Psalms: God's Nurture Of The Inner Man In The Life Of Faith

XV. The Truly Righteous Life Of A God-Protected Believer

(Psalm 15:1-5)


I.              Introduction

A.    Living a God-protected life produces much-desired stability and peace, but sin removes God's protective canopy, a theme that is repeated many times in Scripture, cf. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 with 28:15ff et al.

B.    However, one must be truly upright, avoiding an artificial walk to be blessed by Him (2 Tim. 3:5, 9), and Psalm 15:1-5 provides insight on what constitutes such true uprightness in the life that God thus protects:

II.           The Truly Righteous Life Of A God-Protected Believer, Psalm 15:1-5.

A.    The introductory notes in the English Bible comprise the first part of verse one in the Hebrew text (Kittel, Biblia Hebraica, p. 985), so we stay with the verse numberings in the English Bible for clarification.

B.    Accordingly, we translate Psalm 15:1-5 as follows:

1.     "Jahweh, who may stay as a guest [among parties with whom he has no blood relationship] (gur, B. D. B., A Heb.-Eng. Lex. of the O. T., p. 157-158; H. A. W., Theol. Wrdbk. of the O. T., 1980, v. I, p. 155-156;) in Your tabernacle?  Who may dwell in nearness, closeness (shakan, Ibid., Kittel; Ibid., B. D. B., p. 1014-1015; Ibid., H. A. W., v. II, p. 925) [to You] on Your holy hill?" (Psalm 15:1)

2.     "He whose walk is wholesome, having integrity (tamim, Ibid., Kittel; Ibid., B. D. B., p. 1071), who works righteousness, who speaks the truth from the heart," Psalm 15:2.

3.     "Who does not slander (ragal, lit. "foot about," walk about slandering, Ibid., B. D. B., p. 920), who does no wrong to his neighbor, who does not cast blame upon, defame, scorn (herpah, Ibid., Kittel; Ibid., H. A. W., v. I, p. 325-326) the one near (qarob, "near" adj., Ibid., B. D. B., p. 898) him," Psalm 15:3.

4.     "Who despises with his eyes a man who ought to be rejected; a reprobate (ma'am, Niphal = passive; Ibid.,  p. 549), but he honors him who reveres Jahweh, who makes an oath to his harm and does not change, alter, exchange it (mur, Ibid., p. 558) [who makes an oath and does not change it even if it hurts himself to stick with his initial oath]," Psalm 15:4.

5.     "Who loans out money and does not charge interest [usury in violation of the Law], and who does not take a bribe against the clean, innocent (naqi, Ibid., p. 667); he who does these things will perpetually not ('olam, Ibid., p. 761-763) totter, shake, slip (mut, Ibid., p. 556-557; Niphal = passive)," Psalm 15:5.

C.    Thus, the true personal righteousness that the Lord desires in a person involves (1) living a wholesome life with personal integrity, (2) performing righteous works, (3) speaking the truth from the inner man, (4) not slandering others, (5) not wronging (6) and not casting blame upon, defaming, scorning another, (7) properly separating from reprobates who should be avoided (8) while honoring those who revere the Lord, (9) keeping one's word even if it hurts him to do so and (10) not committing wrongs in business dealings.

D.    The progression in the Hebrew text from staying as a guest at God's tabernacle (v. 1a) to dwelling in closeness with Him on His holy mount (v. 1b) to perpetually not being made to totter, shake or slip (v. 5b) emphasizes the growing security and stability one enjoys as he lives in true righteousness before the Lord.

E.     There is a remarkable clarity in human relationships expressed in verse 4a, that of utterly rejecting any fellowship with the reprobates while simultaneously honoring those who revere the Lord.  True righteousness leads one to live a life above fudging between righteousness and sin, but to part company with the wicked and instead to fellowship with the upright in heart! (cf. 2 Timothy 2:20-22)

F.     The security of the truly upright is very rewarding: verse 5b indicates that those who heed truly upright directives will continuously be made free of even tottering, shaking or slipping into insecurity in life.


Lesson: The believer who enjoys fulfilling intimate fellowship with God is one who walks in true righteousness in wholesome integrity, doing righteous works, speaking the truth from the heart, not slandering others, not wronging his neighbor, not casting blame upon, defaming or scorning him, who avoids fellowship with reprobates while honoring those who revere the Lord, who keeps his word even to his hurt and who practices good business. Indeed, such a party will enjoy lasting stability and security in his life due to God's ongoing reward.


Application: To enjoy a stable, secure way of life as a believer, (1) may we trust in Christ to be saved, John 3:16.  (2) Then, may we live by the Holy Spirit's power (Galatians 5:16-23) truly upright lives as expressed in Psalm 15 that God might bless us with His fellowship and provision of continuous security and stability.