Reading: Psalm 15
The Psalm opens with a question and proceeds to answer the question. The psalmist asks, “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary”? The writer then goes on to list a dozen things – some are what one should do and others are what one should not do – in answer to the question. As one reads through the list of do’s and don’ts, there are none anyone should find objectionable. In fact, someone seeking to live a “good life” would strive to live by these ideals.
Certainly someone who follows these dozen ideals would be living with God, right? But what if one occasionally wrongs their neighbor or allows slander (or gossip) to slip from their lips? Does that mean that now that person cannot dwell in the sanctuary of God? Absolutely not! This list, while a bit long, is by no means exhaustive and is certainly not comprehensive. If one were to try and list all the possible do’s and don’ts, one would quickly surpass the 623 the Pharisees tried to live by.
Whether it is this list or the Ten Commandments or all the red letters in the New Testament, the way God calls us to live is our goal. It is the mark. But like the greatest archer that ever lived, we sometimes miss the mark. We sometimes sin. But the Psalm does not end with the list. It ends with a promise: “He who does these things will never be shaken”. When we make the commitment to walk with God in our daily lives, we are assured of God’s presence. In this presence, we will never be shaken. The promise to never leave us, to never forsake us remains no matter what we do or do not do. God’s presence remains because of who God is. God is faithful.
God’s presence is what keeps us grounded and is what allows us to try and walk blameless, to do what is right, to keep our word…. Alone we are never good enough, never strong enough, never determined enough… to live a flawless life. Thankfully, God’s plan is not one of perfection but of redemption. Despite our failures, God remains present, continues to love us, still offers us mercy and grace and forgiveness, and always seeks to restore us back into a right relationship. This is why we are never shaken. We are flawed, but we journey the path to eternal life with God at our side. Thanks be to God for His unending love and constant presence.