It’s God’s desire for us to love Him and to love others, just as Jesus instructed. It won’t “earn” us a spot in heaven, but we know it’s important to Him.
Psalm 15 reads like this:
“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.”
Though we cannot earn a place in heaven—that is secured only through faith in Jesus Christ—this psalm teaches us many of the things that are important to the Lord God Almighty. We are to walk blamelessly before Him, doing what He instructs us to do. That is what is right. Not only must our words be right and true, even the contemplations of our heart must be right. We may be able to fool others, at least for a time, but we can never fool God. He knows our aspirations, our motives, and our most secret desires.
Jesus said we are to love God and love others. This psalm teaches us that this has always been God’s desire. We must not malign others, neither in word nor in deed. We must guard our friendships diligently.
Love our Enemies
We may wonder what the psalmist meant when he said we are to despise a vile person, but remember what I said a few days ago? There are those who have no desire to submit to God. They are not interested in pursuing truth. They only care about themselves.
But we must also remember that only God knows who these people are. He has redeemed countless numbers of people who were written off by society—even by family and friends. Remember the tax collectors and prostitutes Jesus held up as an example to the religious leaders of His day because they had accepted John’s testimony that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah? We must not be hasty to pass judgment on another.
To be honest with you I think we can despise the sinful behaviour of others, but I think our responsibility is to pray for them. After all, in Matthew 5, Jesus instructs us to love our enemies. The psalmist lived many years before the Lord Jesus walked the earth. God hasn’t changed, but our understanding of His plans and purposes has.
Love Other Believers
Even so, the directive that follows, that we are to honour those who fear the Lord, hasn’t changed. The Bible has much to say about how we are to interact with our fellow believers. After all, they are members of the same family, the family of God, and fellow members of Christ’s body. Amazing!
As is the case in so many other places in God’s Word, we learn from this psalm that we are to respect and caring for those who are in need. We must not take advantage of those who could benefit from our help.
Teach our Children
Though these words were penned long before Jesus walked the earth, there is much we can learn from them and much we can teach our children.
We must diligently study God’s Word. There is no other way to learn what God defines as blameless, right, and true.
We must prayerfully examine our hearts. If what we find there does not honour and glorify God, if it does not line up with the Scriptures, we must ask Him to purify us to the very core of our being.
We must be careful to speak words that glorify God and encourage and build up others. Though we can apologize for hurtful, angry words—and the Lord is often gracious to bring healing to broken relationships—we can never take back those words once they’ve left our lips. And in this day and age of social media and instant messaging, we must be especially careful not to simply text or post the first thing that comes to mind. Even if we don’t mean for them to cause lasting pain and heartache, that is sometimes the result.
Not only must we be careful what we say to one another, we must also be careful about what we say about one another. Over the years, I have spoken far too many hurtful, unkind words about others. I am thankful that the Lord God has enabled me to do much better in this area, but it is only by His mercy and grace that I have many close and lasting relationships.
Though I rarely follow world news, when I do, it gives me many reasons to bring both the oppressed and the oppressors before God’s throne of grace. And even though there will be conflicts among believers, it is crucial that we seek to maintain the unity that Jesus prayed would mark out lives. All fellow Christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ; they’re family.
Every day we meet those who are hurting and in need. May we be eager to reach out to them with the love of the Lord and refuse to take advantage of them in any way.
If you have enjoyed reading this post and wish to send us a comment or share a prayer request, please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.
Images courtesy of: