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Psalm 15 – The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the Lord

BOOK ONE Psalms 1–41

This short but excellent Psalm is to show us the way to heaven. It’s to convince us that the way to this happiness, is the way of holiness and honesty. Christ, Himself is the Way, and we must walk in Him as our way which is also given in Matt. 19:17. “If you desire to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Psalm 15 – A Psalm of David

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbour, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honours those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change. 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.

Henry says – The Psalm starts with a very serious and weighty question concerning those who are to be the Lord’s people (Ps. 14:1): “Lord, who shall abide in Your tabernacle? Let me know who shall go to heaven.” Not, who by name (for the Lord alone knows those who are His). But: “What kind of people will You own and crown with everlasting favours?” It is a great privilege to be a citizen of heaven, an unspeakable honour—not all are so privileged, but only a remnant. Men are not entitled to this privilege by their birth and blood. But according to how men’s hearts and lives are, so will be their lot.

Lord what I shall I be and do?

We should all put this question to ourselves, ‘Lord, what shall I be and do, that I may abide in Your tabernacle?’ Luke 18:18; Acts 16:30. This is addressed to God Himself. Those who would find the way to heaven must look up to God and take direction from His Word and seek direction from His Spirit.

In the tabernacle of the Old Testament, God manifests Himself. There He meets His people. Who shall dwell in this tabernacle? Who shall be accounted as a true living member of God’s church? Many pretend to have secured a place in this tabernacle who really have no part in it. It is the happiness of glorified saints that they dwell in the holy hill; they are at home there and shall be there forever. We should be concerned as to who shall dwell there, that we may ensure that we have a place among them.

Without sincerity, there is no faith

Those who desire to know their duty, with a resolution to do it, will find the scriptures a very faithful director. Here is described the characteristics of a citizen of heaven. He or she is one who is sincere in their faith: He walks uprightly, according to the condition of the covenant (Gen. 17:1), “Walk before me, and be perfect”, “and then you will find Me an all-sufficient God.” The man or woman of God is really what he or she professes to be. They can be approved of God, in their integrity and in all they do. Their conversation is consistent and they endeavour to fulfill the will of God. They may have spots but do not paint over them. He is an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceitfulness, John 1:47; 2 Cor. 1:12. Without sincerity, there is no faith.

They are conscientiously honest and just in all they do. Faithful and fair to all in all their dealings. They work righteousness and walk in all the commandments of the Lord. Speaking what is the truth they dare not to tell a lie, but walk in righteousness and truth. They abhor the gains of injustice and fraud and believe that no good bargain or saving can be made that has come from a lie. If they wrong a neighbour they realise that in the end they will have done the greatest injury to themselves.

Do as you would have others do to you

They attempt to do all the good they can to their fellowmen and protect the reputation of others, Ps. 14:3. He does no evil at all to his neighbours, does nothing to offend or grieve his spirit. But walks by that golden rule of ‘do as you would have others do to you’. They are especially careful not to damage their neighbours good name. Others would make nothing of this. But if anyone does not bridle their tongue then their faith is vain. They know the worth of a good name, and therefore will not backbite, or speak evil of anyone. The faults of others they will not make the subject of conversation, much less a point of ridicule.

They speak of others only for edification making the best of everybody, and the worst of nobody. When someone’s character is smeared, they give no credit to it. But instead frown upon a backbiting tongue, and so silences it, Prov. 25:23. If they be given a character slur of their neighbour, they will disprove it if they can. If not, the slur will die with him and go no further. His kindness covers a multitude of sins.

They are not moved nor disturbed

They value men by their virtue and godliness, and not by the income they make in the world, Ps. 14:5. A rich man’s wickedness is not thought better of: In his eyes a vile person is scorned. Wicked people are vile, worthless and good for nothing (so the word signifies). They are vile in their choices (Jer. 2:13) and in their practices, (Isa. 32:6). In their judgment of them they agree with the Word of God.

Despising their gains, good people pity the wicked, (Isa. 33:15). They despise their society (Ps. 119:115; 2 Kgs. 3:14). Though taunted and threatened by them they are not moved nor disturbed. They see their impotent malice as feeble efforts (Ps. 2:1, 4), and will shortly triumph in their fall, Ps. 52:6. God despises them, but knows those who fear Him. He surmises that serious godliness, wherever it is found, puts an honour upon a man, and makes his face to shine. More than wealth, or humour, or a great name among men ever can.

He desires their friendship

God honours the godly and esteems them very highly in love. He desires their friendship, conversation and prayers. He pleads their cause and speaks of them with respect and rejoices when they prosper. Even when they are gone, their memory is held in honour by Him. By this we may judge ourselves in some measure. What rules do we go by in the judgement of others?

To prefer a clear conscience before any secular interest or advantage whatsoever. If they promise to do anything, though afterwards realises it will cost them, yet they adhere to it and do not change, Ps. 14:4. See how short-sighted even wise and good men can be. They may swear to their own hurt, which they were not aware of when they took the oath. How strong their sense of obligation is, that a man must rather suffer loss to himself than wrong his neighbour. A promise is a sacred thing, which we must not play fast and loose with.

The grace of God shall always be sufficient

The true citizens of heaven will not increase their wealth by unjust practices, Ps. 14:5. Not by extortion: He will not put out his money for interest, that he may live at ease upon the labours of others. If he be able to improve things by his own hardwork, he will. They will freely lend to the poor and not be severe in recovering that which God provided for him in the first place. There will be no reward taken against the innocent. If they be employed in the administration of public justice, they will not, for any gain to themselves, do anything to the prejudice of a righteous cause.

The Psalm concludes with a clarification of the character of a citizen of heaven. He is like Zion-hill itself, which cannot be moved, but abides forever, Ps. 125:1. Every true living member of the church, like the church itself, is built upon a rock, which the gates of hell cannot prevail against. They who do these things shall never be moved. The grace of God shall always be sufficient for them, to preserve them safe and blameless for the heavenly kingdom. Temptations shall not overcome them, troubles shall not overwhelm them, nothing shall rob them of their present peace nor of their future bliss.

In singing and praying over this psalm we must teach and admonish ourselves and one another of the characteristics of God’s people. May we never be moved from God’s tabernacle on earth, and may we arrive, at last, at that holy hill where we shall be forever out of the reach of temptation and danger.

Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary

 The Faithful Remnant
  
 The humble and upright, a remnant
 I will leave with you.
 Those who trust in the name of the Lord
 No wrong will they do.
  
 They’ll be a living seed in a dead world;
 No lies will they speak.
 No deceit will be found in the mouths
 Of the humble and the meek.
  
 Who shall terrify the Lord’s flock,
 When He is near?
 They will eat and lie down
 No one will make them fear.
  
 By the late Andrew Feakin 
 [passed away 16th March 2019]
   

Prayer & Declaration

Father I come to You. I thank You that Your Word is truth and it is life. I pray that I be counted worthy to be a citizen of heaven and I look to You and take direction from Your Word to find the way there. May Your Spirit guide me into all truth. I pray that my faith be sincere and that I would walk uprightly. May I be one who really is all I profess to be. Let my life be approved by You in my integrity and in all I do. May my conversation be consistent and may I endeavour to fulfill Your will. Where I have spots, I pray that by Your grace I be moulded more into Your image. I know that You are an all-sufficient God.

May I be conscientiously honest and just in all I do. Faithful and fair to all in all my dealings. I pray that I would walk in Your commandments and speak only what is truth. Let me always walk by that golden rule of ‘do as I would have others do to me’. May I be especially careful not to damage anyone else’s name. Help me bridle my tongue, that I will never backbite or speak evil of anyone. I will not ever make the faults of others a topic of conversation, much less a point of ridicule.

May my face shine from a life of serious godliness

Whenever I speak of others may it be for edification making the best of everybody, and the worst of nobody. When someone’s character is smeared, I will give no credit to it. But instead let me frown upon a backbiting tongue, and so silence it. May my face shine from a life of serious godliness.

I pray that my relationship with You take absolute centre stage. That our friendship, conversation and prayer life grow in intimacy. May I prefer a clear conscience before any secular interest and always honour a promise given, even when it is to my own cost. Cause me to freely give to the poor for I know that Your grace shall always be sufficient for me.

For in being as such, I know You will preserve me safe and blameless for the Heavenly Kingdom. Temptations shall not overcome me, troubles shall not overwhelm me, nothing shall rob me of my present peace nor of my future bliss.

Help us to teach and admonish ourselves and one another of the characters here given of God’s people. May we never be moved from Your tabernacle on earth, and may we arrive, at last, at that holy hill where we shall be forever out of the reach of temptation and danger. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 15

God is Love!

2 thoughts on “Psalm 15 – The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the Lord”

  1. Thankyou. An incident from my childhood when my father insisted we honour a promise to someone & it hurt us badly. My rabbit was expecting babies but only one was born. He was beautiful, tame & we loved him but my father said we had to give him away because we had promised. What was worse was they hadn’t actually WANTED him, they had “agreed” to take him. A very different thing. He was left in a cage, no longer taken out & lonely & he caught mixamatosis from wild rabbits & died horribly. BUT WE HAD HONOURED THE PROMISE. I have never forgotten that & our family sticks by it. The moral? Be careful what you promise. Remember Jephithah. He promised God h w would sa office the first thing that met him when he returned home. The first thing was his only DAUGHTER.

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