Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken. – Psalm 15.
The book of Psalm can also be called the “Christian’s Psalm.” It sets forth, not so much the way a person finds the Lord, as it does the way we are to live after the Lord has entered our life. In other words, it doesn’t deal with how someone becomes a Christian but rather how a Christian should maintain a life of integrity. It sets forth many of the day-to-day lifestyle, both in public and in private.
ELEVEN SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS
- He who walks with Integrity: This has to do with who we are as well as where we go. The word integrity means “to be solid, wholesome, complete.” The believer who is interested in maintaining temporal fellowship is careful about how he lives and where he goes – he walks in the realm of truth. He refuses to live a lie.
- He who works righteousness: This has to do with what we do. Righteousness is to be the habit of our conscious life. Our dealings are to be honest; our activities clear of compromise. In today’s vernacular, we’re to “keep our nose clean.” To do less is to weaken our integrity.
- He who speaks truth in his heart: This has to do with how we think. Notice that the truth mentioned here is spoken “in the heart” – attitudes, reactions, and motives are in David’s mind. The source of these things (the heart – Proverbs 23:7) is to be a bedrock of truth, no place for deception or lies or a hidden agenda!
- He who does not slander with his tongue: This and the next two characteristics have to do with what we say. The Hebrew word translated slander literally means “to go about, to foot it” – we might even say “to hoof it”. It would include one who walks here and there spreading malicious slander, pouring out verbal venom and poisoning others behind their backs.
- He who does not do evil to his neighbour: The Spirit-filled believer is loyal and consistent – not fickle, not erratic. He does not consciously bring difficulty upon others.
- Nor takes up a reproach against his friend: This means he does not say sharp, cutting and scornful things about others, either behind their back or to their face. There is honesty yet gentleness in his character. – Galatians 5:22-23
- In whose eyes a reprobate is despised: This has to do with who we are with. A reprobate mentioned here is literally a “worthless reprobate”, someone who is totally disinterested in spiritual things. The genuine believer with strong integrity will discern the impact such a person can have on his own walk with the Lord, and will not cultivate an association with him. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” – 1 Corinthians 15:33.
- He honours those who fear the Lord: Like the preceding phrase, this is still dealing with our associates, only this phrase is the other side of the coin. It addresses those with whom we should keep company. The believer who walks with the Lord has a scale of values that is determined by biblical principles. Since we become like those with whom we spend our time, a Christlike friend needs to be sought out for companionship.
- He swears to his own hurt, and does not change: This means that we perform what we promise, even when keeping our word is difficult to achieve. Our word should be our bond. The Christian with integrity makes it his aim to do what he says he will do, even when it hurts – even when it is inconvenient.
- He does not put his money at interest: According to Deuteronomy 23:19-20 and Leviticus 25:35-38, the Jew was commanded not to loan a needy Jewish brother money on interest. He was to assist generously and unselfishly. The believer in Christ who offers to extend personal financial assistance to his brother in Christ should do so without interest, love being his only motive. (Needless to say, discernment must accompany love… or we will have more love than money!) Not every financial need among believers is a “need”. Some “needs” stem from careless spending.
- Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent: My Webster’s dictionary defines a bribe as “money or favour bestowed on or promised to a person in a position of trust to pervert his judgement or corrupt his conduct.” We have all read about what has come to be known as “influence peddling.” Not even Wall Street has been protected from such schemes. The Psalmist’s point is clear: One with integrity won’t stoop to that level.
We are promised that if these things become our practice, we will live stable, solid, dependable lives. Those who bring these areas under the control of the Holy Spirit will live wholesome lives as solid citizens of heaven. Or, using Ben Franklin’s suggestion, whoever lives like this will be considered a “Christian gentleman.” Such people are rare, indeed. No wonder they are not easily shaken! Integrity reinforces a life with steel.
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