Psalm Chapter 15

Psalms Chapter 15 #Truth #Truth #Usury #Backbiting #Slander #Forgiveness #Righteousness

(Unless otherwise cited all scripture in this devotional is from the King James Version. I use this version because many people prefer to study from this specific version.)
Context: Who will be able to go into your Sanctuary oh, Lord?
David begins with a question, and then he answers the question in verses 2 and 3. Longman proposes that this strategy is one that is used by the writers of wisdom literature. Psalm 15 uses several biblical terms that are similar to the Book of Proverbs.  Proverbs is definitely a wisdom book

1(A Psalm of David.) LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

Verse 1: The spiritual requirements of a person who should enter into the Lord’s sanctuary are also identified in this Psalm. The words “sanctuary, holy hill, and tabernacle” are used interchangeably throughout the Bible. Ps 24:3-6;43:3; Exodus 40:34-35; Joel 3:17. For a Christian, some terms speak to their “tabernacle” too.

2 Corinthians 5:1“For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle [or our bodies] were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” And of course, our blessed hope and the finale of all things on this earth is also described in Revelation 21:3.

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”

This day is something that all of creation looks forward to. 

Verse 2: I do not know why it is so hard for us to be upright and honest with each other. We will make all sorts of excuses and decisions to hide our insecurities, human nature, avoid conflict. It is essential for us to be honest with ourselves. We must know and accept our limitations. We must be truthful with ourselves.

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 

Sometimes the truth that we tell ourselves about why we are angry, discouraged, upset is not really the truth. We do not look inward at the root cause of why we are mad at others or even upset with them.  To be truthful with one’s self requires us to be able to do what Ephesians 4:25 “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” We are trustworthy with ourselves.

Verse 3:He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

I believe that understanding the meaning of backbite will clarify the seriousness of this verse to all of us. 

Definition of Backbite

Cayce offers a succinct explanation of this term.

Is not a slanderer, a defamer, a talebearer. A backbiter is one who privately, secretly, behind a man’s back speaks evil of him, devours and destroys his credit and reputation. The word here used comes from which signifies the “foot” and denotes such a person who goes about from house to house, speaking things he should not [as in] 1 Tim. 5:13 “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” And a word from this root signifies spies. And the phrase here may point at such persons who creep into houses, pry into the secrets of families, and divulge them. And many times, represent them in a false light. Such are ranked amongst the worst of men, and are very unfit to be in the society of the saints, or in a church of Christ (see Romans 1:30; 2 Cor. 12:20).

I deliberately chose not to give my own explanation for this verse here. However, consider for a minute why would a person backbite or do evil to their neighbor or brother or sister in Christ?  If this event has occurred in your life. Remember that you have a refuge!

In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

According to Cayce “Contemned … honoreth.”  David is stating that he honors those who fear the Lord. He also honors a person who keeps their word!

5He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

The people of Israel were forbidden from charging interest to each other. God’s law put strict regulations on borrowing and lending. Deuteronomy 23:19-20 “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury.Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” See also Deuteronomy 24:10-13.

 

References

Cayce, Ken. Discover Books of the Bible. http://www.bible-studys.org/index.html

Longman, Tremper, III. 2014. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. Accessed August 16, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central.

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