Psalm 15


Who May Dwell with God?
A Psalm of David

Psalm 15:  The question (v.1) and answer (vv. 2-5) may reflect the ancient practice in which the worshiper inquired about conditions of entrance to the sanctuary, and a priest responded.  As a poem of David, it may simply reflect his meditation.  This psalm provides an excellent description of the life devoted to God.

1  Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in your holy hill?

Psalm 15:1  who may abide?  Regards God as  a Host, expressing hospitality.  Who may dwell?  Refers to the more formal aspects of worship in the temple.  Both questions indicate communion and fellowship with God.

2   He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;

Psalm 15:2  Three Elements of good moral character.  Uprightly translates the Hebrew word meaning “whole, wholehearted, complete, perfect, blameless.”  Righteousness calls for right actions and relationships.  Speaks the truth is correspondence with reality.  Right Ritual is not mentioned at all.  Unless the heart and life are right, religious behavior is worthless.

3   He who does not backbite with his tongue
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

Psalm 15:3  Backbite:  malicious talk about someone who is not present. / Evil:  A force that opposes God and his work of Righteousness in the world. / Reproach: address (someone) in such a way as to express disapproval or disappointment.

4   In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

Psalm 15:4  Vile:  morally bad; wicked / despised:  feel contempt or a deep repugnance for / honors: regard with great respect / Fear: a feeling of reverence, awe, and respect.

5   He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent

He who does these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 15:3-5  The Specific actions of one who enjoys fellowship with God include both what is done and what is not done.  Neither is enough without the other.

Psalm 15:5 Usury:  charging of interest on money that has been loaned.  The old testament prohibited charging usury to fellow Israelites; their need was not to become an opportunity for profit. / Bribe:  payment, such as money or a favor, given to people to induce them to act dishonestly.

Psalm 15:4, 5  swears to his own hurt:  Keeps his word even when it is not to his advantage.  never to be moved:  The person described in this Psalm has learned the secret of abiding in God.  No trouble will be able to move him or her out of that sheltering presence (see 91:1, 2).

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