My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
We have come to a psalm that I avoided for years and now look to it for encouragement, for a challenge and for a check on my spirit. Lets read this awesome psalm
A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
As many of you who have followed this blog may remember, I spent an extended period of time in a teaching that minimized the Old Testament, and the Ten Commandments. Oh, of course it would reach into the OT for a verse here or there to support its teaching (or was it me that wanted to avoid the Law of God?)
Nevertheless, once the Lord opened my eyes to some of the contradictions I was allowing my self to believe, I avoided the Decalogue and therefore the tremendous dependency of the OT on His law. How foolish. (Consider the influence the commandments have on the NT – check out my series of posts Commandments for Christians – Introduction and Jesus on the Sabbath – Introduction)
Psalm 15 is a stellar example of how the law of God is the heartbeat of the believer. David got the New Testament life if you ask me!
A couple of points that occur to me as I sit and ruminate on this precious psalm.
To Walk Blamelessly.
I am thankful that the term is not “sinlessly”, for I know I am unable to maintain a sinless life. But when I sin, (and who doesn’t?) I am responsible for making amends, correcting the error if possible, and communicating with any offended or hurt brother of my repentance and request for forgiveness.
Speaks Truth in his Heart
Do we sometimes seek to speak the truth, or at least to avoid lying, in order to “woodenly” obey the 9th commandment. One looking to the commandments can seek to “do the minimum” or do as this man of God desires, and that is to speak the truth “in his heart”, where no one but God can see. To speak the truth in our heart is a safeguard against deceiving ourselves, a very dangerous condition per many New Testament admonitions. But again, David was describing his positive pursuit of truth, even in his own heart, where lies have no competition in the race for capturing the man’s life. He is not simply doing the minimum, but seeing the depth of the commandment, the all encompassing effect it is intended to have on the follower.
Speaking truth in his heart. A challenge and a blessing for the believer, but alas, we need to know the truth, the absolute truth found in the Word of God, and more tentatively, that subjective truth that each of us experience with our relationship with the Lord Himself. And this is where love comes in, for we must not slander another believers subjective experience, but I am getting ahead of myself!
Does not Slander with his Tongue
How often have I slandered a brother whose experience is different than mine, and yet it is obvious he is seeking to know the Word of God for his life. Too often I fear, and it can be too easily justified by my claiming I was fighting for the purity of the gospel, when in reality my heart was dark and my intentions were evil. To slander, or to backbite is a tell tale sign in my life that I am NOT acting as a believer. The red bells should flash in your head and the sirens should blare in your heart, when you catch yourself devouring your neighbor, especially a believer for whom Christ died!
Who Swears to His Own Hurt and Does Not Change
For myself, this is the big one, the one phrase that got stuck in my “craw” when I first sought to internalize this chapter. This believer is not simply keeping his word, that is had made a promise but found out later that it may not turn out as he expected, but this follower makes a pact “To His Own Hurt”
How much more Christlike could the believer be by being self sacrificing, by following through and performing his oath, knowing from the start, from before making the promise, that it would cause pain for himself.
I said earlier that David understood the New Testament life. I want to clarify that statement.
David knew his Lord.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.