“This is What God Expects of Me”

Psalm 15

 

 

 

 

 

Scripture:

“Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,

speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

Those who refuse to gossip

or harm their neighbors

or speak evil of their friends.”

Psalm 15:2-3, NLT

Observation:

This is a different kind of psalm than other psalms that are quite emotional. For instance, Psalms 51 and 44, which are laments, Psalm 139, which is a psalm of praise, and Psalm 30, which is a psalm of thanksgiving. Each of these poured out the heart of the psalmist to God, before others, and each of them is loaded with feeling and emotion.

Psalm 15’s not quite like those. It’s more cerebral and less emotional. It’s actually very similar to the books of Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. It is called a wisdom psalm. It aims to offer wise, practical advice to others. It is counsel; it is words to live by.

 

Let’s start by looking at verse 1. David poses a question – just one question, stated twice, in two different ways. David asks who may sojourn, who may dwell, in the tent of the Lord, on His holy hill.

What did he mean by that? And what does it mean for us today? We’ll begin by looking at what David is talking about when he says “tent,” and “holy hill.”

There are two meanings we could take from the word “tent,” two related subjects here, and I think David means both. Pay close attention to these two – keep both of them in mind. The first is the literal meaning – a tent, a temporary shelter. In particular, David speaks of God’s tent. Remember, the Jewish temple was built by Solomon, David’s son. God didn’t have a permanent temple in David’s time. Instead, Israel centered its worship on the “Tent of Meeting,” also called the Tabernacle. It was a very large tent where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. In David’s time, he had moved that Tabernacle to his capital city of Jerusalem, and placed it on the highest hill – Mount Zion. That’s what David means by “holy hill,” in the next phrase – what we now call the Temple Mount.[1] It was God’s mountain, a holy mountain, set apart for His use and kept pure for His glory. This was a place of worship – God’s house of worship. This is the first thing David is talking about here, the first thing I want you to remember: who may draw near to worship God? Who is entitled to stand before this holy and awesome God and offer Him praise?

 

The second meaning is a little broader. In Hebrew, they often used the word “tent” as shorthand for a household.[2] This came from the days when their ancestors lived as nomads, moving from place to place, and living in tents. The whole household would often share a large tent, and so even hundreds of years later a man’s household, the family which he led, was often called his “tent.” So here’s the second question I want you to keep in mind: David is, in addition to speaking of God’s place of worship, asking: who may live in God’s household? Who may be part of His family? Who may call God “Father?” Who, in short, may enjoy a close family relationship with this awesome God? And that’s closely related to the first, for what do the members of God’s household do? They worship Him! They belong to Him so that they may glorify Him!

 

Now we move into the part which defines a person which is character. That which is inside of a person will always come out when one is under pressure. A sincere heart will speak the truth because it loves a person enough that it will not exaggerate the facts nor will it seek his or her own agenda.

 

Application:

 

I find that it is good for one to compete in life but it is not healthy for one to have a competitive attitude toward another to the point that a person’s jealousy gets the best of them. When I read this Psalm it is clear to me that it is always best to be out for the success of others even above one’s own success. The moments in my life that I have gossiped about another is always when I feel that someone is receiving the blessing of something that I think I deserve. Now think about this ugly phrase…”I deserve.” This type of language comes from a heart that is given to thinking of oneself as a victim I think the question that I always must have before me is how I react when a friend has success. The person who is an acquaintance is easy to rejoice over. Can I celebrate those who are close to me? The tongue will always manifest that which is already in me. One sure way to put a roadblock in your relationship with God is to wreak havoc with your words toward another person. I cannot separate what I say in my words to how I live my words out with others.

 

Prayer:

 

“O Lord, I desire to allow your truth to do a deep work inside of me. May the words on my lips be consistent with the way that I live…even when no one is around me? Thank you God for your wisdom that is always changing me from inside/out and that in my surrender of my ambition it becomes the place of my worship. In Jesus Name, Amen!”

 

About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA
where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”

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