Who may abide in Your tent?
Psalm 15 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
3 He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the Lord;
He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
In today’s psalm David raises the question, he speaks of the qualifications of those who would abide and dwell in God’s presence. He lists integrity as the first qualifying characteristic. Certainly a quality that is becoming harder to find in our culture and society. The second thing he lists is works of righteousness. David understood that man, in his natural condition was not fully righteous. In Psalm 14:13 he says: They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. Again in Psalm 53:2-3 he says: God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Still, for David, righteousness was seen as a qualification, a requirement for abiding in God’s presence. Fortunately for us, who no longer live under the old covenant, where righteousness was measured by the law, we instead are given the righteousness of Christ. Speaking of Abraham’s faith in Romans 4:22-24 Paul says: Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. We are credited with the righteousness of Christ through our faith and belief in Him. Likewise in 2 Corinthians 5:21 it says: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus, the righteous one, took on our sin, that through Him we might be seen by God as righteous.
Still, we do have a part to play in that. In Romans 13:8-10 Paul speaks of the need for believers, those who have been given the righteousness of Christ, to fulfill the law. He says: Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. This part of Paul’s encouragement and instruction would fit well with the doctrine that the world and some of the church embraces today, that only love matters. But Paul continues, in verses 11-14 he says: Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. As believers we must choose whether we will put on the righteousness of Christ. To put on Christ we must lay aside deeds of darkness. Paul says we are to make no provision for the flesh in regard to lust. Does that mean we will never fall to temptation and sin? Of course not, we all struggle with temptation, but in the areas we know we struggle we should be careful to make no provision, to not make it easier for that temptation, that lust to overcome us.
In today’s text the psalmist continues with the characteristics and qualifications of abiding and dwelling with God. He ends saying: He who does these things will never be shaken. In Psalm 91, the psalmist expands and expounds on the benefits of abiding and dwell in the Lord.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down. “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
“With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.”
Who today, in these turbulent and trying times, in these times filled with violence, strife and turmoil, could not use that kind of protection and provision? You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. That’s the assurance we have in Christ, the ability to dwell and abide in the presence, protection and provision of God. Christ’s righteousness is credited to us, given to us by the grace and mercy of God if we believe, if we receive the finished work of the cross of Christ.
Yet to walk in the fullness of God’s protection and provision, we must ourselves choose to make Him our dwelling place and our abode. We cannot fill our tents with the darkness of the world and expect that the plagues of the world will not affect it. We cannot party with demons and expect the angels of God to protect us. We cannot play with the serpent and not expect to get bit. All of the protection and provision of dwelling and abiding in God’s presence is ours. It has been made available to us in Christ Jesus. Still we must choose to put on Christ and His righteousness. We must choose to lay aside the deeds of darkness.
The psalmist asks: O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? The answer is those who believe in Christ, those who choose to walk in His way.
Thank You heavenly Father for the
protection and provision that comes in Your presence. Thank You Lord Jesus Christ for taking on my sin that I might instead become clothed in Your righteousness. Holy Spirit guide me, empower me to live and walk in the fullness of all the blessings of God’s
abiding presence. Amen