Psalm 15: The One Who May Dwell With the Lord
The Psalmist asks in Psalm 15, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who
may dwell in Your holy hills?” This is a question it would be good for us to
consider today. Who can dwell with God? And who may be worthy to enter the
house of God? While David wrote asking who might be worthy of entrance into
the literal tabernacle of God, we should realize the qualifications of
entrance into the spiritual tabernacle of God are no different than those of
this Psalm. If we could meet the standard here, we would be pleasing to God
and be able to enter and dwell with God in His house — the church.
Let's take a brief look at Psalm 15 and consider whether we meet the
qualifications of entrance into God's house. Let us strive to meet those
qualifications, if we do not already, and fight to live steadfastly in them,
The One Who is An Example to All. (v. 2)
The description of the acceptable one in this verse basically tells us that he
is one who walks in the righteousness of God, does those things which please
God, and is one whose life is served from the heart — not superficially.
Living righteously means a lot more than just practicing righteousness [though
that is certainly required]; it also means departing from that which is evil (Prov.
16:17). One cannot practice righteousness and unrighteousness and be accepted
This man stands as an example to all others because he lives righteously, but
also because that righteousness is not merely a superficial, outward
righteousness. Let us not forget that Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness
exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means
enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). If our righteousness is merely
outward, God knows [though men may not] and He will not accept us. Remember
also that God condemned those who honored Him with their lips while their
hearts were far from Him (cf. Matt. 15:8, 9).
The One Who Can Be Trusted By All. (v. 3)
The acceptable one is also one who is known for how he treats his neighbor. As
he is described here, he controls his tongue, he genuinely loves his neighbor,
and he is one who will treat others fairly; he will not speak words or even
listen to words that make slanderous accusations against a friend. Because of
his steadfast refusal to engage in these destructive efforts, others will
gladly trust him as one who will not stab them in the back when it is
advantageous to him, or even for his own self-preservation.
More disciples of Jesus Christ need to make great efforts in living as this
man, for our world is ever becoming a place where a man’s word means nothing,
there is always someone ready to “dish the dirt” on someone they once
considered a close friend [or even family], and many people think nothing of
doing evil to their neighbor simply because they think that, if they don’t,
their neighbor will do it to them. [Get them before they get me!] We need to
be people of integrity and trust because, as we go out into the world to try
to save the lost, if they cannot trust us because of our behavior, it is
fairly certain they will not trust that we are speaking the truth, either —
even if we are.
The One Who Puts God Above All. (v. 4)
This man also stands out from the rest of the world [and, thus, acceptable to
God] because he makes a clear distinction between the person of vile character
and the one who fears the Lord, and is one who keeps his word, even if it
means he is the one who will suffer for it, doing so because he understands
that is what the Lord expects of him (cf. Prov. 20:25; Eccl. 5:4, 5). He is
truly “a man of his word”!
This man is accepted by God, also, because he will not make himself friends
with those of the world (cf. Jas. 4:4) simply because of the possibility of
personal gain or favor, or because of the evil man’s standing in the world. He
truly hates evil and loves good (Prov. 8:13) and he is not afraid to call evil
“evil” and good “good” — no matter what the current society’s standards are.
For the same reason, he will vocally and openly welcome and praise those who
fear the Lord and who likewise seek to do good and live righteously, though
society may frown on those who so live, or even vilify and mock them and their
ways. He chooses to stand with the righteous, and is a true friend of the
The One Who Is A Friend to All. (v. 5) God
also looks favorably on this man because he is not living life to get the most
out of everyone else for the sake of his own comfort and pleasure, and he does
not seek to gain advantage over others unfairly. He, again, is a man of
integrity and one who may be trusted to help in time of need, not one who is
looking for another way to gouge the needy and take them for everything they
have. When he helps others, it is simply to help them — not a means of
enriching himself materially and/or financially.
His integrity is solid and he cannot be persuaded to “look the other way” in
matters of justice, but will consider only the facts and render judgments with
equity and with a desire to do right in all things. It may not win him favor
with the evil or the wealthy or the powerful, but he will be blessed by God.
Does this psalm describe us? If not, what are we going to do about it?
By Steven C. Harper
From Expository Files 18.6; June 2011