Mark 16:15

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"

Who May Dwell With the Lord?

This is basically the question the psalmist asks in the 51st Psalm: “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” (v. 1). When you read this Psalm, you truly get an inspired description of the character of one who may dwell with the Lord? I believe Albert Barnes stated it right: “This psalm refers to a single subject, but that (is) the most important which can come before the human mind. It is the question. Who is truly religious? who will enter heaven? who will be saved?” (Albert Barnes, Commentary on Psalms). The description is given in both positive and negative qualities. Let’s look briefly at them.
The answer: “He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart” (v. 2). These three things describe one who is morally correct in behavior and thinking; one acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous. An upright one who works righteousness will always speak the truth. In short, the one who will dwell with God is the one who is upright, just, honest, truthful.
The answer from a negative viewpoint: “He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend” (v. 3). David is telling us that the one who may dwell with the Lord is the man who treats his neighbor properly; who does not slander or reproach him; who does not readily listen to gossip reports in regard to him.
“In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change” (v.4). Here David describes the character traits that consider or think of others in a proper fashion; he has no use for the “vile person,” but regards the righteous and the wicked as they should be regarded; who looks with proper disgust on all who are “vile” in their character, and displays true respect on all who fear the Lord. He is also one who is faithful to his promise, though it proves to be against his own interest; a truly righteous man will keep his word, even when it is to his own disadvantage to do so.
Two more negative qualifications: “He who does not put out his money at usury. Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.” The upright will never take advantage of those less fortunate nor those in need. He will not take a bribe against the innocent. This is not true of “those who will be rich” discussed by Paul in I Timothy 6:5f. The “usury” condemned in Scripture was speaking of those who did take advantage of those in need by charging them exorbitant amounts of interest. The one who may dwell with the Lord would never be guilty of that.
Conclusion: “He who does these things shall never be moved” (v. 6). The person who exhibits the desirable qualities outlined in this passage will never be removed from his safe position in the favor of God. How about you? Is your character and conduct like that described in this Psalm?

Paul M. Wilmoth