We’re all ready to start studying a new Psalm, Psalm 15. Let’s read it together:
A Psalm of David.
1 YHVH, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
2 He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
3 He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear YHVH;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
We know that David wrote this Psalm, but it doesn’t say when or why he wrote it. It is very possible, though, that David wrote this Psalm some time around the date when the Israelites moved the ark of YHVH to Jerusalem.
The first time he attempted to move the ark, David didn’t bother to consult YHVH’s directions given to Israel by Moses. Even though YHVH’s Torah expressly forbid it, David and his men carried the ark of God on a new ox cart (instead of on the shoulders of the priests). Then when the oxen stumbled and a man named Uzza reached out his hand to hold on to the ark, YHVH killed Uzza. Why? Because YHVH’s ark is holy, and the Torah said that no one, under any circumstances, was to ever touch the ark.
Thankfully, when David made a second attempt to move the ark, he consulted the Torah and did it the right way. (You can read about it in 1 Chronicles 13 and 15, as well as Numbers 4:2-15.)
David learned the hard way that YHVH is holy, and he writes about the holiness of God in this Psalm. As I’ve written elsewhere, to be holy is to be set apart; special; a person, item, time or place that has the quality of being unique; separated from the rest for a special purpose (source).
I think it would be wise for us to take a look at some character traits that are exhibited in the lives of holy people, so that we can evaluate our own lives. Are we set apart from sin, from uncleanness, and from the world?
I’d like to quote a passage of Scripture from Isaiah:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw YHVH sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is YHVH of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
YHVH of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
Also I heard the voice of YHVH, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:1-8).
The question raised by both David and Isaiah is, “Who can approach God?” It’s very easy for us to lapse into thinking that we are all welcome to come into God’s presence, when in fact the Bible says that YHVH is so holy, “woe is us” if we try! We should never have a flippant or disrespectful attitude toward our holy and righteous God, nor should we ever think that we have rights or that He owes us anything. No one is holy, and no one may approach God!
But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
And there is no one who calls on Your name,
Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us,
And have consumed us because of our iniquities (Isaiah 64:6-7).
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others (Ephesians 2:1-3).
There is only one who was righteous enough and perfect enough to approach God, Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God. If you have time this week, you might enjoy reading through the book of Hebrews, where over and over again, Yeshua is shown to be the perfect High Priest, the only mediator between God and man, and the perfect sacrifice for our sin. And halleluYah, by grace through faith, we can be conformed into the image of Yeshua!
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:29-30).
The Ruach haKodesh, which is Hebrew for the “Holy” or Set-Apart Spirit, gently works in our lives, taking out the evil nature that will always be present in us in this life, and replacing it with God’s holiness. His goal is to make us set apart, too.
God didn’t save us for nothing; rather, we are created in Messiah Yeshua for good works! God has big plans, holy plans, for our lives, and the work of the Holy Spirit and of the Word of God in our lives enables us to change and to become as set apart (holy) as God is set apart (holy).
So we’re going to begin looking at Psalm 15. Our question is going to be
YHVH, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill? (Psalm 15:1)
Who is worthy to come close to God’s tabernacle? Who can approach YHVH on His holy hill? We don’t dare be so easy-going that we think that we can just waltz into God’s presence, or that He will allow sin in our lives to go unnoticed.
We need to repent of sin and become true followers of Yeshua. We need to be conformed into His image by grace. He has created us for good works, so we’re going to spend the next few weeks taking a peek at the holiness that should be in all of our lives.
Assignment: Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. Take special note of verse 31!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.