Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
If someone today wants to know how to be saved, they might ask us: ″What do I need to do to get to heaven?″ Or: ″How can I find eternal life?″ We would then tell them the good news about what Jesus has done to win our salvation. In the Old Testament, such questions were asked a bit differently.
The Israelites believed that, symbolically, God lived among them in His temple in Jerusalem, the city on a hill. To ascend the mountain of the Lord was to enter God's presence. In Psalm 15, David is really asking: ″Who can live forever in your presence?″ Perhaps the answer David gives surprises us. But it shouldn't.
Israel was God's chosen people, rescued from slavery in Egypt and set free to be His holy nation. As long as they lived lives of holiness, they would remain in the land God had given them and live in His presence (Deuteronomy 11:8-9). The Bible regularly uses ″walking″ to describe living a life that is pleasing to God (see Psalm 1:1). David describes the relationships we are to have as we walk with one another: we speak the truth to each other and do good to our neighbours (15:3), keep our promises (v. 4), and don't exploit the poor (v. 5).
It sounds like the righteous person here is perfect (″who does no wrong″, v. 3), but it's the Bible's way of speaking about the consistency of a person's life. This is biblical faith.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives a fuller exposition of what David sings about here. Jesus teaches about the importance of keeping our oaths (Matthew 5:33-37), doing good (7:12), and caring for the poor (6:3). These are the marks of those who've experienced God's salvation and live under His rule. A life of love to others is the required response to the God of love who's been gracious to us. ″Whoever does these things will never be shaken″ (Psalm 15:5).
In Titus 1:6-9, Paul describes the qualifications for being an elder. As with Psalm 15:2, the first thing he mentions is ″blameless″ (Titus 1:6). What does it mean to be blameless, and why is this kind of life so important to God?
In what ways should our treatment of others reflect how God treats us?