Read 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.
This psalm, albeit short, packs a serious punch and shows a stark contrast from the previous chapter. Psalm 14 outlines a description of a fool–one who mocks or denies God. Psalm 15, on the other hand, shows the life of a godly person. David begins this psalm by essentially asking the question, “What does it take for a person to be in a close relationship with God?”
He then goes on to answer his own question. He says it’s important to live blamelessly and to act righteously. Someone following God closely must live according to God’s standards. David then upacks this idea even further by listing out eight more characteristics of godly living. Someone who closely follows God:
- Speaks the truth sincerely.
- Doesn’t slander others.
- Does no wrong towards their neighbors.
- Doesn’t use slurs or harmful speech towards others.
- Honors those who pursue and fear the Lord.
- Keeps his or her word (even when there’s a cost to it).
- Doesn’t take advantage of the weakness of others. And,
- Doesn’t accept bribes or bring hardship on others.
Reading that list, it’s easy to see how this psalm is as relevant today as it was when David wrote it. According to 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, if we are believers in Christ, we are to be ministers of reconciliation who bring the Good News to a world that needs to hear it. We are supposed to be Christ’s ambassadors. How do we do that? We embody the characteristics David laid out above. We are truthful. We rise above petty squabbles or disagreements (social media included). We don’t take cheap shots at people, even if we disagree with them and we believe we’re right. We don’t take advantage of anyone. We keep our word, even if it hurts us. We conduct ourselves in a manner that is consistent with God’s will and the Gospel. That is the ministry of reconciliation and this is what makes an unbelieving world believe.
- Of those characteristics listed above, which stuck out to you the most as an opportunity for growth? Why do you need to grow in that area?
- Which one stuck out to you as one you are doing well? What makes you believe that?
- How can you more effectively be a minister of reconciliation today? What is one practical step you can take before the sun sets tonight?
“When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world… Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity.”
– C.S. Lewis