Summary: This Psalm brings together belief and be behaviour in an unbreakable partnership. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: email@example.com)
(A). The Question Asked (vs 1)
• Who may dwell in your sanctuary? (1a)
• Who may live on your holy hill? (1b)
(B). The Question Answered (vs 2-5)
• Right Conduct (vs 2a)
• Right speaking (vs 2b-3)
• Right relationships with others (vs 4)
• Right use of wealth (vs 5)
• Life is full of unanswered questions:
• i.e. Do one legged ducks swim in circles?
• i.e. If the cops arrest a mime artist:
• Do they have to tell him he has the right to remain silent?
• i.e. How come Superman could stop bullets with his chest,
• But always ducked when someone threw a gun at him?
• i.e. Why do pubs and clubs advertise ‘live’ bands?
• i.e. Why is there only ONE Monopolies Commission?
• i.e. Why is ‘Abbreviated’ such a long word?
• i.e. If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet,
• What happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?
• i.e. Why is it that when a person tells you there's over a million stars in the universe;
• You believe them, but if someone tells you there's wet paint somewhere,
• You have to touch it to make sure?
• i.e. Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?
• i.e. If a man speaks and there is no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?
• TRANSITION: Some questions are humorous;
• Some questions are insightful and more demanding.
• A friend once asked Isidor I. Rabi,
• A Nobel prize winner in science, how he became a scientist.
• The Rabi replied that every day after school;
• His mother would talk to him about his school day.
• She wasn’t so much interested in what he had learned that day,
• But she always inquired, “Did you ask a good question today?”
• Isidor I. Rabi said:
• “Asking good questions made me become a scientist.”
This Psalm starts off by asking an insightful challenging question:
(A). The Question Asked (vs 1)
“LORD , who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?”
• Many commentators believe:
• This Psalm was written when David had been meditating on the events;
• Depicted in 2 Samuel chapter 6 verses 12-19 and 1 Chronicles chapter 13 verses 1-13.
• That was the occasion when David brought the Ark of the Covenant:
• From the house of Obed-Edom to the 'City of David';
• The Ark of the Covenant was a rectangle box.
• Made out of a special type of wood and overlaid with gold and carried on two poles.
• It contained the two stone tablets (10 Commandments);
• And Aarons rod which had budded.
• It was kept in the most holy place in the tabernacle or temple.
• Symbolically – it represented the presence of God.
• Unfortunately during the journey from the house of Obed-Edom to the 'City of David';
• It was placed on a cart and the oxen which were pulling the cart stumbled;
• This caused the Ark to topple.
• And to save it from falling to the ground,
• A man called Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark;
• And he was immediately struck down dead!
• I guess our natural reaction is to say;
• “Poor old Uzzah – tried to do something helpful and was rewarded with death”
Yet, the writer of 2 Samuel explains why this took place:
• It was 'because of his irreverent act' (2 Samuel 6:7).
• God had given very clear and specific guidelines regarding the moving of the ark.
• David knew that the Ark was to be carried by priests and Levites;
• And only priests and Levites – not any Tom, Dick or Uzzah!
• And it should not have been transported on the back of a cart;
• Our good intentions do not over ride God‘s clear instructions!
• To some extent David’s own negligence had brought about this tragedy;
• It was a lesson he would not quickly forget (e.g. 1 Chronicles 15 verse 2).
• And from that moment on only the Levites carried the Ark.
• As you might imagine this incident made a lasting impression on David.
• It was something that he would never forget!
This experience may well be the background to the writing of both Psalm 15 and 24.
• In the light of the awesome holiness of God;
• “Who can approach him, let alone live close to him?”
• A leading newspaper that carries a daily column designed to answer readers’ queries,
• Listed the top ten unanswerable questions. Here’s one: