David’s Psalm 15 begins with two questions, both of which David answers in the verses that follow:
“Who may worship in Your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter Your presence on Your holy hill?” (Psalm 15:1, NLT).
David’s first answer: “Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts” (v. 2).
Can anyone lead a “blameless” life? No. But each of us can lived ‘fessed up and seeking to please and honor Jesus.
David then says that those who “May worship in [God’s] sanctuary” and “enter [His] presence” are: “those who refuse to slander others or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends” (v. 3).
Many of you probably grew up hearing the same thing I did: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” If you, Jan and Melissa are friends and Melissa has no problem low-rating Jan to you, don’t you realize she has no qualms doing likewise to you when she’s talking to Jan? We need not ever think that having a “buddy” to whom we can confide our criticisms of others is a good thing. It isn’t. And if you’re that confidante someone is dumping all their criticisms on, you need to politely tell them that you don’t want to hear negative things about anybody.
David also answers his question with: “those who despise persistent sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord and keep their promises even when it hurts” (v. 4).
Did you catch that word “persistent?” All of us mess up; and when we do, we need love, understanding, support, encouragement and forgiveness. But a person claiming to be a born-again believer in Jesus Christ who is “persistent” in sin is someone you need to steer clear of.
We should mostly definitely “honor the faithful followers of the Lord.” But David doesn’t stop with that statement. He says those who “may worship in [God’s] sanctuary” and “enter [His] presence” are also those who “keep their promises even when it hurts.” Being a Christian isn’t a matter of convenience. Dying on a cross wasn’t convenient for Jesus Christ, and neither should we expect our lives to be ones of convenience. Don’t make excuses for breaking “promises.” Be known as a person whose word can be trusted.
David adds a final group to those he identifies as the ones who “may worship in [God’s] sanctuary” and “enter [His] presence:” “Those who do not charge interest on the money they lend, and who refuse to accept bribes to testify against the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever” (v. 5).
See that word “interest?” It reads as “usury” in some translations – in other words, exorbitant interest. Hopefully none of us “accept bribes,” but how often do we put a price “on the money [we] lend?” Oh, you may not charge actual “interest,” but do you find other ways to hold it over the person who borrows from you? Do you drop subtle or not-so-subtle hints that So-and-So owes you?
If you’re helping, not enabling – two completely different animals – then do so as discreetly as possible. When someone borrows from you, keep it between the two of you and the Lord. And if that person truly needs help and it’s within your means to do so, don’t accept repayment. Be a blessing. Who knows when you may be the one in need?
“A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.” (Robert Frost)