Psalms 15




Psalms 15:1-2, a Psalm of David. “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” The word “tabernacle” means dwelling place. When we hear the word tabernacle one of the first things that comes to mind is probably the tabernacle as mentioned in Exodus. But if you could travel back to the days of Moses, to the days when the tabernacle stood and the pillar of God’s presence rested upon it, if you could enter therein, would you be in a closer fellowship with God than you can be today? No; because the tabernacle of Moses was temporary and symbolic, but the permanent tabernacle that God has intended for Himself is man.


Psalms 8:3-5 says, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.  What a marvelous and vast creation God has made. Yet the most intimate dwelling place of God is not found in a building built by the hands of men nor among the angels, nor is it among the mysteries of outer space, but it is within man.  First Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?


Psalms 15 asks the question: who is going to be the person who will have intimate fellowship with the LORD? Who is going to be called the friend of God? In verse 2 there are three things mentioned as the answer to the question in verse one: He that walks uprightly, works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. “To walk” means to go. Men have two feet to go anywhere they use those feet to walk. “To work” means to do or to make. It is possible everywhere you go and in everything you do to always be in an intimate fellowship with God. The pillar of His presence, His Spirit, can always fill you. To succeed at this you simply have to do what is right. “Righteousness” is more than just the 10 commandments: Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not lie. It is possible to go where God wants you to go, but to not be doing what He wants you to. It is possible to do what God wants you to do and yet not be in fellowship with him. “Who shall abide in thy tabernacle?” He that speaks the truth in his heart.To speak” can mean to call and to commune. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. Repentance of sin, turning to Jesus, is the beginning of fellowship. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The continuing of that fellowship everywhere you go and in everything you do is to always speak the truth in your heart. Another way of saying this is First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Another way of saying this is Psalms 119:11, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” And yet another way of saying this is Psalms 19:1, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul…


Psalms 15:4, “He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned.”  In talking about the kind of person that finds fellowship with Christ, there is of course more than just the righteousness that is given through salvation. These next few verses list some details about the kind of things a person who is in fellowship with Jesus will do and will not do. First we have 3 things mentioned. If a person is doing these 3 things, there is doubt they are walking in fellowship with Christ. It does not mean they are not saved, but then again it could mean that. The first thing mentioned is to backbite. This word literally means, “to tread on garments about to be washed.” A synonym for this word is to slander. The words that you say about other people to other people will affect those people’s opinions and thus how they treat another person. There are people in this world who actually have turned aside from following Christ and fallen out of fellowship with Him simply because they have been slandered. The truth about slander is that it doesn’t matter even if the things you say about a person are true or not, you should never talk bad about another human being because it may very well have the result of treading on their spiritual garments which are about to be washed by either the positional or the provisional righteousness of Christ. The only time it is necessary to share bad or negative things about another human being, is first of all if they are true, and second of all only if for necessity and practical reasons the other person needs to know such information. It’s very easy to slander your neighbor. But the consequences that slander can have in a person’s life can be very grievous to them. A person who is walking uprightly will not murder other people’s opportunities with their words.


Another part of the verse say to not do evil or take up a reproach against your neighbor.  When we hear the word neighbor, hopefully the words of Jesus come to mind when He said, “Love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 19:19). The word neighbor used here in Psalms actually can be translated “near.”  In other words who is your neighbor; it is any human being who is near you at the current time. Anytime you come into contact with someone that person is your neighbor. There is a lot that could be said about what you should not do to your neighbor, but the simplest way to know how to treat your neighbor in any situation is to think of the words of Christ and apply them, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” This is a very important message. It is a principle that way too many people fail at way too often. After all, if we all loved our neighbors as ourselves, there would be no murder, no theft, no violence, no rape, no kidnappings, no slandering, no reproaching. “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? Those that love their neighbors as themselves.


Psalms 15:4 goes on to say, “In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD.” In the previous chapter in Psalms we read a verse that says “The wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted.” (Psalms 12:8) The word “contemned” literally means, “to trample under the feet.” It is the same word used when the Bible says that Esau despised his birthright. Obviously, the opposite of “contemn” would include “to exalt.” We live in a world in which wicked men are often praised and exalted. Sometimes people even attempt to rewrite history to praise leaders who in the past have committed horrible crimes of genocide. We also live in a world where to do the right thing is often looked down upon and those that do the right thing are contemned instead of honoured. Of course, this is backwards from the way that it should be. It is those that fear the LORD that should be honoured, not those that do not.  Some people shy away from Christians, avoid them as much as possible. Some societies even do whatever they can to make laws to silence the Bible to cast it out of their schools, to prevent people from praying to Jesus, and to try to make it taboo to even speak of the name of Christ in public.  How rare it is indeed to find a country in which the government stamps on its coins, “In God We Trust.”


The last part of Psalms 15:4 says “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” Jesus said, ..let your yea be yea: and your nay, be nay…” (James 5:12).  In other words if you say you are going to do something, do it; and if you say you are not going to do something, do not do it. At the same time avoid making promises if you can, because the future is uncertain. If you promise nothing, then you will never break a promise. The only one who can make promises and always keep them is Jesus. That is why His promises are so wonderful. And that is why there is an old Hymn that goes, “standing on the promises of Christ my king.” The truth about this verse “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not,” is that it can only be applied to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one that fits this description of character perfectly. Look at the last two words: “changeth not.” There are some other verses in the Bible that when speaking of Jesus give a similar terminology. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  Who swares to their hurt and changes not, only Jesus. But it is God who made the promise to send His Son to die for the sins of the World. And Jesus did indeed fulfill that promise. Romans 5:7 says, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” How many humans would sware to their own hurt and keep that promise, when those to whom they give the promise do them evil time and time and time again? No, there are none among men that could possibly fit the description of this passage like Jesus. If you want to find someone who keeps His promises, there is only one place to look and that is to the book of promises, God’s Word.


Psalms 15:5 says, “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent.” These two things cause some of the troubles and sufferings in any society. The first is putting out money to usury. This really has the idea of making an unfair profit. It includes people who loan out money to others and demand too high a rate of interest in return. And it also includes overcharging people for their material needs. God made the world and He made it with an abundance of all man might need. One reason there are so many poor is because many of those who are blessed by God to have an abundance of resources and wealth do not use them properly but horde them up and put out their money to usury. Of course, this does not mean it is wrong to be rich or to make a profit. But those who have riches should always have compassion on those who have not.


In The phrase “to take reward against the innocent” the word “reward” can mean a bribe. One of the greatest problems with this world is the corruption that occurs in governments through bribes. Bribes prevent justice and cause the abuse of power. And the result is always that the innocent suffer. The greatest example of this is the bribe of 30 pieces of silver given to Judas Iscariot for Jesus. What an example of injustice against the innocent because there has never been anyone on this earth more innocent of any crime than Jesus. Jesus never sinned. Yet the government under which he lived, both the Romans and the Jews, put him to death. They gave a reward against the innocent to accomplish their selfish, their religious, their power-hungry, and their fearful goals.


The last part of Psalms 15:5 says, “He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” It does not say He that doeth not these things. The focus should always be on the good and not the bad, the light and not the dark. What are the things you should do? Walk uprightly, work righteousness, speak the truth in your heart, honor them that fear the Lord, be a man of your word.  Lastly notice the phrase “shall never be moved.” To be moved means to be shaken, to slide, to turn aside. Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” In other words to be successful in following Christ, do what is right. If you fail, repent. And then do what is right. Then if you fail again, repent, and do what is right. And if you yet fail even again, repent, and do what is right.  





Copyright; 2011 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved