Psalm 15

Psalm 15 describes how a person must be prepared for worship before the holy God. The person who would come to worship God must be blameless. A person who is sinning against God does the very opposite of worship God. He rebels against God and declares in his being that he cares nothing for God. This psalm describes the character of the person whose worship is true spiritual worship just as Jesus describes in John 4:23: ‘true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.’ It is easy to fall into thinking that worship is simply the thing we do on Sundays in church. Paul said that our spiritual act of worship is offering ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1). Worship is primarily a non-verbal activity. It is expressed through our being. The way we act and think and feel reflects our worship for God. Whether we have truly surrendered ourselves upon the alter of absolute obedience to God is made evident in our lives. The person who worships with his lips and does not worship in his life is a hypocrite. The bible throughout warns against hypocrisy as the soul’s greatest enemy. Here is a call to worship which does not focus on singing and clapping or upon liturgy and ceremony but upon the very life of the individual. If you want to be a worshipper then see to it that you walk blamelessly. Do not let your feet take you anywhere you should not be. Do let your eye look upon anything that you should not see. Do not let your hand take what you should not have. Do not let your mouth speak lies or slander. When you say something, particularly about God, make sure you mean it: speak the truth from your heart (vs. 2). Express your love for God by loving your neighbour.

Verse 4 does not mean that you should only love the lovely. What it means is that you should not love the evildoer because of the evil he does. The psalmist has already said that we should love our neighbour and fellowman and so he is not contradicting himself here. But neither should we play down this warning and this verse can be taken on face value. There are so many warnings throughout the scriptures against the influence of people who would entice us away from God. We tend to think that any relationship is OK as long as we love the other person. But there are some relationships which for one obvious reason or another God will never approve of. The obvious example is the bond of love between a believer and a non-believer. There may also be friendships which are damaging to us. If the influence of a friend is causing us to go away from God then the friendship is defiled and must be abandoned. If this happens however it is we who are to blame. We are meant to be a good influence on others not a sponge for their bad influence. If we are to relate to God in worship we must see to it that all our other relationships are legitimate.

The worshipper is to be a person of integrity. He speaks the truth and when he makes an oath he keeps it. He does not moreover make a profit from the misfortunes of others and he does not accept bribes to do injustice. The practice of ‘usury’ (lending money at interest) in the time when this was written was not what it is today. A person who needed a loan was generally a person in distress and there were always those who were ready to exploit the poor person. It meant having the borrower in one’s power and the opportunity to charge limitless interest.

The person who lives an upright life of love and integrity is the true worshipper. Such a person will not be shaken. Here is a promise common to the psalms. The blessings of obeying God are declared again and again and assurance is given throughout that God delights in those who walk in his ways. Psalm 119 is given largely to this theme.

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