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(Ps 15) Who shall Dwell in the Abode of God?

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Psalm 15 provides a unique challenge – Who can be the guest of God? The content of the Psalm may cause us to consider if this was used as a pronouncement at the gate of the Tabernacle and latter the Temple. However, there is no evidence to suggest this outside the content. At the very least, it is a Psalm that challenges us to be faithful in our worship in and outside the abode of God. As we consider the list we quickly realize we are not able to perfectly keep this list. Yet, as NT Christians Christ has provided a way for us to be able to enter the dwelling place of God. (Ephesians 3:11-12)

Notes & Transcripts
Introduction:
We are told in ; we are told that we have access to God.
Ephesians 3:11–12 ESV
11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
This passage not only tells us we can be confident we have access to the father;
but we come boldly into the dwelling place of God.
I am not sure we always appreciate the gravity of that point,
but serves as a helpful reminder of the privileges we have through Jesus Christ.
Psalm 15 ESV
A Psalm of David. 1 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
BACKGROUND:
Some have proposed that was used by the Priest gate guards of the temple.
There is no clear evidence to tell us that, but we can understand why they think that.
The author begins with a

The Question: Who Can worship in the Abode of God? ()

“who shall sojourn in your tent?” which is a reference to the Tabernacle.
“who shall dwell on your holy hill?” which probably refers to Jerusalem.

who shall sojourn in your tent?

(Note: )
So the question is essentially - Who Can worship in the Abode of God?
And our text gives us a series of qualifications.

The Qualifications of a Guest of God

In my opinion,
the main qualification is found in summary in v. 2.
Psalm 15:2 ESV
2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
To enter into the house of God, you must be blameless and righteous.
That is a tall order to consider.
Are you blameless and righteous?
Was David blameless and righteous?
Big answer is no - we all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.
But just in case we might think we are blameless and righteous;
David expands on what it means to be blameless and righteous.
(Note: “and speaks truth” - vav can be a simple connective, “and”, but I think based on the generality of v. 2 (blameless and righteous” this is more likely a explicative simple vav - “that is” expanding the idea of blameless and righteous. I have interpreted this passage in light of this understanding.)

a. They speak the truth sincerely (2c).

Do we always tell the truth?
Do we always tell the truth with Good intentions?
And the reality is to often we lie, fudge the truth, or tell the truth with wicked desires.

b. They do not slander (3a).

Have anyone of us spoke evil about someone?
Has anyone of us gossiped about someone - even to our fellow church family?

c. They do not cause others pain (3b).

c. They do not cause others pain (3b).
Now surely no believer of Yahweh would intentionally hurt someone
- yet isn’t that the history of Israel?
- The idea of hurting someone is malice - and doesn’t tell us not have malice.
I am afraid, that at times we are malicious people who seek to hurt others. Others in our physical family, our church family, our neighbors…
So we fail at that mark too.

d. They do not bring insults on others (3c).

NET Translation: Heb “and he does not lift up an insult against one who is near to him.”
Have your insulted someone?
Your mad, angry, hurt, frustrated, scared, … and for reason’s like those you insult those around you.
There is saying, “a hurting person is a hurtful person”.
Despite our best efforts, we often insult those around us.

e. They distinguish between vile people and righteous people (4a).

Who do you value and why do you value them?
To often, we value people who have great accomplishments, or skill, or we just find their wickedness funny.
But a true person of God values most the Godly in their life
- even if they are not the famous, the most skilled in their job, or are not the most charismatic person
They value Godly people because they value God.
We to often look at people with neutral eyes,
but may I remind you we are in a spiritual battle - and their is a difference between the Saved of christ and the rejectors of Christ.

f. They Keep Their Promises (4b).

Have you ever made a promise or a contract
- and then realized things were not going to work out the way you thought.
- it is going to cost you far more than you planned to keep your word.
Being a created people who are not unlimited in wisdom and strength - we find ourselves making promises we regret.
There is nothing necessarily sinful with making a promise - and then realizing it was not the best choice.
That is unless we don’t keep it.
Believers ought to be be promise-keepers.
I love the way the text clarifies this - “who swears to his own hurt and does not change”.
Even if it costs us; we need to keep our promises. - that defines a believer.

g. They do not lend their money with interest (5a).

This qualification is perhaps a bit difficult to understand the point - what is the significance of not lending money with interest?
I don’t think the point is we should never make interest-bound loans.
I think the point is that we should be generous and gracious with our money.
Don’t take advantage of people who are financially in despair.
In other words - be generous and gracious with your money.

h. They cannot be bribed (5b).

ILLUSTRATION:
I was surprised how often bribes were involved in the daily work of the Navy.
Not necessarily financial bribes -
but more than once I was approached that if I overlook X, then they would do something in return.
or if I made an exception here, they would make an exception there.
In other words, how can bribe someone to work outside the rules.
Often our world works off of - you do this for me, I will do this for you mentality.
May we as Christians have greater character than that.
May it be said, we can’t be bribed.

CONCLUSION:

Our text concludes with the point - if you are blameless and righteous - then you won’t be moved from the abode of God.
Psalm 15:5 ESV
5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
The challenge with this text is - who is truly blameless and righteous?
Could David keep this list? - and we know from his life he failed to live up to some of these qualities.
Could the average OT priest or temple visitor live up to these qualities?
Do we personally have these qualities?
We ought to apply this text in two ways.
We ought to examine our hearts - Do we posses the qualities of someone who dwells with God?
And if the answer is no - then let’s beg God for forgiveness, seek forgiveness from others, and turn from our sin.
2. We ought to realize we do not deserve to be in the presence of God.
As we consider this list - we realize we fall short.
Just like when we examine our lives against the 10 commandments - we find ourselves as sinful people who disobey God.
And when we consider the question at hand
Psalm 15:1 ESV
1 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
We ought to realize - we don’t have the character of someone who deserves to be in the abode of God.
Yet, as NT saints - declares we can boldly come to God.
May we not take lightly that we are blessed in ways OT saints were not -
We have the Gospel of Christ - which means through Christ alone - we receive mercy and grace to come and dwell in the abode of God.
This means, we can enjoy being in the glory of God.
This means, we can be confident we are in the protection of God.
This means, we can know God will hear our prayers.
May we rejoice with thanksgiving that as NT believers we get to be guests in the house of God.
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