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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, July 12, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 15

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
    Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly and do what is right
    and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue
    and do no evil to their friends
    nor heap shame upon their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised
    but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest
    and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved. (NRSV)

This passage is deceptively simple. It starts with a seemingly simple question, and it’s short. But it quickly sets up a high standard for who’s in and who’s not.

David asks God, “Who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?”

Then he lays out some very strict guidelines: Those who “walk blamelessly and do what is right,” “do not slander,” “do no evil”—the list goes on. David’s setting a high bar! I don’t know about you, but what David describes certainly doesn’t describe me.

We live during a time in our society where many of us are passing judgment on others. We are doing it on the street. We are doing it on social media and on TV. We are doing it in the Supreme Court. We are doing it in church. Yet, from everything we’ve been taught about God’s grace and Jesus’ teaching, all are welcome under God’s tent.

In many of the psalms, David laments evil and those who seek to inflict it on others. Here he seems to be turning inward and attempting to figure out if he is welcome under God’s tent. In doing so, he asks a question we all ask: “Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing what God calls me to do?”

Let’s be real. The answers to those questions aren’t always clear. Life is messy. While this psalm seems to lay out a strict guideline of who’s welcome under God’s tent, maybe the point is to not use this as a list of who gets in and who doesn’t. Maybe the point is to do what David did and reflect on our own actions versus seeking easy answers about others.

Gracious and loving God, today and every day grant me the insight to discern if my actions are in line with your will. Give me grace when they aren’t. Grant me peace and tolerance to better understand different points of view. Amen.

Written by Mark Nelson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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