Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
- He who walks uprightly,
- And works righteousness,
- And speaks the truth in his heart;
- He who does not backbite with his tongue,
- Nor does evil to his neighbor,
- Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised;
- But he honors those who fear the Lord;
- He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
- He who does not put out his money at usury,
- Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
(Psalm 15; A Psalm of David)
David’s Ten Points Of Character
The essential question has always been to find how to dwell with God again. When the Lord placed man in the garden there was a harmony and a pleasant existence between the creation and the Creator. Sin destroyed this union and man has struggled to find his way back to the Lord. Character has been at the forefront of how man finds God and rekindles the spirit of true worship and holiness and learning to come before the great I AM. As a man after God’s own heart, David understood the meaning of having a purposeful character in approaching the throne of the Almighty. He outlines in ten simple yet ideal parts of character the answer to whom can abide in the presence of the Lord and dwell in the place of holiness. Immediately the reader is struck by the reality that coming before God is not to be done with a frivolous and carefree spirit. The Lord God is holy and demands a holy character to come before Him. Not everyone can abide in the dwelling of God and not everyone will be permitted to dwell in His presence. Men often mistake their carnal wisdom of friendship with acceptability of the Lord to their sins and hypocrisy. He is holy and so holy His character demands those who come before Him be holy. The Lord must be regarded as holy and reverenced for His holy name. As the character of God demands character in men the need for all men to come before the Lord is imperative to see the kind of person permitted in the presence of the Almighty. The Lord is a discerner of hearts. He sees the soul of man in its pure form. Those who come into His presence are laid bare in their hearts with no guile and no vain attempts to impress the Lord God. David knows full well the kind of character required to come before the Lord.
Three positives are given followed by three negatives. Abiding in the dwelling of God requires the heart of a man who is blameless and upright, working righteousness and speaking truth in his heart. Character comes from the manner of life. Those who seek the Lord must have a character that is found in living above reproach. Blameless living is acting in such a manner that the word of God is the rule for what is said, how one dresses, and demeanor of attitudes and view of life. Walking uprightly respects the law of God as the rule of life. Working righteousness is simply doing those things that are right as revealed by the word of God. Righteousness is not measured by societal norms but the contrast of what the Bible teaches about morality and character. Truth is on the lips of a man who wants to come before God. One of the most important evidences of character is what a man says. People of God must be known for truth in every part of life. His word must be his bond because his bond is the word of God.
There are three negatives that define the character of the godly. Speaking truth in his heart keeps a man from backbiting with his tongue. To backbite is to slander, gossip, speak evil of and disseminate character assassination against others. The holy person of God does not allow his tongue to define his character as unjust and unkind. Whether in word or deed the follower of God does not seek harm to his neighbor. Children of God are known by their fruits of kindness, patience and endurance to believe the good in people. Accepting the voice of gossip will keep a person from dwelling with the Lord. Backbiting, doing evil to a neighbor and allowing a reproach against a friend will keep a soul from being one with God. This shows the heart of a man willing to accept others as equals without partiality. The Lord is not partial and those who come before Him must exhibit the same character.
Four points of character close out the discussion of who may come before the Lord. The man of God honors those who fear the Lord. He honors the righteous as examples to immolate and model his life after. Learning character often comes from the faith of others as they imitate the Father. Worship is walking in the footsteps of those who seek a higher spiritual plane living blameless in a crooked and perverse generation. Secondly, the man of God is a man whose word is his bond regardless of circumstance. His speech is seasoned with the salt of God’s word and without reproach honors the word he makes because it is established upon the word of the Lord. In a world filled with men who lie and deceive the child of God stands on the holy hill of God as a person of integrity in speech, honesty in action and purity in heart. The third point David offers is the man of God is a person of fair dealings with all men. He does not allow greed to define his character as one who unjustly claims financial reward from others. This is also found in his fourth and final point of taking bribes against the innocent. In other words, a man of God will not take advantage or abuse his relationship with others to their hurt. Coming before the Lord on His holy hill requires a heart that is free from the carnal greed of men who seek to have power through dishonesty and wickedness. Holiness demands a heart of kindness and love. No man will ever stand in the tabernacle of the Lord who is dishonest or abusive to his neighbor.
David exhorts all those who seek to come before the Lord to follow these simple yet vital parts of character. Jesus is the example of all of these traits. He lived blameless before the law and showed in His life the character of one who can abide with the Father and dwell with God in purity. If we imitate Jesus we will follow the words of David and enjoy the blessing of being in the presence of the Almighty. Character is how we define ourselves before men and before God. Follow these words and you will never be moved.