Sunday, June 02, 2019

"Never Shaken" [Matt's Messages]

“Never Shaken”
June 2, 2019 :: Psalm 15

Next week, I plan to return us to the Gospel of Matthew and maybe stay there a while! But this week, I felt called away from Matthew again and back into the Psalms once more.

As I’ve said a number of times, for me 2019 is a year of Psalms. Every morning with my cup of coffee. Sitting on the end of the couch next to the window. Psalms. Psalms. Psalms.

I’m up to Psalm 69 now in my daily times with the Lord.

But when I thought about our high school graduates, Meizhen, Laura, Robin, Hudson, and what we might want to say to them on Graduation Sunday, my mind immediately went to Psalm 15.

I didn’t really know why. I was talking about it with Heather Joy, and Psalm 15 is what just jumped out to the front of my brain.

And so I looked at Psalm 15 closely, and I realized what attracted me to it in the first place, and that was the description in Psalm 15 of a person who will never be shaken. Psalm 15 ends with the words, “He who does these things will never be shaken.”

Which is almost word for word what we saw on Mother’s Day in Psalm 62, right? Do you remember?

That sermon was called “Unshaken Moms.”

David wrote, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

And I realized that I want that for our graduates.

And not just the one that graduated from the Mitchell Homeschool.

So we could call this message, “Unshaken Grads” to go with “Unshaken Moms.”

But it’s really for all of us, and there are only a few grads, so I just went with the title “Never Shaken.”

“Never Shaken”

There will be many things that threaten to shake you in life.

But they don’t have to shake you. They don’t have to win.

They don’t have to knock you off of your feet and push you down the hill.

There is a life that is unshakable.

And that’s what David is singing about in Psalm 15.

This song starts with a question.

There are actually two questions in verse 1, but the Hebrews loved to repeat themselves.

The Hebrews loved to repeat themselves.

Did I mention that the Hebrews loved to repeat themselves?

Verse 1 is yet another example of what we call Hebrew Parallelism.

The Hebrews loved to repeat themselves.

The two questions David asks in verse 1 are really two versions of the same question.

Let’s look at it. V.1

“A psalm of David. LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?”

This is a song about qualifications!

Don’t you just love a song about qualifications?

This is a song about a certain kind of person.

“Who is qualified?”

Notice that verse 1 is a prayer.

David talks to Yahweh, to his God.

David talks directly to the LORD.

And he asks him a question.

“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?”

What is he talking about?

I don’t think David literally meant who can live in the tabernacle.

The tabernacle was the sacred tent that the NIV84 calls “the sanctuary.”

The holy hill is Zion, where David pitched the tabernacle and eventually Solomon placed the temple. The temple mount is the holy hill.

I don’t think that David expected any humans to literally live in the tabernacle, even the priests didn’t do that.

But he did expect some to come for a visit.

Some scholars have thought that this Psalm was an “entrance” song that would be sung as worshippers came to bring their sacrifices to the tabernacle.

And that could be.

But we’re going to see in verses 2 through 5 that the answer to the song’s opening question is NOT someone who does the right rituals.

There were right rituals for worshippers to do in the Old Testament. The book of Leviticus lays them out nicely for us to read.

But that’s not what this Psalm celebrates.

This Psalm celebrates a certain kind of heart. A certain kind of character. A certain way of life. A person with a certain kind of way of living their lives before God.

We could say that this Psalm sings about the kind of person that God wants to be with.

What kind of a person does God want to be with?

What kind of a person does God want to dwell with, fellowship with, enjoy their personal presence?

Remember, the tabernacle was an earthly symbol of the presence of God.

A tent in the center of the tent city.

A home in the middle of God’s people.

What kind of person does God want in His home?

How would you answer that question?

If you were writing this song.

“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?”

The rest of the song answers that question for us.

It’s like a list of what God is looking for from His people.

It’s not an exhaustive list.

It’s more like a representative list.

And it’s not a replacement for the ten commandments or even the Sermon on the Mount.

It’s just a song that paints a beautiful picture of godly person.

The kind of person God wants to dwell with.

And today it’s my prayer that our graduates and all of the rest of us live like this song sings.

I’ve summarized it in 5 application points.


What kind of person does God want to relate to in His home? Who gets past the security and is welcomed in? V.2

“He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous...”

In other words, somebody who walks the walk.

This is not just somebody who goes through the motions.

It’s not somebody who is just “all talk.”

But somebody who actually lives their lives with integrity.

That word “blameless” here does not mean perfect. It means “ethical” and “whole.” It means somebody who practices what they preach. Ethical rightness, not moral perfection.

We would say, “He walks with integrity.”

He does the right thing.

She does the right thing.

I think that this quality goes first in the song because it summarizes all of the rest of it.

If you want to know what “walking the walk” looks like, you just read the rest of verses 2-5 and you’ll see.

We all know what the opposite looks like.

It looks like a hypocrite. All talk, no walk.

One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from the man named David whom I worked for in the summer of 1993. He was a pastor, but I’m not sure what he really believed.

David told me that the Bible was a pretty good attempt by man to explain God. But that’s it. I don’t think he really believed that the Bible was from God.

But we spent a lot of time together that summer, and this is what he said to me at the end of our time together.

He said, “Matt, you are the only fundamentalist (and by that he meant somebody who believed the Bible) I’ve ever met that lived out what you preach.”

And that was sad to me that he didn’t know any other genuine Christians, but it encouraged me so much that he believed I was the real deal and that it showed by how I live.

God wants His people to actually live out what we believe.

Walk the walk.


As disciples, we do have to talk, but we have to talk the truth, and we have to talk it in love. V.2 again.

What kind of person does God want to relate to in His home?

“He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous who speaks the truth from his heart...”

From his heart.

So here it’s talking the talk that goes along with the walk.

For real, from the heart.

Sounds a lot like Jesus, doesn’t it?

It’ll be a thousand years after this song writer wrote Psalm 15 that his great-great-great-great.....grandson would say, “...out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

What comes out of our mouths?

Or to update it to 2019, what comes out of you thumbs?

What kind of communication is issuing from our hearts? V.3

“[The one who dwells with God...] has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman...”

See how he uses his words?

See how she uses her words?

She uses them in love.

She doesn’t lie about her neighbor, her co-worker, her friend.

He doesn’t pass along the juicy gossip to others.

Here’s the word, I think of:

This person is “safe.”

Not only do they have integrity, but you feel safe around them.

They’re not going to use what you say in a destructive or hurtful way.

What they say is true, yes, but more than that, they use their words to build others up and care for the people around them.

Words are so powerful, friends. How are we using them?

Especially on social media.

What are we saying?

Who is listening?

Are we safe people?

Does verse 3 sound like you?

“[This one] has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman...”

On Facebook. On Twitter. On Instagram. On Snapchat.

Or whatever is the newest thing.

The one whom God wants in His house is a safe person. People feel safe around them because of how they talk the truth in love.


Not only do they walk the walk and talk the truth but they walk with the wise. V.4

What kind of person does God want to relate to in His home?

“[The one] who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD...”

This one might be a bit of a surprise.

To hear that the godly person despises a vile man.

That doesn’t mean that he isn’t supposed to love that vile man, as well.

To love them for Christ.

But he doesn’t love them for themselves.

He doesn’t honor them.

He doesn’t honor the dishonorable.

He doesn’t celebrate the evil.

No, he honors “those who fear the LORD.”

What is the fear of the LORD?

It’s the beginning of wisdom. This is a wisdom Psalm.

This kind of person honors the wise. She honors the believer. She stands with the godly.

In many ways, this is about choosing your friends.

And this is true for our graduates who are just being released out into the world.

Whom are you going to associate with? Who will be your closest friends?

And it’s also true for all of the rest of us.

We need to be careful with whom we stand with, whom we walk with.

Solomon says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

I think we really get into trouble when we begin to honor those who are dishonorable.

I see this, also on social media.

Not that we don’t do it in other arenas of life, but it’s on display when we broadcast on the internet.

I see Christians praising and honoring and celebrating some of the worst kinds of people and the worst kinds of behaviors.

Now, I’m not saying that we need to spew out outrage and shame on the internet other. There is plenty of that out there already.

But whom do we stand with?
Who do we support?
If somebody looked at your social media accounts, would they know that you stand with the godly?

Could they tell that you honor the honorable?

Do you honor those who fear the LORD?

God wants the people in His house (so to speak) that honor the kind of people He wants in His house.

Honor the Godly.


V.4 again. What kind of person does God want to relate to in His home?

“[The one] who keeps his oath even when it hurts...”

This is the kind of person who keeps their promises even when it is no longer advantageous to do so.

I know that’s not how the world works.

The world says, “If you can find a better deal somewhere, then break your contract if you can get away with it.”

But God says, “Keep your word even when it hurts.”

The world should be able to look at the Church and rightly assume that a handshake will be enough.

Sadly, that is not the case in general.

Is it the case with you?

Keep your word.


What kind of person does God want to relate to in His home?

“[The one]...who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.”

I don’t think that David is saying that we can never have a business transaction where we charge interest.

He is not saying that we shouldn’t put our money in a savings account.

He’s saying that we shouldn’t practice predatory lending.

In Israel at the time, Israelites were not allowed to charge interest to fellow Israelites. In general, they could loan some money and keep a safety deposit to ensure repayment.

But they weren’t allowed to charge interest because if another Israelite had to borrow money, it meant that they were in trouble. They had experienced extreme hardship.

They weren’t using capital to build a business or something like that.

They had experienced extreme loss and were poor and needed help.

What do you do when your brother or sister is in trouble like that?

How do you see them?

The world sees them as an easy mark!

The world sees them as someone to take advantage of.

Payday loans. High interest rates.

Extortion. They have no other options, so it’s a great chance to get rich off of them.

But God is looking for the merciful.

“Blessed are the merciful.”

You see a person in trouble, and you don’t say, “Look at the opportunity here!”

It’s not illegal to charge somebody exorbitant interest rates, but that’s not the kind of heart that God is seeking.

God would rather that we lost money keeping our word or helping the needy than if we shrewdly held onto every penny.

And more than mercy, He also desires justice.

Solomon says, “A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice” (Proverbs 17:23).

That’s not the kind of person God wants to hang out with.

God cares what we do with our money.

He wants us seek justice with it.

He wants us to put our money where our hearts are supposed to be.

Honorable in all of our dealings.

It’s so easy to cut corners, isn’t it?

We may not ever be in a position to actually take a bribe for lying in court.

But we often are tempted to trim the truth in our favor, aren’t we?

To not say it like it is if it hurts us and helps somebody else.

But that’s the kind of person that God wants to dwell with.

That’s the kind of person God wants over at His house.

What kind of people do you want in your house?

This is the kind of person that God is looking to relate to in His home.

People who walk the walk.
People who talk the talk in love.
People who honor the godly.
People who keep their word.
People who love mercy and justice.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” v.5

“He who does these things will never be shaken.”

David says more than just that these kind of people are welcome to visit at God’s house.

He says that they will have a quality to their life that is unshakable.

Now, he’s not disagreeing with himself from Psalm 62.

In Psalm 62 on Mother’s Day, we learned that we get this unshakableness from trusting in God.

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 62 and Psalm 15 go together.

Psalm 15 tells us what a person lives like who trusts God like Psalm 62 says to.

You can’t do Psalm 15 without faith in God.

Psalm 62 and Psalm 15 go together.

What we told the Moms is true for the Grads and for all of us.

But that kind of Psalm 62 faith makes us into different kind of people, Psalm 15 people.

People who live like this will never be shaken.

Of course, none of us live like this...perfectly.

I don’t know about you, but when I read Psalm 15, I often feel despair.

Because I know how much I have not walked the walk.

I know how many times I have lied and slandered and gossiped and not been a safe person for others.

I know how many times I have honored the dishonorable and ignored the godly.

I know how I have broken promises when it served me.

When I have taken advantage of the weak and overlooked injustice when it was to my advantage.

I know how far I have missed the mark.

I probably don’t know how far I have missed the mark.

And when I think about that, I realize how wonderful it is that the Psalms are not just about us, but about Jesus.

David knew how far he had fallen short.

David knew the blessings of being forgiven. Read Psalm 32 this afternoon!

Jesus is the only person in history who could sing this song about Himself and have utter confidence that He could dwell in the sanctuary and live on the holy hill.

Jesus is the Who of verse 1.

He is the perfect singer of verses 2 through 5.

And He was not shaken.

He was unshakable.

Even facing the Cross.

Worship at the Lord’s Table

At this Table, we marvel at how the perfect human lived His life and then died His death.

He walked the walked the walk.
He talked the truth in love.
He honored those who fear the LORD.
He kept His word EVEN WHEN IT HURT.

Even when the nails went into His flesh.

He loved mercy and justice.

And He was not shaken.

And for all who put their faith and trust in Him, we get everything coming to Him.

That’s the great exchange.

Our sin on Him. His righteousness on us.

His reward on us, not because we have done it perfectly, but because He has.

And because of His grace.

We can be unshaken because He was.

We can relate to God on Jesus’ perfect record.

We can dwell with the Lord because Jesus has lived His perfect life and died His loving death for us.

That’s what we celebrate here.