O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander [b]with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But [d]who honors those who fear the Lord; He swears to his own hurt and does not change; He does not put out his money [e]at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15
The center of the nation of ancient Israel was Jerusalem and the center of Jerusalem was the hill on which sat the Temple. This hill was the very center of the heart of what it meant to be Israel. Israel was God's own people and God Himself lived among them in Zion, the Holy Mountain. This was the most holy place on earth! The Psalmist asks, "who is worthy and permitted to live on that hill or abide within the Temple walls?" And the answer comes back that it is those who walk with integrity, not slandering or taking a bribe. He doesn't destroy his neighbor or change his words. He is a man of integrity. Many within our modern christian culture are liable to wipe away this Psalm with a dismissal comment about how under the old law we were called to do works to earn favor with God but now we are under grace. Therefore, this Psalm can be left as virtually irrelevant and largely ignored. Is there anything left for this Psalm to say to us? I think that this Psalm has much to say to us. The Psalmist does not claim that the person who is to enter into God's holy temple is required to be sinless. The requirement is integrity. The world's foremost sinner can acquire integrity with one motion of the heart. Simply choosing to step out of the darkness and into the light is the greatest act of integrity that a human being can perform. But let us say that you have indeed changed your word hundreds maybe thousands of times. You have slandered your neighbor. You have taken a bribe against the innocent. Can you enter The Hill of the Lord? You can! But here is the one requirement: speak truth in your heart. This does not mean to make a silent confession to yourself. A confession like that is almost worthless. It means to be honest within yourself and about yourself. Come into the light, come into the open, come into the holy presence of God. You will find that the filthy rags of sin that you are wearing will be incinerated and you will be clothed with the holy garments of God's presence. He Himself will clothe you with the skin He made for you and which He intends for you to wear. You will be clothed with holiness and all will be well again. Actually, all will be new again, and better than getting back to ground zero. Coming into the presence of the Lord, or more precisely, opening yourself up to the presence of Jesus coming into you brings you past being innocent to being a new creation! This is more than starting over. This is becoming a new person who has victory over the old and sinful ways of living. So what are you waiting for? Speak the truth in your heart!