Do you want to dwell in G-d’s presence and experience all of His goodness in your life? Do you want to be pleasing to Him? Psalm 15 gives us great counsel on how to make this a reality.
v1: L-rd – this is the sacred name of G-d (יְ֭הֹוָה). Jewish people do not pronounce it, but say “HaShem” (which means “The Name”) every time they see this word written. It is a name that reminds us that G-d transcends all things (The G-d who was, is and is to come).
· Abide – reside or live.
· Tabernacle – Tent. Moses, during his leadership in the wilderness, set up a tabernacle/tent as a sanctuary for G-d in the wilderness. David is wanting to know who is able to live in this place where G-d’s Presence constantly is.
· Dwell – This is a word that is different to abide. It reflects a closeness (intimacy) to the Presence of G-d.
· Holy hill/mountain – a reference to Jerusalem. A mountain/hill refers to government and reflects a degree of authority. This is a question that can also be understood as: who is going to submit to Your Holy authority? If we want to experience G-d’s Presence, if we want to be intimate with Him, then we need to be committed/submitted to His purposes. We need to reposition ourselves (by applying His principles to our lives) so we can dwell where G-d is. G-d does not have to reposition Himself to accommodate us.
v2: Walks – A walk is a way of life, a lifestyle.
· Upright can be translated innocent, blameless or pure. This is derived from relying upon and trusting in G-d.
· Works = actions or behaviour. When we make ourselves dependent upon G-d we will act or behave in a way which is righteous.
· Speaks truth in his heart: What we think we say. This portion of the verse is not only speaking about our words but is also alluding to the way that we think/meditate on the truth of G-d. It is only when we think according to the truth of G-d that we are going to experience G-d’s Presence in our lives.
v3: This verse speaks about what we ought not do.
· Backbiting with his tongue: In Hebrew these words can be interpreted as a spy who goes around collecting information (“getting the dirt”) on people with the purpose to share it with others (in the hopes to smear their name etc). We must be careful not to gossip.
· Evil – that which is against the will of G-d. satan is spoken of as an accuser – an evil person loves to gather damaging, embarrassing, shameful information about those around him.
· Reproach – Cause his friends (those he cares about, a family member etc) to feel shame. This should not be a part of our natures. We want to lift people up and not place shame on them.
v4: Despised – rejected. We must not be drawn to (influenced by) people who behave in a way that is shameful, a way that is not proper – people who reject G-d.
· Instead, we need to honour people and form close relationships with those who fear G-d – those who make G-d their priority.
· Who swears (takes an oath) to his own hurt (demise)– This is related to integrity. G-d wants us to be people of integrity. What we have said we need to do (our word does not change) – even if it is something that becomes inconvenient.
v5: In this verse someone (a fellow believer) is in a pickle and needs money and they’re asking to borrow it. When we loan to fellow believers/family/friend etc we must not charge them interest (usury).
· Does (not) take a bribe – this one is a good steward of his money.
“He who does these things” – this is a summary statement. Those who are faithful to these simple principles will not be moved!