Summary: The tongue as a deadly evil, and the proper use of it as an instrument of blessing.
Psalm 15 - read
(A Psalm of David, according to the title)
O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD; He swears to his own hurt and does not change; He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
Questions are posed by the Psalmist in v1 and answered in v2-5
The questions are twofold:
Who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?
There are two separate questions, and the same answers apply to both questions.
1. The first question is, “Who shall abide, lodge, or sojourn,” in the tabernacle?
The tabernacle was not a residence, or dwelling-place, not a place to lodge in (though people were allowed access to its courts).
It was the home of the ark of the covenant, and was the place where sacrifices were offered.
The tent, or tabernacle, was a kind of moveable temple, carried about from place to place, not remaining long in any one place.
It was a type of the church, or the people of God in this world.
When the Israelites came into the promised land, they settled for a while in a place in the lowlands that later came to be called Gilgal in Benjamin’s tribal territory.
The tabernacle was later moved to Shiloh, in the hill country of the tribal territory of Ephraim.
Centuries later, David brought it to Jerusalem.
One generation later, when his son Solomon built the temple, the old tent was stored within the new temple as a relic.
Which brings us to the second part of the Psalmist’s question.
2. “Who may dwell on Your holy hill?’
Mount Zion was called the “holy hill.” It is one of the hills on which Jerusalem was built.
Mt. Zion was where Solomon, David’s son built the temple.
The Temple was a fixed, permanent building.
However, the temple, like the tabernacle, was not a place where people lived.
The question is asked, “Who shall abide, dwell, or have his permanent residence, there?”
The temple and Mt. Zion are together a type of the kingdom of heaven, and in a larger sense, the eternal home of the saved.
It is depicted in the scriptures as the place where God dwells:
Deuteronomy 12:11...then it shall come about that the place in which the Lord your God will choose for his name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the Lord.
Isaiah 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
In Psalm 15, both questions ask—paraphrased—“who is fit to dwell with God, both now and forever?”
And thus answer is given to both of them.
Notice in verses 2-5 that spoken words are the dominant consideration in the Psalmist’s answer.
Several of the actions have exclusively to do with the mouth, while others can be considered as involving the mouth.
II. SPOKEN WORDS ARE DOMINANT
He who -
V2 - speaks truth in his heart (we shall see momentarily that Jesus taught that the mouth follows the heart)
V3 - does not slander with his tongue ... Nor takes up a reproach against his friend
V4 - He swears to his own hurt (sticks with the truth even when it is uncomfortable or damaging to himself
V5 - Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent (a bribe is most often taken for declaring an innocent person as guilty, or the guilty as innocent).
This tells me that much of what we do that makes us fit company for God’s dwelling, we do with our mouths.
Perhaps this is because much of what we do throughout life, we do by means of speaking and hearing spoken words. We are on the sending and receiving end of speech.
For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it. Matthew 8:9
To a large extent, the Centurion did his job with his mouth.
Me, in the latter years of my career. I relate to that...