This short Psalm answers life's most important question.
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Read Psalm 15
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 102
Q. May we swear by saints
or other creatures?
A legitimate oath means
calling upon God
as the one who knows my heart
to witness to my truthfulness
and to punish me if I swear falsely.
No creature is worthy of such honor
In this short Psalm, David asks the most important question possible: LORD, who may live with you?
This question is so critically important because dwelling with God is the relationship you were created to have with Him, just as God would come to dwell with Adam & Eve in the garden during the cool of the day before their sin resulted in eviction. But the good news is that all of history is rushing to re-establish this relationship between God and man: As the new heaven & earth are revealed in the final chapters of the Bible, a loud voice proclaims "God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them, and God himself will be with them and be their God (Rev. 21:3)."
So David's question here in Psalm 15 ought to interest you greatly. Just who exactly will God be dwelling with, and will you be included in that number?
David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, names eleven characteristics of those who will dwell with the Lord. Notice that nearly half of these traits that define godliness have to do with the words you speak!
As we come to Psalm 15 in the context of understanding the third commandment, our attention is focused on the end of v4, that those who live on God's holy mountain will be ones who "keep an oath even when it hurts."
Oaths are easy to enter into but hard to keep. Divorce is the most apparent example demonstrating that often one or both parties to an oath that was made in God's name would rather go their own way than do the hard work of keeping their promises. When that happens, the resulting pain is usually far reaching.
But as bad as the immediate effects of broken oaths are, they pale in comparison to the eternal effect of being shut out from God's dwelling place. Breaking promises - especially promises that invoke God's name - has eternal consequences!
As we noted yesterday, most people only make a few formal vows and oaths in life, but all of us invoke God's name each time we pray, which becomes an informal vow. Even people who've faithfully maintained their marital vows for decades fall far short of keeping the informal vows that are prayed to God each day.
In fact, all of us are disqualified from dwelling with God by the fact that we're 0 for 11 in meeting God's holy requirements listed here in Psalm 15.
The good news is that Psalm 15 is not about you. David is describing his offspring that would come hundreds of years later: Jesus Christ. When you trust in Christ, His characteristics become yours, and through His righteousness you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
But still you're obligated to strive to live a life defined by Psalm 15 out of gratitude for the grace that's welcomed you back into God's holy presence.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who dwells in perfect holiness;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that as you come to reflect Christ more, your daily walk will be increasingly blameless;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Timothy 4