Summary: The Psalm shows us six characteristics that the person who lives on God’s holy hill will examine in his/her life.
A. Process is more important than product.
Joseph Stowell who was president of Moody Bible Institute tells about chatting with a man who consults with some of the largest U.S. companies about their quality control. Because ministry is a form of human quality control, he thought he would ask him for some insights.
He said, "In quality control, we are not concerned about the product." Stowell was surprised.
But then he went on to say, "We are concerned about the process. If the process is right, the product is guaranteed."
How relevant to our Christianity.
We tend to be more oriented to the "product" of our faith than the process.
As American Christians, we tend to desire and demand products of righteousness, but give little attention to the process.
1. Psalm 15 helps us understand the process by which we are to live. We are often concerned about the product, that is have we gained eternal life. If, however, we have received God’s grace by putting our faith in Jesus, which is product, we can then live for Christ, which is process, the way his Word teaches us.
2. David wrote this Psalm and he gets at this idea by asking a two-fold question – vs. 1.
a. The first question has reference to the tabernacle, where the presence of God made his dwelling with Israel.
b. The second question has reference to Jerusalem, the city of God. By the two questions, David is asking, “who can live with God,” or “how can a person live in the presence of God?”
c. For David this matter of living in God’s presence was a high standard. Indeed the question he asks here may have come out of his own experience in bringing the tabernacle, and thus the presence of God to Jerusalem. The story is told in 2 Samuel 6.
• When David first attempted to bring the tabernacle or the ark of God to Jerusalem, they tried to move it on a cart. No one was allowed to touch the ark when it was being transported, but when the oxen stumbled and one of the attendants reached out and touched the ark in order to steady it, the Lord’s anger burned against him, and the Lord struck him down, and he died.
• David’s response was to ask, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” That is, how can we ever bring God’s presence to Jerusalem? How can anyone ever live in God’s presence? So he left the ark at a man’s home.
• Over the next three months, Obed-Edom and his entire household were blessed, so David determined to bring the ark to Jerusalem, the city on the hill. This time, they carried it as it was supposed to be moved. When it arrived in Jerusalem, they had a great celebration.
3. Yet David knew that living in God’s presence had more to do with how you live than whether the ark was in Jerusalem, so as he meditates on his experience in moving the ark, he asks the bigger questions in this Psalm.
a. This is where David differed with the rabbis, the Jewish teachers. They taught that there were 613 commandments for the Jewish people to obey if they wanted to be righteous.
b. David, though, is not concerned here about earning righteousness. This is not a psalm about justification, or salvation. It is not a prescription for being saved.
c. Psalm 15 is rather a description or reflection of how saved people ought to live. If you have received God’s grace through faith, here is way you will live.
d. This is not intended to be a formula for how to live, but representative answers to the question. The psalm, you see, is Hebrew poetry. It is much more a reflection or meditation, the same as our poetry, instead of a teaching to follow.
B. Psalm 15 is an example of Hebrew parallelism.
1. Whereas English poetry is often marked by rhyme, Hebrew poetry is marked by parallelism
2. Usually Hebrew parallelism is marked by repetition, where the first line is repeated in the next line, with a slight variation. At other times, the second line provides a contrast to the first line, and sometimes, the two lines will express the form: Not only this, but also that.
3. This is the first Psalm we have looked at where the parallelism is so prominent.
4. When we understand that Psalm 15 is written using parallelism, it is easy to recognize six pairing that each contain an independent expressing an example of how a person living on God’s holy hill will act.
The Psalm shows us six characteristics that the person who lives on God’s holy hill will examine in his/her life.