October 29 2022
Today, Saturday October 29
The Question and Answer Psalm
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 neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; 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; 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.
From the title we know that David is the writer of this Psalm. It is generally believed that he wrote it shortly after the ark of the covenant was brought back to Jerusalem, the Holy Hill of Zion. Remember the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines when Eli was the priest and judge over Israel (1 Samuel 4:11). When the Philistines sent it back, it eventually ended up in the house of Abinadab (2 Samuel 6:3). When David became king, he brought the ark back to Jerusalem and set up the tabernacle (2 Samuel 6).
For the nation of Israel, the ark of the covenant was the dwelling place of Jehovah in the midst of His people. This is where God’s glory and presence would make itself manifest to the people of God. David set up a tent, a tabernacle for the ark and the altar of God on the Holy Hill of Mt. Zion.
In verse 1, David asked the question concerning who could enjoy the presence of the Lord. Then in the following 4 verses, he answers his own question. I read this Psalm shortly after I became a believer as a 19-year-old teenager. When I read the last verse, “He who does these things shall never be moved”, I was immediately interested in what “these things” were. I had a great desire to live a faithful and consistent Christian life and did not want to fall back into my “old” ways of living in the world. So, this is one of the first Psalms that I took the time to memorize.
The Jewish rabbis taught that there were 613 commandments for the Jewish people to obey if they wanted to be righteous, but Psalm 15 brings that number down to eleven. Isaiah 33:15-16 gives six requirements to obey, and Micah 6:8 lists three. But Habakkuk 2:4 names but one which is faith. Because only by faith in Jesus Christ can you have your sins forgiven and be welcomed into the Lord's presence (John 14:6; Rom. 1:7; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).
The psalm says nothing about offering sacrifices, for spiritual Israelites knew that it was their personal faith that brought them salvation (Mark 12:28-34). It's important to note that Psalm 15 is not a prescription for being saved but a description of how saved people ought to live if they want to please God and fellowship with Him. The list contains both positive and negative qualities, and these qualities must be present in all of life at all times.
Believers who would fellowship intimately with God must follow David's example and meet three personal requirements. The first is to seek God’s presence (v. 1). The second is to obey God's precepts (vv. 2-5a). And the third is to trust God's promise (v. 5c). David asked this question because he loved the house of the Lord (26:8; 27:3-5; 65:4) and desired in his heart to know God better and fellowship with Him in a deeper way. The priests could come and go in the house of the Lord, but David, though he was king, had to keep his distance. "Abide" means "to sojourn as a stranger," while "dwell" suggests a permanent residential status, but here the verbs are probably synonymous.
Knowing about eastern hospitality, David wanted to enjoy the benefits of being a resident in God's house—enjoying God's fellowship, God's protection, and God's provision. The word "dwell" in the Hebrew is shakan and gives us the word shekineh, referring to the presence (dwelling) of God's glory in the sanctuary (Ex. 25:8; see also 29:46; 1 Chron. 22:19; Pss. 20:2; 78:69; 150:1). David's great desire was to be with God in heaven and dwell in His house forever (23:6; 61:4), for God is our eternal home (90:1). Believers today can enjoy intimate fellowship with God through Jesus Christ (John 14:19-31; Heb. 10:19-25).
It is my prayer as we look at this Psalm that this will be the desire of your heart too!