Who May Dwell

“O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD; He swears to his own hurt and does not change; He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.” (Psalm 15:1-5)

The question that David is asking is one that should be of the greatest concern for all of mankind. Who may dwell in God’s Tent? Those who are not caught up in the world that we live in, those who are open to the truth of God’s Word, and those who know that this is but a small part of the life we have, and know that their greatest concern is where they will spend eternity? This should be the striving of our life to focus on being acceptable to enter into the presence of our God and Creator.

When the Christian looks to the Psalm he is almost certainly familiar with the 23rd Psalm. Psalm 15 is often chosen by the Jews as their favorite and for good reason. The Jewish are Old Testament people and it answers the question of David their great king. Another point to see in this Psalm is that the question, “who may abide” in Hebrew does not mean live in the tent of God but visiting God in His tent. In that perspective it becomes who is acceptable to come into God’s presence and has in equal tense of the present and the future.

It is essential for us to know if God will allow us to visit Him in the present time and in the time of our arrival at the gate to His Kingdom. It is also essential to whether God will hear and therefore answer our prayers. A lot of prayers go up from people but because God knows the heart of men many are just noise and He does not hear them. “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD.” (Proverbs 1:28-29) With that said this Psalm’s importance to us is that it addresses the answer to being acceptable in the presence of God.

In the answer we see the qualifications for the one who is acceptable to enter into the presence of the Lord in verses 2-5. These qualities are not completely obtainable for us but we are to strive to reach them every day of our lives. They are a model of the way we should live our life. We are on the battlefield of a great spiritual war in the heavenly places which affects the world around us. (Ephesians 6:12) It is a battle for the hearts and souls of men that Satan wages relentlessly till his time is through. Satan searches for every weakness and will exploit each and every one. We will stumble but the one who will overcome is the one who gets back up and calls upon the Lord. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Following Jesus is not a when we need Him or when we feel like, it is a commitment to continue allowing Him to life through us. If we vary or backslide from our commitment then we not only damage our testimony but the testimony of God to mankind. We are to follow Him in faith and if we do not Solomon has some words of truth we should know. “Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.” (Proverbs 25:19) The good news if we have found ourselves in this position our Lord loves us and is willing to forgive us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

As a professing Christian we are always under the public microscope. This is good as we are to be lights of truth unto the world. We are the holy priesthood and therefore to set the standard for righteous living. We walk first in the faith always ready to speak the good news of God’s Kingdom and the free gift of salvation though His Son Jesus Christ. If we show are faithfulness to His Word then people we see that we deal truthfully and we can be trusted. The faithless ones can never be trusted because no one knows if they will come through. The question for us each day is how can God trust us if we are not living in with truth in our hearts?

The Apostle Paul gives us the standard in his letter to the Corinthian Church. “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)

These words from the Apostle fits the words of David in Psalm 15. It is our responsibility in all our matters to manifest the truth in the living of our life in view of those who do not know the truth. By the grace of God we have been redeemed, by the grace of God we have been equipped to do the good work of His Kingdom, and by His grace we shall walk in His presence. We do not need to resort to secretive tactics of our own craftiness for that is using the weak power of this world. The power is in God’s Word spoken boldly with honest heart delivered in shameless love for the hearer that they may be drawn to the right choice. God’s Word is complete, as it was in the beginning, and does not need our addition or subtraction. “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

When we live His Word clearly and boldly we are making the truth of the life we have been given for all to see, whether in deed or word. We both strengthen our own conscience in the sight of our God and please Him in the same action. We should have the faithful expectancy of a child with clear transparency that none may misinterpret our motive or misunderstand our actions. There would be no possibility for the truths that we speak to be twisted from their true meaning.

There is a deceptive trick that our hearts can play on us that we watch over carefully. It is an easy avenue that Satan exploits to turn our best intention and motives against is by our over anxious desire to accomplish God’s work. First it is God’s work not ours. We are His instruments in His hands and we are to allow His power to work through us. This is how we can glorify Him by submitting to His will working through us. We speak His truth when He gives us His word, not by our coaxing or persuasive measure but by His power through the Holy Spirit. If we twist His word or remove it from its full context then we may have disabled the full intent of its truth and power. We do not know but God does the full intended use of what God has given to us. Anything less than that and we could be bearing a false witness. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)

The second verse of our text is internal, “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.” When we strive to accomplish that the externals of verses 3-5 will flow into place. We are living in the eternal perspective that we will be acceptable in the presence of God now and in the Kingdom that is soon to come. “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, October 7, 2016

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