“Opportunity for Q & A with YHWH”

Sermon outline avl HERE

Psalm 15

Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.


Pastor Thom Rittichier
This morning we’re going to be talking about fellowship with the Lord, intimacy with the Lord, walking with the Lord. And this isn’t far away and removed from us. This is to be day by day. The Lord’s Table is what makes that possible. To get us there this morning, I have a question that I want to ask you. So, you have a opportunity for a Q and A session. You know what Q and A is? Question and Answer. That’s right. So this is a time for you to sit down and to talk, bringing up questions that you would have on something you need straightforward, honest answers with. So who would you choose to be in on that session with you? You have an opportunity to have a session with anyone, anywhere? Absolutely anyone. Who would you choose? (someone from the fellowship answered) God. That’s a good one. I know personally, I would like to talk with a couple of officials in town concerning community building and that taking place. Recently, I have talked with some folks in our fellowship and they have some medical questions that they have to wait for a bit on, about a month. And they would like to be getting straighting answers from the specialist. Concerning COVID, it would be really good if we had some straight answers, as much as you can get, on vaccines. And what about the economy? It would be nice to have some straight answers on how this stimulus is going to be paid for. Right? There are some things we’d like answered. Which one of you said God? God definitely is the one who would be good to have a Q and A session with. Of course, you don’t want to be there alone, you’d like to have somebody to kind of help you with that. Of course, Jesus helps us with that a great deal through the new and living way.

In Psalm 15, where I’m asking you to turn this morning, you have an opportunity, an opportunity for Q and A with Yahweh. This is part of our series “When God is Big”. So far, we’ve taken a look at five different Psalms, which recognize God as being big and the impact on us. Psalm 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8, which he’s talked about as majestic, which means that he is immense, he’s expansive, he is large, and the magnitude of him. In Psalm 15, like Psalm 8, we have Hebrew poetry. And in Psalm 15, like Psalm 8, God is recognized as being really big, really big. And we have the arrangement of this Psalm, this Hebrew poetry. It’s good to understand the meter, the arrangement of the rhyme. The rhyme, not of words, but of ideas, which is called parallelism. It’s setting the ideas beside each other, and it gives us greater insight. Here, the arrangement is this. We have two questions that are addressed to the Lord, YHWH, all in capital letters. Which means it’s a refference to the name that God gave to be his name to all generations, his personal name by which he wanted to be known. Questions are addressed to Yahweh. O Lord, David said in verse 1 of Psalm 15. By the way, I’m going to insert a little point here that kind of gets confused sometimes for people. This, which I wrote up here, the YHWH, is how it appears in the Hebrew Bible, that’s called the tetragrammaton. It’s the statement of God’s memorial name to all generations, his personal name by which he wants to be known. It’s Yahweh, if you wanted to spell it in English, with the vowels. Now, as time went along with the Hebrews, they began to regard this name with such reverence that they wouldn’t say it. They wouldn’t say Yahweh. Instead, they did this, they took the vowels from the word Adonai, which means Lord, and put it on the name YHWH, So it became the word Jehovah. So Jehovah is the name YHWY, with the vowels from the word Adonai. And they did this as an expression of not wanting to say God’s name. Now, I want you to know that David would have none of that. David outrightly said Yahweh, because it was the name God wanted to be remembered by, forever. So here, David says, verse 1, O Yahweh, and he asked two questions of him. And then the answers are expressed, via David, to us and for us. What we’re going to look at this morning is this Q and A session, that the Spirit of God inspired, a Q and A session with Yahweh, what he has to say, and it’s big and it’s important.

Now, these are put together in Hebrew poetry, which means that the ideas are rhymed. In other words, it’s not a rhyming of words, but it’s a rhyming of thought, in parallel. When you read the Psalms, keep that in mind. Because it’s the best way to get the point of what’s being said. So look at it with me. Psalm 15, verse 1, it’s a Psalm, it’s poetry, it’s of David. O Lord, Yahweh, who shall sojourn in your tent? That’s question one. And then question two. Who shall dwell on your holy hill? Now what he’s talking about here is the idea of fellowship. Charles Spurgeon said it like this, “High and holy one, who shall be permitted to have fellowship with you?” Who’s permitted? That’s the question that’s being answered. James Montgomery Boice said it like this, “How we live to enjoy the fullness of fellowship with God.” Now, remember this, this is why we’re doing it around the Lord’s Table. This is the new and living way in which Christ, by the single sacrifice of himself, perfected us for all time. That is, those who are being sanctified as a believer, we are progressively going more and more and more with God on his way, that are being sanctified. This new and living way, instituted through the blood of Jesus Christ in the single sacrifice, and instituted through the veil of his flesh, gave us this perfection before God. And now, in life, we are learning to go more and more and more with him in his way. Psalm 15 is about the person who is doing that. The one who is going more and more and more along with the Lord, in His way. The New Testament calls this walking with the Lord, having fellowship with the Lord, drawing near to God. And He does what, when you draw near to God? He draws near to you. This is what they’re talking about. This is what Jesus referred to in John 14:21 when he said, “my Father and I will love him and manifest ourselves, show ourselves, to him.” And in John 14:23, “we will come to him and make our home with him.” Who is it Lord? That’s the question being proposed to Yahweh, who is it Lord? What’s going on, what’s characteristic, as they’re going with you more and more in your way? Who is it? What’s present in their life? That’s what’s being answered here.

Who may sojourn? That is a word for taking a temporary residence. I put the word camp, who can camp with you? Now when I unwrapped our camper from the winter yesterday, notice some things I have to do with that. Maybe that’s why I was thinking about it, especially when I recognized this word sojourn, he means a place where you stay temporarily, like in camping. So what he’s referring to is having access while we’re in this life, having access to you, coming into your presence. And notice he uses the word tent. Because while we are in this tent, temporarily, we are absent from the Lord. But to be absent from this tent is to be present with the Lord. So here he’s talking about right now in this life, who is it who’s having this fellowship, this access with you? Then he asked the second question, who may dwell? Now notice, this is a parallel idea, but he expands on it. Who may dwell, who may settle down and live with you on your holy hill hill? The mountains or the hills were looked at as the dwelling place of God. That kind of explains why they tried to build the Tower of Babel. That was the dwelling place of God. And what David is asking here is, who may settle down and live permanently in your presence? Now, we are not talking about doing this to earn salvation. This, by the single sacrifice of Jesus Christ, through his blood, through his body, has perfected forever. Those, now here’s what this is about, who are BEING sanctified, who are learning to walk with you in fellowship, who can do it. What are the characteristics? What are the things, present in their life, of those who are like that. Jesus said, when he talked about this making our home with them, he said it has to do with hearing God’s directions and going along with them. These are the directions, having a permanent residence in God’s present, being now able to come repeatedly into His presence.

So those are the questions, here’s the answers that are expressed. And these questions are answered under four particular topics. Notice first, he or she, in handling himself or herself is like this, verse 2, “He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;”. And he talks about things that are characteristic of this person. You know what character is? It is something you do so frequently, some action, that it becomes characteristic of you. That’s what character is. Then secondly, they are handling themselves like this, in relating to friends and neighbors. Verse 3, “who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reprach against his friend;”. And thirdly, they are relating in what they’re doing, this is what they do in carrying one’s own attitude. Verse 4, “in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;”. And it gives the picture. Poetry does that. Hebrew poetry presents the ideas repeatedly, but it presents them with vivid pictures. So we see that going on. Here’s how they go about carrying their attitude. And then lastly, he says, in managing their money, this is what goes on. This is how they do this, verse 5a, “who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent.” This is the person that is characteristically walking in fellowship with God, the High and Holy One, the one who’s walking with Him, drawing near, having this interaction with Him, going on now and for eternity, who has it. That’s the characteristics.

First of all, in handling themselves. It’s like they walk wholesomely, in his or her times. The Bible constantly refers to that. Noah was a man who walked rightly in his time. Every time has different characteristics. Remember what Noah’s day was like? It hadn’t ever rained. And the nature of folks, the thoughts and the intent of their heart were what? Only evil continuously. Every person gets impacted by their times. This is a person who walks, they carry out their life in a way that’s wholesome in their times. You know, our times are pretty dark. Have you noticed that? I hear long established believers saying things like, I would hate to have children and try and raise them in this time. It’s so dark, it’s so awful. There’s so many things. How many would agree we have dark times. Okay. How many would agree that since the fall, the times have always been dark? Yes, there is no generation that has a bigger challenge than the previous generation, though they all have different difficulties. This generation has as much reason for hope as Adam and Eve, when God said he would destroy the serpent’s head. And we do not encourage people by telling them how dark the times are and that they’re defeated from the start. They’re not. They’re not. And it needs to be a ministry of all of us to change the critical negativism of our time. Because God is doing what he intends, bringing people to himself in dark times. So DC Comics, which are dark, have nothing up on the time. It’s dark, but they’ve always been dark. This one who walks wholesomely in his time, is this one who is going more and more along with God in His way. Also he does or she does what is right. Their intention is what’s right in this situation, what what do I do here that’s right. And this one is so important, because nobody is inherently in this place. Nobody is bent right. We are all bent wrong. We’re bent away from God, not towards him. That’s the effect of the fall. David said it like this. I was born in sin. Yeah, that means born missing the mark, missing the mark. And so this one becomes so very important. This is characteristic of the person they speak, or they arrange truth in his or her heart. Can I tell you, it’s daily that I have to speak to this fallen sinful person that I live with, which is me. Daily, I have to direct this heart. I have to arrange the truth and speak it to me. And can I tell you, when I went through some of these things that are characteristic of those who have fellowship with God, I have to tell you this. I was tagged on some of these. I was like, Oh, yeah, I remember that. And I see this. That is the call for us in this one. It is characteristic that you’re speaking the truth to yourself and being in a fellowship with believers, having elders who counsel intentionally. And by the way, I think you could ask Dr. Stewart, I know the biggest person that I need to counsel from the scriptures is me. It’s me, this is the one that is like so in need. As a matter of fact, I found out this, when I’m counseling somebody else concerning what they’re snagged in. It’s like, Cool, yeah, I need that. I need that. This is what we do, characteristically, to be in the process of being sanctified, going along with the Lord more and more, in his way. It’s available through the new and living way that he brought through his sacrifice, his blood, his flesh.

Secondly, in relating to friends and neighbors. The above is handling self. This is in relating to friends and neighbors. There are some things that don’t go on. He says here, he does not go about tale bearing. This is carrying things that are harsh, onto somebody else. Can I tell you, people need this a lot of the time, news and social media does this, its tale bearing. And how fun it is to hear how bad somebody else is, especially when they don’t agree with you, when they don’t line up with you. Yeah, doesn’t go about adding to the tale bearing. And by the way, this is as valid for believers as unbelievers. Amen? Amen. It is, it is. This person does no evil or hurt or harm to a fellow citizen. Somebody else who is your neighbor, there is no hurt or harm. Tale bearing is in regards to words, but this is in regards to actions taken. We could spend some time here, but I think we better move on. There are things that are going through my mind when somebody doesn’t agree with me on a particular economic policy but this person does no hurt to them, does not expose or disgrace a friend. Notice how this is said in verse 3, “nor takes up a reproach against his friend”. This is to expose something that is a disgrace, a shame. And let me tell you, this is expressed in very vivid terms. To a friend, we don’t treat a friend this way, characteristics that are present there.

Now let’s talk about point three, carrying one’s own attitude. We’ve looked at what we do relative to handling ourself, then relating to friends, now it’s about carrying our own attitude. This is a surprising one, I think. Attitude is interesting. For a good many years, I worked in an office environment. And you know, sometimes attitudes arise. You ever have any attitudes that arise at your workplace, at your house ever? Any attitudes that come up? Have you ever noticed an attitude in yourself? Notice that attitude? Yeah. And for a long time in our workplace, I struggled with the attitude thing, because a person may be a good performer when their job was on the line, they had to do this. But generally the attitude was not good. And then I had introduced to me a tool for managing employees that was called toxic negative attitudes. And you could point out attitude and correct for attitude. That was very helpful. The Lord speaks to us about attitude here. Because it’s like a real thing before him. And he says, in carrying their attitude, it’s like in their eyes, from their point of view, a loathsome person, of vile person, it says, is despised. That’s an interesting phrase about attitude. In their eyes, meaning from their mental faculties and viewpoint, as they are watching another person’s lifestyle. You know, sometimes leaders have lifestyle, entertainers, sports figures, athletes have lifestyles that are wicked. They’re vile. I could name some right now who are prominent. They’re prominent, well liked the individuals, elevated in society because they’re good at throwing the football, they’re good at hitting the baseball, but their lives are horrible to imitate. And one who’s going along more and more with God in His way, rather than the world in their ways, does not elevate that person. They recognize that person, maybe appreciate the contribution they can make, because they’re an individual made in the likeness of God, but they’re not elevated. They’re called wicked when they’re wicked. Are there some wicked folks around that we ought to recognize as wicked? If you’re going with God in His way, yes. This ought to be said, that’s wicked. No matter how much they add to our world of entertainment, leadership, education. Some are just wicked, wicked. Those going along with God in His way, this is what David provides as an answer that is characteristic.

But in contrast to that, David quickly adds, from the Lord by inspiration, “but the one who honors those who fear the Lord”, this is somebody who seen as weighty and important, somebody who has a deep seated respect for Yahweh, for his ways and are apprehensive about not going those ways. Whether it means they get an advantage politically or in the entertainment field or not. One of my kids told me a while ago that Hollywood has no soul. They take away your soul. Isn’t that interesting? A lot of Hollywood is elevated in people’s eyes, but the things that they advocate are wicked. It’s wicked. And we need to recognize that. And in contrast, elevate those in our circle who walk with the fear of the Lord. You know, there’s an interesting illustration, Erwin Lutzer used it. He used to pastor in Chicago, he still lives in there. He talked about a time in a very expensive Chicago clothing store when thieves broke in. And when thieves broke in, they went around and changed the price tag of everything. So here is a beautiful, set for the hilt, tuxedo for $25. And meanwhile, over here, is a nice silk tie for $2,500! They messed up the price tags. And I want you to know that in our world, the values have been messed up. They’ve been messed up. Those who walk progressively more and more God’s way, are learning to elevate, hold as weighty, those who fear the Lord and not those who are wicked. That’s the characteristic.

And here’s a good one, they commit and they don’t change. I want you to know, this one tagged me, it tagged me. They make a commitment with their words. Notice how he says it here in verse 4, “they swear to their own hurt, and they do not change”. They don’t exchange it. I want you to know how this tagged me. Not that I want you to know it. But I need to let you know that this stuff tags me. Nobody’s perfected yet. That’s why we have a new and living way. But we are progressively learning to go with God more and more His way. And it needs to tag us sometimes. I hate to have it tag me. I hate that feeling. Here’s how it tagged me. We were selling something really expensive, really expensive. When we were at a another church, we got an offer from an individual to buy this really expensive track of land and building, up near Chicago. And we, this church, committed to it. Then a person, who lived in the neighborhood where we were, came by and saw this and said, Well, I’ll give you this much more. Yep. I told you this tagged me, right. It tagged me. I want you to know that pangs came up. Because guess what we did? We committed and held to our first offer…No. We changed. This is characteristic of someone who is learning to progressively go more and more God’s way. They make the commitment. And the even though it hurts to follow through on it, they do. They do. I don’t like pangs. But I sure need them, to be growing.

Now the final one. He says this, in managing their own money, their money. He does not take advantage of the needy, but helps them. Notice how he says this here. And it needs to be said in accord with what Jesus told us in Matthew 25. Psalm 15:5, “who does not put out his money at interest.” Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t invest in a mutual fund. It doesn’t mean that you can’t buy stocks or bonds. Because how those things work are interest. And other than burying your money in the backyard, it’s what you do to save. Even if you put it in a bank account, it gets interest. He’s not saying you can’t enter into business ventures, at interest. Because Jesus said in Matthew chapter 25, when he was giving instructions to people concerning investing with the Lord, we should be like a person who invests their money in the bank, with interest. So he was not against business ventures with interest. What he was against is when you see somebody who is needy. Nehemiah 5 talks about it. They came back into the land and as they came back, there were taxes that were being raised, laid on people, they couldn’t even afford to pay the tax. So they had to borrow money to pay the tax on their land that they had to have for their family. And those who are loaning the money, we’re charging exorbitant rates, they were charging rates. And the idea is, for a needy person, you don’t charge them rates in order to profit. You help them. I want you to know that Heartland Bible Chapel has done that, repeatedly. And individuals in Heartland have done that, given money. Sometimes just given and sometimes to be paid back. But given the money to be used, and sometimes just given the money, I want you to know we attempt to do that wisely. We do attempt to do that wisely. Because the New Testament tells us each person is to bear their own burden. This is a help to them. And it also tells us in the very next verse, bear one another’s burdens. There is a balance. Here’s where the person with his money is. He’s not…This is mine, mine, mine, mine mine! Even to someone else’s hurt, when you help them. By the way, that sounded a little bit like Daffy Duck, in a cartoon that I have seen. This is my mine, mine, mine! And that’s wicked.

Next, he doesn’t profit from injustice, doesn’t take a bribe. That’s how this is put, a bribe against the innocent. This is where justice is not served, because there’s profit in it for me. Okay. James talks about this too. Yep, we can get tagged on this. I felt this one too. Into your fellowship comes a man, James 2, wearing a gold ring. And you say to him, Oh sit down here by me. Oh, nice. And then in comes a poor man. Poorly clad. And you say to him, Why don’t you sit over there. Well, no, way back there. Have you not become judges with evil motives? Sometimes churches do this. Okay, tagged, I’ve been pushed in that. I hate that! I hate that! Because every person is on level ground at the cross of Jesus Christ. Every one is as valuable as every other one, whether they can spin their gold ring or not, because they don’t have one. And those who are going progressively more and more God’s way are not respecters of persons. Unfortunately, sometimes, as in James’s day, it’s those who have the show of money, who think they can do absolutely anything. Going more and more God’s way. Yeah. It’s not there. It’s not there.

Let me conclude this morning by doing this, you have an opportunity. You have an opportunity now to sit in on this Q and A. And to grow in going, in fellowship with God, more and more His way. Isn’t this a sweet Psalm? How many would agree with that? This is a sweet Psalm. Is it one that tags you? Oh yeah. Yeah. But by the new and living way, we have full confidence of being perfected forever. The end of verse 5 encourages us, “He who does these things shall not be moved.” So here, we just go more and more God’s way. We just hear His voice and let Him reign. Let Him rule in us. Amen. Amen. Father in heaven, you tell us in the Psalms, that the person who does this will never be shaken. That’s how you end this. We will never be moved from having this access to you. While we camp here. And in eternity in your presence, we will never be moved from this. But allowing you to reign, Lord, help us to allow you to reign now, in respect to what you’ve done for us through Jesus Christ. In his name I pray amen.

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