This week’s assigned readings in the lectionary include Psalm 15 it its entirety.
The psalm offers some guidelines as to who may enter the Lord’s tent and who may ascend the Lord’s hill.
Some of this week’s inspiration comes from studying Barbara R. Rossing’s The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation with our Tuesday study group.
1 O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill? 2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; 3 who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors; 4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord; who stand by their oath even to their hurt; 5 who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.
For those who want to be able to dwell in the Lord’s tent (tabernacle, temple, holy place, etc.) the psalmist lays out some pretty thorough qualifications.
For those who want to ascend towards the Lord’s holy hill (tabernacle, temple, holy place, etc.) there are some rather exacting expectations.
The expectations are:
• To walk blamelessly (aka do what is right)
• To speak the truth from the heart and to never slander
• To do no evil to friends, nor reproach neighbors
• To despise what or who is wicked
• To honor those who fear the Lord
• To never go back on an oath
• To not lend money at interest
• To never take a bribe against the innocent
How are you doing on these? Are you worthy to dwell in the Lord’s tent? Can you step on the Lord’s holy mountain without fear (check out Exodus 19:12-13).
It doesn’t take much honest reflection at all to realize we have no business approaching God based on our own worthiness and purity.
When you think about the passion of Jesus so many of these expectations were flagrantly violated. And how easily we would have been complicit in the same things were we physically present: hiding for our own hide’s sake rather than staying true to an oath to never deny nor forsake the Lord? allowing and calling for evil to be done to our friend, Jesus, while taking refuge in the places and faces of wickedness? taking an expedient 30 silver pieces or so to look the other way while slander is spoken and the blameless takes the fall? The possibilities for falling down hard on the expectations of Psalm 15 are plentiful.
We can’t begin to claim any right to dwell in the Lord’s tent or to set foot on the Lord’s high places.
But then we read about God’s intentions for us in Revelation:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
We have no business going up to God but God makes it God’s business to come down to us.
We have no right to enter into God’s tent but God comes down and “dwell”s (literally tents or tabernacles) with us.
God comes to us on God’s terms—love, forgiveness, peace, hope and restoration. Because of that we have hope and strength and courage to try to live more fully into how God would have us be as laid out in Psalm 15.
God, shape us into your people. Thank you for descending to us. Thank you for making community with us. We see this so clearly in Jesus’ life and ministry. We pray that you would bring this marvelous vision in Revelation to bear. In the meantime, while we wait, stir us to live according to your will. Amen.