Friday, May 30, 2008

Psalm 15

Psalm 15

A psalm of David.

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

2 He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart

3 and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,

4 who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,

5 who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.

David starts off this Psalm with a couple of questions.

        “LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?”
        “Who may live on your holy hill?”

The word dwell can also be translated into abide or sojourn. Basically it means to live or stay in the sanctuary of the Lord. This does not refer to priests and their duties in the sanctuary; where they go in and out. This speaks to a prolonged stay, a relationship.

A plumber might go in and out of your house as he does his work but one cannot say that he dwells in your house. He is simply performing a service.

But rather the word dwell connotes some form of relationship; where one is welcome to stay.

Then David creates a list of actions, not sacrificial ceremonies or mantras to be said but rather morally righteous acts. And he lists these as the answer to his initial queries.
And so I think that it’s reasonable to assume that these listed actions are not some arbitrary list or a set of laws like the 10 commandments. David’s list is a list of actions that come from a righteous heart. And so the issue that David is addressing is not so much the actions as it is the condition of the heart.

He ends his Psalm by stating “He who does these things will never be shaken.” But again, I don’t think that it is the action of “doing these things” that will make a man unshakeable. Rather it is the balanced mind and the heart that relies on God.

All of the things listed are things that might make life easier for a person in the short run. Lying, taking usury, taking bribes, doing wrong to your neighbor for self-gain, etc. All of these things are selfish ambitions that rely only on oneself which is obviously moveable.

Who can really do all of these things? I can’t even fathom saying that my way is blameless. But what I can do is make sure that the condition of my heart is a right one.