Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? (Psalm 15, NLT).
This psalm was written by David after he successfully brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.
When the ark was in the Tabernacle, King David wrote this psalm asking two questions . . .
- Who may worship in your sanctuary?
- Who may enter Your Presence?
We find peace from dwelling in the presence of God, but how do we know that our worship is acceptable? In God’s presence, we find peace. But how do we know we are worthy to enter God’s sanctuary?
Psalm 15 focuses on who is worthy.
Only those who follow God can effectively worship Him. Psalm 15 gives a list of 11 commandments to gain the righteousness needed to worship God. Those who worship Him must . . .
- Lead blameless lives (v. 2)
- Speak truth (v. 2)
- Refuse to gossip (v. 3)
- Or harm their neighbors (v. 3)
- Or speak evil of their friends (v. 3)
- Despise flagrant sinners (v. 4)
- Honor faithful followers of the Lord (v. 4)
- Keep their promises (v. 4)
- Lend money without interest (v. 5)
- Not be bribed (v. 5)
- Not lie about the innocent (v. 5)
The rabbis from Old Testament times listed 613 laws from the Pentateuch that needed to be followed for worthiness. David brings that number down to 11 in Psalm 15. Then Isaiah reduces the list further to six requirements in Isaiah 33:15 . . .
- Be honest
- Be fair-minded
- Refuse to profit from fraud
- Stay away from bribes
- Don’t listen to those who plot murders
- Who shut their eyes to the enticements of evil
And Micah 6:8 reduces the list even more to three . . .
- Do what is right
- Love mercy
- Walk humbly with God
Let’s follow the numbers: Pentateuch at 613; Psalm 15 at 11; Isaiah 33 at 6; Micah 6:8 at 3. Now, one more list — the shortest of all — as Habakkuk names only 1 requirement . . .
The righteous person will live by his faithfulness (Habakkuk 2:4, NIV).
613 to 11 to 6 to 3 to 1!
Let’s answer again the question of Psalm 15:1, “Who may enter God’s presence?” Considering our answer, let’s realize this Old Testament trend of reducing the number of laws culminates in Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8, NIV).