Day 15: Psalm 15

Psalm 15: to be blameless & upright
Psalm 15
A psalm of David.
(1)LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? 
Who may live on your holy mountain?

(2)The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, 
who speaks the truth from their heart;
(3)whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, 
and casts no slur on others;
(4)who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; 
who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;
(5)who lends money to the poor without interest; 
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

"When you read the Psalms, do you identify with the psalmist when he claims blamelessness and uprightness and integrity and righteousness? 
Are you among the righteous, the upright, the blameless, and those who walk in integrity?"
--John Piper,

According to Piper and his blog (link below), if you call yourself a Christian, than you should answer, YES.

Hard pill to swallow? Blameless, upright, righteous are not words I would use to describe myself either. 

But after reading and praying about this, here's why I think we need to change our thinking...

When we chose Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our lives--which is really just a statement in our hearts of faith and commitment to seeking after God, allowing Him to fill us, mold us, and make us new--then we are covered by Jesus's great sacrifice on the cross, or  imputed righteousness as Piper refers to it. 

Jesus took our sin, our faults and our shortcomings, on the cross making us holy and blameless before God the Father. 

That is not what David is talking about in this psalm (and others that he wrote). He is not referring to that imputed righteousness, and not because he wasn't also covered by grace. 

Jesus had not walked the earth, performed miracles, loved the lost and poor in spirit, and taken all the sins of those who love him on the cross... yet. But David and those who walked with the Lord prior to Jesus were covered by grace in God's eyes.

David is calling himself and the people of God "blameless, holy, righteous..." 

Let us not fall into a trap and think, "wow, David thought himself perfect! He sure says he's blameless a lot, and accuses others of their evilness." 

Let's look at it a little differently. 

David claims blamelessness and integrity and uprightness as what God does to him as he [David] continues to try and walk in the way of the Lord. 

Piper says this, "the psalmists were justified by faith alone. But their faith 'worked through love' produced blamelessness and uprightness and integrity and righteousness. This was a work of the sanctifying Spirit of God. They knew it was God's work not their own."

You guys, this list above seems daunting, and I struggle with it. But through my faith and trust in the Lord, He will see me through it. If I let Him, He will make me blameless. This is not something I can do myself, and the things in this list are not something the world celebrates...making it even harder.

But God does.

David has a tough list in this psalm, and because David speaks so assuredly, we can assume he makes a habit of these character traits. He's not perfect, but his practice is to be sincere, honest, righteous, and upright. His faith that this is the expectation of God and He will do it, makes him blameless. Reminds me of another man in the Bible:

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 
Genesis 6:9
Not perfect!

Just faithful.

Faithful to the law, faithful to his relationship with God.

We mess up, of course. David did. Noah did.

The English preacher George Campbell Morgan said this, "To continue in sin is to frustrate the very purpose of God in grace. To do that is to be excluded from His tent, to be shut out from the holy mountain."

We all make mistakes. But if we "walk with God," we recognize those things and run from them, then we take back up that faith that makes us blameless and upright and righteous before the Lord.

What does the blameless, the upright, and the righteous person have to look forward to?

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? 
Who may live on your holy mountain? V1

The tent or tabernacle was the temporary, movable home of the Ark of the Covenant. It was the ancient church. Mount Zion is where David's son Solomon would eventually build a great temple for the Lord. Mount Zion also refers to God's spiritual kingdom, and the Bible is clear that, one day, Jesus will return and take physical possession of Mount Zion once more. 

My friends, the blameless can find shelter and peace and safety in the tent of God. The faithful can abide/reside/dwell or just plain MOVE IN to the house of God. And the righteous can take hope in the triumph of Jesus return to the Holy Mountain one day. 

He who does these things shall never be moved. V5 (ESV)

"He that doeth these things shall never be moved; shall not be moved FOR EVER, so the word is. The grace of God shall always be sufficient for him, to preserve him safe and blameless to the heavenly kingdom. Temptations shall not overcome him, troubles shall not overwhelm him, nothing shall rob him of his present peace nor his future bliss." 
--Matthew Henry, preacher 1662-1714

Because I am a movie nerd, I am reminded of a great quote from the Ridley Scott movie Kingdom of Heaven: an interesting story about the fall of Jerusalem during one of the Crusades. This is a line spoken from a man to his son on what is expected of a knight for the king of Jerusalem.

Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright, that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.
That is your oath.

Kind of the same. Ha! Thanks for humoring me.

Father in heaven, may we be blameless, upright, and righteous in your eyes. Show us areas in our lives where we sin or are tempted to sin and help us to overcome. Thank you for the safety of your tent and the promise of Mount Zion. Help us to persevere. Father, heal our land, protect our loved ones, and strengthen your church. Amen.


Read more on John Piper's blog here: Desiring God

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