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Psalm 15 (NIV)
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
3 and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow-man,
4 who despises a vile man but honours those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
5 who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
This Psalm of David refers less to priests who by role are entitled to enter the temple of the LORD than to those whose lives demonstrate loyalty and obedience to God and who honour his covenant directives. We might baulk at any claim that somebody’s “walk is blameless” and deeds are righteous. Is this because we are conscious of our own fallenness?
The forgiveness won through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ imparts righteousness to those who believe in him. Could it be that David glimpsed this truth with sufficient clarity that he was able to claim it in his psalms? (Jesus quoted from the psalms of David when challenged by interlocutors, as in Matthew 22: 43-45 where he quoted directly from Psalm 110: 1.)
For those in public office, the description in Psalm 15 of the person “whose walk is blameless” presents a salutary and sobering lesson. Hear these characteristics of the one “who does what is righteous”. That person:
- speaks the truth from his/her heart;
- has no slander on his/her tongue;
- does no wrong to a neighbour;
- casts no slur on another human being;
- keeps an oath even when it hurts to do so;
- will not accept any bribe; and
- honours those who fear the LORD.
If only this was how all Parliamentarians were regarded across this nation, in Federal and State or Territory Governments together with those serving in local Councils!
Christian men and women elected to our Parliaments are called to model a different way, in behaviour and speech, from the ways of the world. People do take notice. A significant element of our Christian witness is to demonstrate the hope within us through the example of our lives.
What is needed? Where do Christians inside and outside our Parliaments begin? “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,” (Psalm 111: 10a) and this would be a good place to start.