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Psalm chapter 15

What does Psalm chapter 15 mean?

This psalm begins with a deceptively simple question. Who is worthy to be in the presence of God? The term "sojourn" does not necessarily mean travel or a temporary condition. Rather, it means to live somewhere as a stranger or foreigner. David implicitly realizes that no human being is perfect (Psalm 51:1–2; 143:2; Romans 3:23); any imperfect person in God's presence is somewhat out of place. What follows are characteristics of a truly righteous person. These are explanations of what righteousness looks like, not an explanation of how one can prove their righteousness to the Lord (Psalm 15:1).

The term "blameless" is a reference to reputation. It does not mean "sinless," but implies someone whose life offers no room for criticism from others (Deuteronomy 18:13; Proverbs 29:10). One way to monitor this is by honesty. The "heart," as mentioned in ancient writing, includes many aspects modern language ascribes to the "mind." A righteous person is not only truthful about others, and about themselves, they think honestly about others and themselves (Psalm 15:2).

Telling lies, speaking unkindly of others, or harming a neighbor are all incompatible with a righteous lifestyle. In addition, the godly person weighs if other people's lifestyles are God-honoring and esteems their actions accordingly. In honesty and respectful love for others, the righteous person keeps their word, even when it's to their own disadvantage (Psalm 15:3–4).

Under the Old Testament law, Israelites were forbidden from charging interest when lending money to poor countrymen. The terms used in ancient Hebrew most closely resemble the English term usury, which means to charge excessive interest. A righteous person does not give financial aid to those in need with the intent of making a profit. Investing for a business purpose is not the same as "lending" to those who are poverty-stricken. Also, those who are righteous refuse to accept bribes; they do not allow their judgment to be clouded with corruption (Psalm 15:5).
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