Well, its that time of year again: the calendar has turned over and a new year has begun. This is the first full week of the new year, so I thought it would be a good time to look at some New Year’s Resolutions. Fortunately, Psalm 15 makes those resolutions for us. (You might want to read that Psalm now).
The first verse of this Psalm asks the question “who shall dwell on your holy hill?” Basically, “who can live in the presence of the Lord?” What a good question!
Maybe the Psalmist has been going through a difficult time and is meditating on eternity. Maybe he just lost a loved one and is thinking about life and death. Maybe he has gotten to the end of the year and is examining his life to see the areas where he has fallen short. Sound familiar?
Whatever the case may be, David has gotten to a point where he wonders who is worthy of enjoying God’s presence forever. Nothing else really matters, except getting closer to God, and remaining close to His presence forever.
And look at the intimacy in which David expresses the experience of God's presence. Yes, David asks who can dwell on God’s holy hill, and this might give us the mental picture of a large campground filled with an abundance of individual tents staked out on God’s large hill, or maybe of a nice cul-de-sac on the hillside where we all have our own mansions in God’s neighborhood. But that is ignoring the first question that David asks: ‘who shall sojourn in your tent?” David doesn’t just want to be in God’s neighborhood; he wants to be in God’s very tent! David wants to live in God’s house; to sleep right next to God; to bask in God’s presence.
To me, this is a beautiful picture of heaven. O, how deeply we all desire to be so intimate with God—to know God and be fully known by Him; to have no shame before Him, but to freely allow Him to see every aspect of our being; to feel the joy of being fully known by our Lord; to live with Him—in His very tent.
But still, the question remains: who can do this? Who deserves to be so close with God? It is the deepest desire of our hearts to know Him and be fully known by Him, but who gets the privilege of seeing that desire fulfilled?
Surely the holy God of the universe will not allow just anyone into His tent! If you've ever been camping, then you know that a tent is generall a small, cramped space. Surely, God doesn't want someone filled with body odor and gas in His tent! Surely, God doesn't want someone with pointy toe nails or noisy children in his tent! Surely, God doesn't want any loud snorers or people who need to sleep with the light on in His tent!
Ok, so those are silly examples. But the point remains: God doesn't let just anyone into His holy heaven, so who gets in?
David spends the rest of this Psalm, and we will spend the rest of this week, describing the attributes of that person who gets to spend eternity in heaven. Of course, none of us will measure up to these attributes, but you can look at them as a sort of list of New Year’s Resolutions. If your deepest desire is to have an intimate relationship with God, and God has told you what it takes to have a relationship with Him, then spend some time this week striving to answer His call. It might be a challenge, but heaven is worth it!
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