A CALL TO HOLY LIVING
Eternal God, you are in charge and I am not. Help me to get that truth through my thick skull, to step back and trust you every step of the way.
Read PSALM 15
A psalm of David.
1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thank you, Father, that we can come to you just as we are, because of what Jesus has done. We praise you for our secure relationship with you.
Psalm 15 seems to set an impossibly high standard: a perfect life in word and deed (v 2). I once heard a sermon on this psalm which spelled out the challenge but offered little hope and – ultimately – very little gospel. Jesus was barely mentioned. I was left with an impression of an unattainable, moralistic goal.
There is a better way to approach the psalm, which is to view it through a gospel lens and think of it first as a picture of Jesus’ way of life. He completely fulfills the challenge these verses give. In thought, word, and deed, he was perfectly pure. Then – wonder of wonders – he went to the cross for you and me. Some Bible versions have ‘sanctuary’ as a translation in verse 1, but ‘sacred tent’ is more accurate. It reminds us that, at a time when people lived in tents, God came and dwelled symbolically in a tent with them, thus prefiguring the incarnation when God’s Son came and ‘tabernacled’ among sinful humanity.1 Because Jesus has come to us and died for us we really can ‘dwell’ with God for he has made his home with us. This psalm, viewed from a New Testament perspective, is full of grace and full of gospel. Jesus’ fulfillment of it is a beacon of hope for all those who put their trust in him.
Understanding this, we are ready to respond to the call to holy living; in particular, to hear the challenge to have integrity (vs 2–5). Jesus always did what was right ‘even when it hurt’ (see v 4). We are to follow his example of integrity, applying this principle to every dimension of our lives, for instance, our financial conduct (v 5). This psalm encourages us to live in ways that are fitting for those who know God.
Thank God that you can ‘dwell’ with him. Ask him to sharpen your Christian living so you become more like the one who ‘tabernacled’ among us.
Lord, I know I talk too much. Put a filter on my tongue so that my words build up rather than tear down.
1 Exod 25:8,9,22; John 1:14, Tree of Life Version
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