While reading this Psalm, we should go back to the Old Testament times where people were afraid of God, and they did not even pronounce the word Yahweh, but only wrote it down to express His name. When the chief priests entered into the inner room with the blood he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed, he always had a question of survival in his mind. Because if he was unholy, he might possibly die in the presence of God. When Moses went to the mountain top to receive the commandments from God, God asked Moses to instruct the people not to come near that mountain and to not leave any animal grazing around the mountain else they will die. Yet, Moses survived this characteristic of God, even after seeing Him.
Who Will Survive?
LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?Psalms 15:1
Who may live on your holy mountain?
David was afraid of the Lord when He struck Uzzah for holding the ark of God. David wondered how he would survive the presence of the Ark of God? Filled with fear, he took a tricky decision to place the Ark of God in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite (2 Samuel 6:10-12). He made Obed a guinea pig, not knowing whether Obed was worthy of holding the Ark of God or not, but God made Obed worthy to hold on to His Ark. Even today, people who attempt to do great things for God might put their ministry on someone else’s shoulder when they lose their confidence. But God always fills the other person with His grace to cope with the new responsibility forcibly assigned to them. That is what happened precisely with Obed-Edom, and God blessed his house. Finally, David found six good possible reasons that might help a person live in the presence of God.
The one whose walk is blameless,Psalms 15:2a
who does what is righteous,
The Psalmist attributes righteousness to the life of a blameless person. If the person is perfect in the sight of God, then righteousness will be the outcome. But if a person is not corrupt in the opinion of men, that does not make them righteous. At the same time an upright person, might be alleged to be guilty by the society. While the kins of Moses blamed him, God testified about him as a faithful person in all His house (Numbers 12:7).
Even when people do not accept us, if we continue to live a blameless life in the sight of God, then God will testify on our behalf and confirm our service to Him with His presence through signs and wonders. A person who pretends to present himself as a good character in the sight of others cannot act righteously, but a person who submits himself to God, to be controlled by Him in all the areas of their life will have a good character with righteous actions (1 Timothy 3:13).
who speaks the truth from their heart;Psalms 15:2-3
whose tongue utters no slander,
The English dictionary defines the meaning of “truth” as agreeing with the facts. Bringing out the things lying in our hearts and revealing it is all about speaking the truth. The Psalmist had emphasized this fact in this Psalm. Unfortunately, everyone tries to project things other than facts to suppress the truth. But a person who wants to dwell in the presence of God should bring out everything that is hidden in their heart.
The police use a polygraph test to ascertain whether a person is telling the truth. The machine reads the psychological changes when a person conceals the facts. God doesn’t need any polygraph machine because He looks at our hearts. When Cain was devising a plot to murder his brother, God asked Cain, “why is your face downcast?” People think that hiding the facts of their hearts might make them look like perfect gentlemen. The more a person tries to hide the lies hidden in their heart, the more they ingeniously bring them out. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Matthew 12:34). God hates perverted and deceitful words. A person who speaks the truth doesn’t bother to talk ill of others. Even when someone accuses them with some false allegations, they will still not justify their stand because they are confident that God knows the truth.
who does no wrong to a neighbor,Psalms 15:3
and casts no slur on others;
A person who does not even think of wronging others won’t listen to the allegations people are making against a person. People who withstand the false allegations laid on them by others will have a clear understanding of people and how they harm others. Most of the time, we consider someone guilty based on the opinion of people around us. In many cases, we do not have any first-hand knowledge of the person, and we do not even bother to crosscheck the allegations people make against them, yet we go with the majority. The Psalmist warns us not to continue in these evil ways but to obtain a character that pleases God. During the interrogation of Jesus before His crucifixion, He did not justify his stand to avoid bringing the wrath of God on us rather He took it on himself. Sometimes, justifying our stand may cause damage to the image of the people who harm us.
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,Psalms 15:4
and does not change their mind;
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles with a state of being whole and undivided. We pledge to give more, but we find reasons to give less. In a revival meeting, we commit ourselves to do many things for God, but we do nothing. We make resolutions on New Year, but we don’t fulfil them. We have an unstable mind, but we don’t even accept it. In one of his Psalms, David asked God for a stable spirit. Do we have any moral principles to stand as an undivided community? Ironically, the criminals have the boldness to stand in unity when police have them dead to rights and they are never ready to betray others. Even when it hurts, they decide to stay whole and undivided. Then, if we have moral principles based on the love of God, how much more should we show our integrity to this world even when it hurts.
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.Psalms 15:5
Many people are confused about receiving interest for their money deposited in their respective banks. They arbitrate against deriving interest out of their principal money. But here, the focus is on lending money to the poor and not on the issues of receiving or not receiving the interest amount. Only a person who does not love the money can lend it to the poor without expecting anything in return, not only in the case of lending money but also in helping them in all respects. He will not expect anything from the poor, not only in the form of money but expecting the returns in any form is equal to bribery.
Whoever does these thingsPsalms 15:5
will never be shaken.
There may be two good reasons to misunderstand the whole concept. The first one is that we may wonder whether a person can adhere to all these life lessons. The second one is that some people may misunderstand that doing all these things would make them eligible for salvation. Both of these approaches are wrong. For the first question, Jesus is our answer because He lived a righteous life, not doubting to do so based on the various situations. When we look upon Jesus, we will fulfil all these criteria effortlessly (Matthew 11:29). For the second, we all know that we are saved not by our deeds but because of His grace. And it is not because of the above character that God did save us, but because of His grace. As His children, we can inherit these characteristics within us also. Our faith will not be shaken at any cost when we understand this truth. And we will be able to survive all the challenges we face in preserving our salvation.
God, help us to rely on you so that we may inherit your characteristics in us to show the world that we are your children.