Psalm 15 – Who Shall Sojourn?

Psalm 15 is like Psalm 1. David is not offering qualifications for earning the right to worship. Rather, he paints a portrait of the ideal worshipper. That he is not talking about qualifications is seen in the word “sojourn” (v. 1). The language speaks of a resident alien who is allowed to live on God’s “holy hill.” This is a privilege none can earn, since the hill has been designated as holy. The first verse of the psalm begins with a question phrased in two ways, and the rest of the psalm answers it.

The portrait of the ideal worshipper (vv. 2-5) moves from the general to the more specific. Verse 2 speaks generally about the worshipper’s life, actions, speech, and thoughts. The next three sections get more specific: the worshipper’s personal relationships in the areas of speech, action, and attitude (v. 3), the worshipper’s valuing the way of the righteous above the way of the wicked (v. 4a-b), and the worshipper’s interactions with society at large (vv. 4c-5b).

The final line of the psalm uses language that is familiar in the Psalter when it speaks about not being moved. This concept is tied with the action of sojourning and dwelling in verse 1. Those who sojourn and dwell on God’s holy hill will not be moved because God’s holy hill cannot be moved–it is a sure foundation. Just as God created order out of chaos, he also orders the lives of those who dwell in his presence! The truth in this psalm is explained in much greater detail in 2 Peter 1:3-11.

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