Russell and Duenes

Who May Live On Your Holy Hill?

with 3 comments

Psalm 15 is a curious psalm if one reflects on it. It begins with what surely is an ultimate question: “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” In other words, who may reside in God’s presence, in His good graces?

It then describes the kind of person who may indeed dwell there, but the “list” of characteristics that point up this qualified person is not made up of qualities we would intuitively expect. Of course the person must be one “whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous.” This would mean living, by faith, in conformity with God’s law. But then it gets more specific, and includes…

“Has no slander on his tongue…casts no slur on his fellow man.” So my commonplace use of the slander and slur, so acceptable to us, is out.

“Who despises a vile man, but honors those who fear the Lord.” This seems quite uncomfortable, as we may think it odd for God to require us to despise a certain type of person. Doesn’t this smack of judgmentalism?

“Who keep his oath even when it hurts.” Wow! This one really makes me squirm. But what if it’s just easier to break my word, my contract, or my promise? What if it’s more efficient? What if it will allow me to just “get on with my life” by washing my hands of my oath?

“Who lends money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.” Who would have thought that banking practices, as it were, would come into it? So how we handle money with respect to others, particularly those in our debt, makes the list.

Much, much more could be said by way of reflection here, but one would think that there would be something explicit about sexual purity or gratitude or avoiding envy, jealousy or drunkenness on the list (though to be sure, such matters are implicit).

At any rate, I’ve read this psalm numerous times, but this time it struck from a new angle. It ends by saying, “He who does these things will never be shaken.” That sounds good. Lord, may we do these things, by faith in your Son, for our good, that we may dwell in your presence, and for your glory.



Written by Michael Duenes

December 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Posted in Duenes, Ethics, Theology

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Fascinating – when was the last time you heard a sermon against usury, anyway?

    But what always strikes me is that amongst the things God hates is *cowardice*:

    Revelation 21.8:

    But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”


    December 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    • Yes, Rev. 21:8 has always struck me, too, particularly in that “cowardice” is the first vice listed.


      russell and duenes

      December 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    • I wonder how well a book entitled What God Hates would sell?


      December 31, 2011 at 7:30 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: