What does it take? This seems to be a common question in regards to religion. What does it take to be accepted? What rules do we have to follow? How good do we have to be?
This is the question of Psalm 15. What does Yahweh, the God of Israel, require?
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? – Psalm 15:1
I love how the Message translation puts it.
How would you answer that question?
Many people would say those who do more good things than bad will get in. But this Psalm says more is required.
God does not simply require goodness, he requires blamelessness.
The one whose walk is blameless, -Psalm 15:2a
I might be able to claim that I am a good person or a moral person or a nice person. But could I ever make the claim that I am a blameless person?
The problem, though, is that many people stop there. I believe in Jesus. I get to go to the dinner party. Hooray!
But here’s the thing. Faith in Jesus means much more than “getting in.” If we truly understand what Christ did for us, then we will seek not only to believe in Jesus, but to follow Him. That is how we return the love that we have been given.
We have been invited to a dinner party. A great sacrifice has been made to get us there. It is a home filled with love and beauty beyond our wildest imagination.
Do we want to show up in our rattiest clothes? Having not showered for several days? With food stuck between our teeth?
Or do we want to prepare ourselves? Do we want to demonstrate, in some way, how honored we are to be there?
We can show our love and gratitude by doing “what is righteous.”- Psalm 15:2b
But what is righteousness? Going to church every Sunday? Being a prude? Following an exorbitant number of rules? Using haughty religious words that show how much we understand?
According to Psalm 15, doing what is righteous is not about doing what is religious. Doing what is righteous is about doing what is loving.
One who does what is righteous: speaks the truth from their heart; has a tongue that utters no slander, does no wrong to a neighbor, casts no slur on others; despises what is vile honors those who fear the Lord; keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; lends money to the poor without interest; and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. – Psalm 15:2-5a (paraphrased)
That is a good list to remember. And it ends with a promise
Whoever does these things will never be shaken. – Psalm 15:5b
Living a life of love can lead to heartache. We may be wounded as we try to love those who are difficult. We may not be able to get ahead the way we could if we stepped on others. But still, we can do this without being shaken. We are God’s child, an already invited dinner guest to His house. Our identity in Christ can give us the security and strength to do what is righteous.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. – Philippians 1:9-11
Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could read it and think about it, even when that is difficult.