2004/ 04-13

Psalm 15
The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the LORD

A Psalm of David.
1 LORD, who may abide [dwell] (1) in Your tabernacle?
        Who may dwell [live] in Your (2) holy hill? 
          2He who (3) walks uprightly [blameless],
           And works righteousness,
           And (4) speaks the truth in his heart;
        3He (5) who does not backbite [slander] with his tongue,
           Nor (6) does evil to his neighbor,
           Nor (7) does he take up a reproach against his friend;
        4In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
           But he (8) honors those who fear the LORD;
        He who (9) swears to his own hurt and does not change [keeps his oath];
        5He who (10) does not put out [lend] his money at usury [interest],
           Nor (11) does he take a bribe against the innocent. 

        (12) He who does these things shall never be moved [shaken].


  1. Ps 27:5, 6; 61:4
  2. Ps 24:3
  3. Ps 24:4; Is 33:15
  4. Zech 8:16; Eph 4:25
  5. Ps 50:20
  6. Ps 28:3
  7. Ex 23:1
  8. Acts 28:10
  9. Judg 11:35
  10. Ex 22:25; Lev 25:36; Deut 23:20; Ezek 18:8
  11. Ex 23:8; Deut 16:19
  12. 2 Pet 1:10


Psalm 15 may be classified as a ceremony at the gate, because it raises the question of who may enter the sanctuary to worship Yahweh.  The psalm is written in the form of a question and answer.  The question may have been posed by the worshiper who wanted to worship in the sanctuary.   The answer would come from another person, perhaps a gate-keeper who reminded the worshiper of the requirements and determined what each worshiper was there to do.  

The psalm lists ten qualifications for the person who may enter the sanctuary and fellowship with the Lord.  This number of items was chosen to match the ten commandments, the standard of God’s righteousness.  The average Israelite would not  normally violate the ten commandments; but these items on this list would hit closer to home.  And so hearing them recited at the gate, the Israelite would be reminded that he needed to bring a sacrifice to find entrance into the region to have communion with God, because he may not have fulfilled these descriptions.  Psalms like this set the standard for communion with God; if people wanted to be welcomed by the Lord they had to live like the Lord.  If they did not think they had anything to confess, then a psalm like this would open areas of their lives to be considered.

> The people of God must examine their lives when they enter His presence to worship Him (vs. 1)
>  The people of God must be perfectly righteous to commune with the Lord in worship (vs. 2-5)
          – The one who may abide with the Lord is completely righteous (vs. 2)
          – The one who may abide with the Lord lives a life of integrity (vs. 3-5)
>  Those who live righteously will be safe and secure in the Lord (vs. 5)

The Israelite would quickly learn what it would take to be pleasing to God and to find acceptance in His holy hill, Zion—perfection!  But that is what God commands; he always requires the highest standard to be followed. 

In time, with spiritual growth, these could be met.  They are do-able, even though they seem so insurmountable.   But a truly devout person could very well become obedient to these things.

Likewise in the New Covenant the same standard is laid out for us:
“Be perfect!”

Of course, when people initially come to Christ and hear that unless they are perfectly righteous they will not see the kingdom of heaven, they quickly learn that Christ died for them and has already given to them the Spirit of God, and so they have been declared righteous.  But throughout life when believers enter the sanctuary, especially to have communion together with the Lord, they also are reminded that they must be perfect, and if not, to confess their sin before going a step further.  It is just that important to be right with God. 

In many ways Psalm 15 is saying what Jesus said,
“If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love” (John 15:10).

About jlynne

[conversations are key.] View all posts by jlynne

One response to “2004/ 04-13

  • OnMyKnEeSb4hiM

    after having studied psalm 15 (above) this week, it made it somewhat difficult to worship on wednesday night (in a good way!)…. just made me think more about the words.  i had a hard time singing, “worshipping”, knowing that i was not someone who was blameless.  i guess it’s good to think though that Jesus came in order to wipe it all clean.  i am blameless in Christ.  still… it’s hard to “sing” about His amazing love and what He did on the cross, when I know that I didn’t NEAR deserve it… and i still don’t deserve it.  learning to become blameless before the Lord in order to worship fully is going to be a tough walk for me…
    “teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth…”  ~psalm 83

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