Psalm 15: Heart Check
A psalm of David.
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.
Have you ever been with a group of friends, just hanging out, laughing, and cracking jokes when all of a sudden, someone says something that is hurtful or mean? They say they are just kidding, but the whole atmosphere changes because you can all tell they have been holding that in for a long time and they aren’t really joking. It hurts. Their words reveal what they actually feel or their true character. They are revealing what is going on in their heart. Either way, the offender and the offended probably both need a heart check. When I say heart check, I mean talking some time to pause and consider how your actions have impacted those around you. Most of you don’t have cars yet, but a heart check is part of regular maintenance, like an oil change. When you take time to pause for a heart check, you might notice that some things can stay the same, but others need to change.
This psalm starts with David posing a question about the type of person that will dwell with God. This psalm is a hymn that looks at what the ideal worshiper of God would be like. Let’s be clear, ‘ideal’ does not mean that if you don’t always, perfectly live up to these standards that you don’t get to dwell with God or worship Him. No one is perfect. God doesn’t expect you to be perfect. God does want you to check you heart, to check your motivations and treat others with love and respect. Think about the golden rule in Matthew 7:12:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
So, let’s break it all down. Verse 2 describes someone whose walk is blameless, does what is righteous and speaks the truth. Overall that is pretty general. Do what is right and be honest. I think we can all agree that doing what is right and being honest are good virtues or characteristics. Verses 3 through 5 give us a little more detail. What is interesting and I learned from my study bible is that these more specific details are matters of character that go beyond what the laws of the Pentateuch require. They are aimed at promoting the well-being of other members of Israel, the people of God, by speaking honestly (v.2), by protecting their welfare and reputation (v.3), by promoting their holiness (v. 4), and by seeking justice above personal gain (vv. 4c-5b).
Challenge: Do a heart check. How have you been treating the people around you? Your probably stuck at home with family, but also think about your interactions with friends, teachers, and others on-line or virtually. Do you have anything you need to apologize for? Is there something that you want to try to do differently? Take time to write it out. Write out a letter of apology and give it to the person you are apologizing to. Write out an action plan for how you want to handle things differently in the future and share with a small group leader, close Christian friend, or parent and ask them to hold you accountable.