Good morning. Please be praying for the services today. Let’s pray for the children and their Sunday school lessons. Let’s pray for the worship service that people would be enabled to get on and participate.
We return to the psalms today and look at chapter 15. David writes as if this were a question and answer session between he and the Lord. David asks the question in v1 and the Lord gives the answer in vv 2-5. I’m going to try to look at some general thoughts about this psalm.
- In v1, what’s the significance that David uses the word sojourn?
- I was struck by his question using this word sojourn which has the idea of a temporary abode. Abraham sojourned amongst the Canaanites and dwelt in tents. He was there for a long time but he was an alien all his life. So, why does David use this term to speak of his relationship to the tabernacle?
- The OT saint didn’t have the same relationship to the Lord that the NT saint has. As we’ve said in the past, the tabernacle/temple actually excluded worshippers. There was a sense in which it revealed God but it concealed Him more than it revealed Him. The only person who was ever allowed to enter the Holy of Holies was the high priest and he could only do it one day per year. The priests and the common people, including the king, were never able to go into that part of the sanctuary. They were guests at best in the tabernacle.
- For us as Gentiles, it was even worse. We were without God, without Christ and without hope. Our ancestors had no access whatsoever.
- So, it’s striking that the OT saint could only speak of a temporary visit to the abode of God. That was incredibly wonderful, but incredibly limited at the same time.
- What’s the significance of the Lord’s answer in vv 2-5 focusing upon the keeping of the Law towards the neighbor rather than towards God?
- Again, I’m struck by the fact that the Lord’s answer says nothing at all about the relationship of the worshipper to Himself. He doesn’t say, it’s the one who has no other gods or keeps the Sabbath or doesn’t use my name in vain. Instead, the whole of vv 2-5 are relationships between one man and another. This doesn’t mean that the first four Commandments of the Ten are not important. God certainly puts a great emphasis upon idolatry in the OT. But the picture here seems to be that the evidence of loving God is our love for man. The man who is truly God-focused will be man-loving as well.
- When we fall into idolatry, we will exalt self to the throne and this will cause us to push others down. When I’m the center of my universe, anyone who threatens my throne will be punished. I’ll get angry or I’ll do something to punish that person for his usurpation of my kingdom rights.
- But when God is on the throne of my heart, I’ll be others-focused. This will be evidenced by my integrity towards others as is described by these verses.
- Summarize the characteristics of vv 2-5. What area do you feel you need to work on?
- V2 deals with integrity and transparency—he does right and he speaks truthfully as opposed to saying things that are said with another meaning or involve flattery. He simply does right by others and even what he says is true and right.
- V3 deals with seems to emphasize our use of the tongue—these aren’t clearcut divisions in that there’s overlap, but this verse seems to put more emphasis upon our speech. We speak no evil—we don’t slander and we don’t gossip
- V4 talks about loving those whom the Lord loves and hating those He hates. It’s relational. My friends are God’s friends and my enemies are His. I think this explains the so-called imprecatory psalms—where David calls down judgment upon his enemies. If David’s enemies were God’s enemies, then calling down judgment is merely calling for God to be consistent with His character.
- V5 deals with our use of our finances. They’re not used unrighteously in any way but are used for the help and needs of others.
- For me, I always find the concept of speaking carefully the most challenging. It’s way too easy for me to talk about someone instead of talking to them.
- What is the significance that the only human to ever fulfill this entirely is Jesus?
- Perhaps this is part of the reason that David spoke of sojourning at this tabernacle. We all fall very short of these standards. The best of humans fails God and his neighbor often. We don’t love God with all our hearts or our neighbor as ourselves. At best, we keep these sometimes but are in constant need of restoration with both God and man.
- But Jesus kept all of these perfectly. He’s the only man who always did that which pleased the Father. Even on the cross He was careful to fulfill the Scriptures entirely even expressing His thirst to fulfill the Scriptural prediction. He was born under the Law and kept the Law perfectly and entirely.
- That is important for us because He’s our righteousness. Every sin we’ve ever committed was placed upon Him when He became sin for us. And every righteous deed He performed became mine when the righteousness of God was placed to my account.
- The significance of this is that I don’t sojourn in God’s tabernacle. If we can cross-reference this to Ephesians 2:19-22, I’m no longer an alien but a citizen. In fact I’m a member of God’s household. In fact, I’m not a sojourner at His temple I am His temple. Why? Because in Christ I’m fully accepted as Christ is accepted. I’m fully righteous as Christ is righteous. I’m fully God’s child as Christ is His Son. Therefore, we boldly enter the Holy of Holies as those who belong there. Wow!
- Pray Psalm 15
- Dear Lord, we are absolutely amazed at your amazing grace and at your amazing plan of redemption. As we look at this psalm we realize how very far we fall short. There are many times Lord where we have been less than integral in our dealings with others. We’ve often been selfish and not focused upon our neighbor—we can’t honestly say we love our neighbors as ourselves. We’ve used our tongues to slander or to entertain gossip instead of to heal those who are hurting. And we’ve even loved those you hate and criticized those you love. We’ve not always used our finances in a Biblical way.
- But Lord, your Son has fulfilled your Law perfectly and your word says that His righteousness is now ours. We stand absolutely complete in Him. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made Your righteousness in Him. Wow, Lord, what a Savior! Lord we bow in adoration before you wondering at your amazing salvation.
- Now, Lord, we want to have our practice be more in line with our position. While we’re thankful that we have access to your throne room through Christ, we want to live in such a way as to be consistent with our position. We want you to feel at home in us as Paul prayed for us in Ephesians 3. We want you to be at home in your temple instead of indwelling us but being a stranger in your own temple. So, Lord, purge us from the things that don’t please you. Cause us to rather place you more and more upon the throne of our hearts that you deserve and have purchased. Remove our sinful desires to be king and to give us the humility to place you rightfully on your throne.
- We pray now for…
Your Thoughts or questions?