In Psalm 15, David shows us who is fit to be pleasing to God. I had a general physical and check up on my 30th and 40th birthdays. I’ll have to say I was more pleased w/the results of the first one. Surprisingly, I found out that I should exercise more, eat less and weigh less. While I didn’t like what I heard, I heard what I needed to hear. Though I’ve taken the exercise advise more seriously than the eating advice, I know that my physical health depends on my compliance.
Psalm 15 is a fitness test regarding our spiritual health. What does it take to please God in my morality and ethics?I find it interesting that what the Lord puts in His battery of tests is surprisingly difficult, and many good people, even basically good Christians, fail miserably at some of them. But if I don’t want to be shaken (5), I need to submit to this check up.
To dwell on the Lord’s holy hill, I need…
- Properly working arms and legs (2-3). The Lord sets forth an agility test for us.
- We must walk with integrity (this refers to our character, a matter the entire book of Psalms begins with (1:1). We live so that the person we see in the mirror is one we can legitimately admire as wholesome, honest, and honorable).
- We must work righteousness (this refers to our conduct, how we treat others and deal with them. Are we one people love or dread to see, and are we seen as a cutthroat, back-stabber, and ankle biter or as one who portrays the godly life of Matthew 5:16?).
- A strong heart (2). No conditioning test is any good that doesn’t check the heart. God requires truth in our innermost part (Ps. 51:6). A strong heart is a sincere one, one that makes us genuine and transparent. You won’t hear one thing in public but something contradictory in private, but you’ll get consistent truthfulness. One who tells you one thing but lacks sincerity and truth is not one who is going to pass the heart test.
- A healthy mouth (3-4). Isn’t it amazing how much time God spends examining our mouths. Even the heart test is connected to the mouth (2). An untamed tongue is an audacious, destructive, reckless, condemned thing (just read James 3:5-10). Every one of us, to one degree or another, would be mortified if we could hear a recording of the things we’ve said—in anger, gossip, malice, slander, and dishonesty. Particularly, the Psalmist says “slander” will keep one from the temple. This is an epidemic problem, made worse by the presumption we have that our speech is covered somehow by an exemption. Slander is sinful—it discourages good works because people get gun-shy of criticism, it kills morale as a backbiting atmosphere is unpleasant, and it hinders relationships because it destroys trust. A tongue can lead a beautiful prayer, teach an amazing Bible class, preach a beautiful sermon and sing like the angels—only to be heard whispering backbiting words, running someone down, or criticizing someone.
- Excellent eyesight (4). No routine exam is complete without looking at the eyes. The righteous sees the wayward as God sees them. He doesn’t excuse or defend them as they willfully engage in sin. He sees the evil as God sees them. That doesn’t mean the righteous won’t try to spiritually win them, but he doesn’t condone them as they live without contrition.
The Psalmist calls for an overall clean bill of health. The spiritually healthy keeps his word, doesn’t take advantage of the needy, and doesn’t betray the innocent. This is an exam we must pass. How is your spiritual health in light of this heavenly health check?