Summary: In this Psalm, we have the description of the perfect Man; a lovely portrait of the Lord Jesus.

March 24, 2014

Tom Lowe

Psalm 15

Title: The Characteristics of the Godly.

A Psalm of David.

Psalm 15 (KJV)

1LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.


In this Psalm, we have the description of the perfect Man; a lovely portrait of the Lord Jesus. As we read this little psalm, we are reminded of the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount because the same subjects are covered and in approximately the same sequence. In fact, you might say that this is David’s Sermon on the Mount.

Some Bible scholars see in this psalm a similarity to Psalm 24 which is a celebration of the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem by David. The presence of the sacred ark brought great prestige to the city and would therefore be an occasion that could prompt the writing of Psalm 15 which makes the probing inquiry into what kind of conduct should be expected from those who are blessed to have the presence of Almighty God dwell among them. It is also interesting that for centuries this psalm was linked to the ascension of Jesus Christ—having lived a sinless life, He passed into the heavenly realm to set down on the throne of God, at God’s right hand. David had a revelation of this happening and he would certainly be inspired to write this psalm to celebrate the event.

It is good, I think, before we begin to analyze this psalm to consider what God’s people should be:

1. A Happy People. The bringing of the ark to Jerusalem was certainly a happy occasion and it would have brought Jerusalem’s residents out into the streets to celebrate its arrival with joyful shouts of praise to God and to David who brought it there. The scene is reminiscent of Jesus entering Jerusalem for the last time and the great crowds who welcomed Him by waving palm branches and shouts of hosanna and halleluiah. Neither were the people mere spectators when the ark was carried through the city streets, but lined the route and celebrated along with David who danced before the Lord with all his might. The people were certainly conscience of this being a happy occasion. GOD’S PEOPLE SHOULD BE HAPPY PEOPLE.

2. A Holy People. If this psalm actually was the motivation for the Sermon on the Mount, it would be a good idea to review that wonderful sermon by our Lord. Christians are to be holy in the words they speak, in their conduct, and even in their thoughts; they are to be holy before God and men. “Be ye holy, for I am holy, saith the Lord.”

3. A Heavenly People. The church has associated this psalm with Jesus’ return to His Father in heaven. He is in heaven today, and someday we will be there too. Now that is really something wonderful to look forward to. I hope that you will be there too.

This psalm came from the heart of David and gives a voice to his feelings for the prophesied coming of Israel’s Redeemer; but the fulfillment of it had to wait many centuries for the birth of David’s greater and glorious Son. Jesus was the only One who could fulfill the moral and spiritual requirements expressed by this psalm. The Holy Spirit gave David the words, but the picture they create is of the Lord Jesus.

We shall study this psalm in its three parts:

I. David’s Worship (15:1)

A. A Pilgrim Worshipper

B. A Permanent Worshipper

II. David’s Walk (15:2-4)

A. His Works (15:2a)

B. His Words (15:2b-4)

1. His Secret Words (15:2b)

2. His Spoken Words (15:3-4)

a) Restrained (15:3a)

b) Righteous (15:3b)

c) Respectful (15:4a)

d) Reliable (15:4b)

III. David’s Ways (15:5)

A. They Were Fair (15:5a)

B. They Were Fixed (15:5b)

I. David’s Worship (15:1)

1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? There are two opposite concepts here.

A. A Pilgrim Worshipper

“LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?” The tabernacle of the Old Testament was a type of tent, though very large and elaborate, but here David is referring to the tent he had just set up on Mount Zion. A tent is a temporary, movable house that is easily struck and it can be quickly pitched. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob chose to live in a tent, though they were wealthy men and could have lived in a palace had they wanted to do so. They were content to live in a tent, and they were ready to move at a moment’s notice and to comply with a command from God.

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