll add my two cents. We are not to go around praising the works of the morally corrupt. Remember, if they’re not serving God, they are serving somebody! Who do you want to give your honor and support to? Those who fear the Lord will do so by honoring Him in all that they do, in public and behind closed doors. Those who don’t, well, they’re pretty easy to spot!
This next one is kind of rough, “(he) who keeps his oath even when it hurts”
No one in their right mind would choose to do something that is painful! There will be times in your life that the commitments that you have made will be almost unbearable. This could be the sacred institution of marriage to the man (or woman) who is wearing on your nerves so bad you don’t think you can survive another moment in their presence. What about those kids you promised to raise up and train in the way they should go? Don’t try to tell this momma of five that there haven’t been days when you would gladly trade them in for billy goats! Here’s the thing about an oath, it is a solemn promise with God as your witness, that you will fulfill the commitment at all cost. Life is full of painful moments but they are not an excuse for washing your hands of your responsibilities.
Last, but most certainly not least, “(he) who lends his money without usury (interest) and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.”
If it is within your means to give, do so out of cheerful heart. If you give with the mindset of what’s in it for me or what will I get in return, then you might as well keep your “gift” to yourself. God wants us to love our neighbors and offer a helping hand as often as possible. It has been my personal experience that even when I don’t think I have it to give, when I obey the Lord, He always provides. Always.
In closing, the last verse of this beautiful psalm says,
“He who does these things will never be shaken.”
From this point going forward, I will always see Psalm 15 as my own personal road map on how to climb the most treacherous of hills in order to spend my eternity with the One who gave it all.