Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.”
Psalms 15:1-5 NLT
What a great Psalm! This is one of my personal favorites. Who can come into the very presence of God with confidence? The godly. Now this isn’t speaking of people who think they are better than anyone else. However, it is speaking of those who strive to live their lives in pleasing to God. Let me use an example that may help illustrate this. As a parent, we expect certain behavior of our children. When they do not walk in obedience to these expectations, we impose punishment. This means that the child is not walking in our favor. If this child were to ask us for privileges during this period of punishment, the request should not be granted. Now let’s be clear about something here. The child still receives meals, shelter, and other necessities. The child still has our mercy. The child is still loved. However, the child chose to deliberately disobey us. This has an affect on our willingness to grant privileges and trust their conduct. The hope of the punishment is a corrected perspective and practice. Once the child demonstrates obedience, an open trust and willing hand is afforded them. The same is true of our Heavenly Father. He expects obedience. Our submission to His Word and our consistent conduct before him creates a relationship of trust. This opens His heart and hand to us. When we walk in disobedience, by doing things that are wrong in His sight, we must face the consequences of our actions. His trust of us is affected by our actions. God is Holy! He wants His children to represent Him in their character and conduct. Those who choose to walk in obedience to God will have His blessing and favor upon them. Those who walk in disobedience will not. To the contrary, they will reap the consequences of their choices. God’s people shouldn’t be gossipers, should hate sin and the conduct of sinful people, honor those who faithfully follow Jesus, keep their word even if it hurts or costs them something, loan money to the legitimately needy without charging interest (not for personal profit), and refuse to be bribed to lie about the innocent. Wow! The church in America sure could use a good dose of this Psalm. Today, take a moment to analyze your character and conduct by this scripture. Do you gossip or malign others? Do you hate sin and sinful behavior? Do you honor the faithful followers of Jesus? Do you keep your word to the point of personal hurt? Do you loan to the legitimately needy without personal gain? Do you defend the innocent even if someone tries to bribe you to lie about them? Take a moment and do an assessment. Look at each question and think of how this applies to you. Ask God to show you His expectations. Then, willfully submit in obedience.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me to live a life that is honorable to you in all these things. Show me where I fall short, forgive me, and help me, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to make the necessary corrections in my conduct. I ask this in Jesus name! Amen!
Rev. Curtis Norris