Sun shining behind the cross

Psalm 15 – Who May Abide?

 March 12, 2024

Our psalm for this week begins with another beautiful question, Psalm 15 – who may abide in God’s tent? I’ve been reflecting on this as my husband and I have been dealing with some health challenges, the hymn “Abide with Me,” resounding in my heart.

Psalm 15

The writer of Psalm 15 begins with the question:

“O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy mountain?” (1)

He then answers his question:

“He who walks with integrity and practices righteousness, who speaks the truth from his heart, who has no slander on his tongue, who does no harm to his neighbor, who casts no scorn on his friend, who despises the vile but honors those who fear the LORD, who does not revise a costly oath, who lends his money without interest and refuses a bribe against the innocent.” (2-4)

The writer goes on to state:

He who does these things will never be shaken.” (5)

Such a person will not be shaken, will remain firm in their faith.

The Requirements to Abide in God’s Tent

It is interesting to note that the requirements listed say nothing about what a person believes, but everything about how they conduct themselves in society. Again, the tongue is referenced as in many other Psalms. This is someone who recognizes evil and avoids it, honoring those who fear the Lord. He is fair in all of his dealings.

It’s quite a list, especially coming from David, the accredited author. David certainly knew his need for forgiveness, as is evident from the penitential psalms attributed to him. If only someone so virtuous may enter God’s tent, what about the rest of us? Is there any hope for us? Or is it that our standards have fallen so low that such behavior seem unattainable? That lies and taunts have become so common place in our society that it is hard to imagine anyone who refuses to be mean and slanderous? Is it so hard to speak the truth?

What Does it Mean to Abide?

The word abide appears many times is Scripture. It refers to staying close to God, but even more, inviting God into our very beings, where God can take up residence.

Jesus tells us: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4)

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9-11)

Other translations say, “Make your home in me.”

In John 14:23 we hear – “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will follow My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.”

Beautiful images of God, dwelling within us. God’s love entering deep into our beings. All you need do is be open to God’s love. If you are living in God’s love, then you can’t help but be kind to all you meet, seek after the truth, and walk in righteousness as required in Psalm 15.

Psalm 15 – Who May Abide?

Who may abide? Everyone. All who are willing. You only need be willing to accept God in your heart. God has a place for all of us.  We can’t enter if our hearts are hardened and unwilling to accept God’s love and mercy. But God can soften the hardest heart.

As I go through the many challenges of life, the words of the hymn by Henry F. Lyte continue to resound in my heart:

“Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

… In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.”

Who may abide? You. The door is open.

Does God dwell in your heart? If not, why not? Are there areas that need to be softened?

This post is part of a series on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and receive a free copy of  Still Dancingthe second book in my Dancing through Life Series.

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