Good Question, Great Answer
God Most Holy, I’m just thankful that I can come and be with You now, and every day at any time.
Read Psalm 15:1-5
A psalm of David.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“To stand in the presence of the Holy One of Israel is to change” (Richard Foster). It’s unavoidable.
The psalm begins with a good question. What sort of person can live in God’s presence, and worship him? It implies two aspects of God’s presence with his people. The word translated “sanctuary” literally means “tent” and refers to the tabernacle when God’s people were on the move, traveling on whenever his presence moved on. The “holy mountain” is Mount Zion in Jerusalem, and speaks of God’s stable presence in the midst of his people. So the opening question can be taken as implying, “What sort of person can be in your presence and worship you, whether the times are stable or changing, whether the future is more of the same or whether God is moving us on?” Those who wish to live in God’s presence need to be open to the call to strike camp!
The reply is the same whether God is moving us on or holding us steady. Those who worship God need to live lives which reflect his character. In pagan circles, worship could be reduced to a ritual, which had to be performed correctly. For believers in both Old and New Testament times, it was the rest of the time which showed that you were fit to be a worshiper. A colleague of mine used to say, “As much as you worship God from Monday to Saturday is as much as you worship God.” The psalm speaks of speech and action, and of loyalty and generosity. It portrays stability of character–someone who “will never be shaken” (5c).
In the light of the New Testament there is a paradox here. Through the cross, God invites into his presence those who are forgiven but whose characters do not yet display such qualities. As they worship, they are transformed by his grace and become more the people God wants them to be.
Do you presume on God’s grace and forgiveness when you draw near, or allow God’s grace to challenge and change you? Ask if any change is needed.
Father, my prayer is that worship will be a strong “want to” in my life, not a weak “ought to.” Create in me a fresh hunger for You.