Psalm 15: to be blameless and 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.
Do you identify with this person?
Are you blameless? Righteous? Truthful? Do you only do good to your neighbor? Do you always do what you say you’re going to do?
Do any of us? Who does all these things? How can David claim this is who we should be?
As believers and followers of Jesus, this is who we should be trying to be. When we choose Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, then we are covered by Jesus’s great sacrifice on the cross. When we make that choice, the statement of our hearts is faith and commitment to seeking after God, allowing Him to fill us, mold us, and make us new, that is Grace.
Jesus took our sin, our faults, and our shortcomings on the cross; therefore, making us holy and blameless before God the Father. Some scholars call this imputed righteousness.
Imputed Righteousness: The Protestant Christian doctrine that a sinner is declared righteous by God purely by God’s grace through faith in Christ, and thus all depends on Christ’s merit and worthiness, rather than on one’s own merit (wikipedia).
David was talking about imputed righteousness in Psalm 15, but not because he wasn’t 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 in the Lord prior to Jesus were still 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 blamless a lot and accuses others of all the bad things happening. We know David was not perfect!”
Let’s look at this 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. David claims this is the work of the Lord, not his own. He was pure in heart solely because God made him so.
This list of characteristics is daunting, and not something we are capable of without Grace, without the Lord. And by the way, this list of characteristics is not something the world would see as worthy either.
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. That’s ultimate faith in God.
Sounds like another man in the Old Testament:
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 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? Psalm 15:1
The tent or the tabernacle was the temporary, movable home of the ark of the covenant. It was the ancient church of Israel. 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. 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, 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’s return to the holy mountain one day.
He who does these things shall never be moved. Psalm 15:5
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, English minister, 1662-1714
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 line is spoken from a man to his son on what is expected of a knight of 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.“(The Kingdom of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, 20th Century Fox, 2005)
Father in heaven, may we seek to be blameless, upright, and righteous in your eyes. Show us areas in our lives of sin or a temptation 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.