Friday, May 22, 2009

Characteristics of God's Children

Psalm 15
LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in
thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh
righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that
backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour,
nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a
vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the
LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He
that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against
the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Who shall abide in the tabernacle of God? What does a child of God truly look like? How are we as Christian's to behave? That is the context and purpose of this chapter. The chapter begins with the question as to who will abide in God's presence. When this Psalm was written, it was the duty of the priests to take care of the tabernacle, and since nowhere in this passage is there a description restricted only to the priests and Levites, I believe this passage is focused more on standing in God's presence rather than the literal building.

The first description is He that walketh uprightly. This means he walks perfectly. Now we each know that we cannot walk perfectly. However, we can keep our eyes focused on God and take his word as the rule by which we behave. Adam Clark states that this man "considers himself a sojourner on earth, and is continually walking to the kingdom of God."

The second description is and worketh righteousness. This believer is not satisfied with just getting by -- by doing just enough to pass. Let me clarify with an example. When I was in high school, academics were not my focus. So, I did just enough in each class to make sure I passed the class. This believer is not satisfied with not going above and beyond, just completing the bare minimum. Unfortunately in our society today, we do not see many of these believers. The normal or average believer should be excited about doing all that he/she can for the kingdom of God. I owe my life to God, and as such I should be diligently seeking to serve and further the kingdom of God.

The next description is speaking truth in his heart. The true believer is not a hypocrite. He is in his heart exactly what he says with his mouth. With the true believer "there are no hollow friendships, vain compliments, nor empty professions of esteem, love, regard, or friendship."

The next description is that of what the believer does not do, backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. The true believer behaves only out of love towards others. He does not hold a grudge, gossip/spread rumors about others, nor seeks revenge when he has been injured.

The passage goes even further in the description of a true believer He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not, he that putteth not out his money to usery, nor taketh reward against the innocent. The believer goes so far as to accept the injury himself rather than to push it off on someone else. Again, looking at believers in today's society, it is difficult to find a believer who will lend out money without receiving interest. What about when you lend out a significant amount of money, or rent out your own property -- When the money is not paid back, or your property is damaged, what is your response. Society tells us believers to press charges or sue the person in order to retrieve what is MINE. But the Bible tells us that the true believer accepts the injustice done towards him and does not seek harm towards the one who harmed him.

Just a side note on this last part. As a true believer, and a steward of all that God has intrusted us with, we need to recognize that all that is ours is indeed not mine -- it ALL belongs to God. From my house, car, money, even my children, they are all God's, and an offense done against me in any of these areas has been done against God. God will enact justice; I must trust Him.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the
whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
Psalm 119:1-3

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