By Steve Wickham
Ever since I came to truly know Christ, I've always loved the psalms. They're so real and so raw. They cut through all the garbage and get down to brass tacks. Take for instance the psalms of lament. Fifty three (53) of the 150 biblical psalms are psalms of lament (complaint); mainly complaint to, or even about, God.
One of my favourite psalms (not a lament psalm though) is Psalm 15. This offering reminds us of what it is truly like to be a good person; a good Christian even.
LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.
Those who do what is right even though it costs them in terms of friendship. Those who choose not to bear ill in their hearts towards others, let alone audible complaint. It's what's in the heart that's most important. It's also referring us to hate the 'vile' people, but to truly defend and honour those who revere God. How often do we pick popularity over this? Choosing to laugh at a dirty joke, or inappropriate behaviour.
It refers us to keeping oaths and promises we make no matter how much it hurts. We don't charge interest on loans to friends, and we are to be careful not to fall into the temptation of selling the innocent down the road of the 'ripped off.'
For the person who can do these things, a rish reward of faithfulness awaits. They will never be shaken. Best of all those who do this, prove their faith by the quality of their works, can truly claim a home with God. They can rest "and be at ease, without fear of harm." (Proverbs 1:33b)
Perhaps the best news is the new covenant. Who can claim to be blameless? The new covenant of grace fills all the gaps, and presents us white as snow, so long as we don't give up and continue trying to grow. I think a commitment to growth, fairness and justice is required to be a person of Psalm 15 ilk.
Copyright © 2008, Steven John Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us.