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Psalm 15 Sermon From December 2012 Prayer Service

Psalm 15 Sermon From December 2012 Prayer Service

Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / December 5th 2012: Season of Advent, Psalm 15 Who shall dwell on Your holy hill?”


          O 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.


                                                                                (Psalm 15 ESV)


Let us pray:May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all are hearts be acceptable in your sight O, Lord. Amen.


Grace, peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Good Christian Friends. “Now when [David] the king lived in his house [in Jerusalem] and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.” Now that same  night the word of the LORD came to Nathan and told Nathan to go back to King David and speak to David about this again. When Nathan did, he told David that it would not be David who makes a house for God but God who would make a house for David. In the immediate future the promise is about David’s son Solomon (the one, who in the end, did build the First Temple on the Holy Hill, where the Ark of the Covenant, from the Tent of Meeting would rest), but there is a bigger promise in God’s Promise to David, a future promise of a Saviour that would out do David’s son Solomon for wisdom, who  would out do Solomon for Kingship, and for godliness and faithfulness and for self control and for self sacrifice: One who would ultimately fulfil Gods Law, in all its strictness and provide God's Gospel in all its sweetness. God promises to King David that this future promised offspring would “build a house for [God’s] name, and [God would] establish the throne of [this future promised offspring’s] kingdom forever.” God says through Nathan the prophet, “I will be to Him a father, and He shall be to Me a Son.”[1]


What started out with King David asking a question about the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, and his desire to build a temple for God ends with God promising an everlasting throne, an everlasting house to David. The Tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was a place where God promised to dwell and so  it’s interesting to think about this question that David asks in Psalm 15. He says, “O LORD, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on Your holy hill?” In King David’s day there was only one who entered into God’s tent, that person was the Livitical high priest and that high priest only occasionally went into the presence of God, in the Tabernacle, He didn’t dwell there, the high priest had to have the blood of the sacrifice in order for him to go in and when he was there it was only for a short time. Who could dwell in there? Even Moses hadn’t. David surely couldn’t. Who could this person be? What will this person be like? This one who can dwell in the presence of God?


In the short term Solomon would be someone David would get to know a little bit in Solomon’s early years, but there was more to this promise, as we have said. And David, on the one hand, asks “who is this person?” while on the other hand, In Psalm 15, David tells us how to recognize Him. Do you recognize him? 


Is it you? Can you say that you have walked blameless before God? Have you always done what is right? Do you have a true heart? Do you speak truth to everyone all the time? Are you kind to your friends and others in their troubles? Have you lent money to others without expecting a return on it? No! This isn’t you! Then who is it? You’ve likely already thought of Who it is.


King David led a life of anticipation when it came to the promise of salvation. All his days were a continual kind of Advent season, as David was not able to know what the Saviour would be like in the way that others later would. In death David would finally get to personally know this messiah.


There was another person who waited with anticipation to meet this promised saviour. “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.””[2]


This began Mary’s Advent season, not a four week season but a nine month season. At the end of Mary’s unique Advent season she would see God’s promise to King David face to face. And as “the child [Jesus] grew and became strong, filled with wisdom [and with] the favor of God ... upon Him,”[3]Mary would witness Him: She would see this Jesus who walked blamelessly, this Jesus Who did what was right, Who’s heart was true and Who spoke that truth in His heart to others. She saw this Jesus who didn’t slander with His tongue, Who did no evil to His neighbor, Who showed compassion while still calling a spade a spade. Mary knew this Jesus Who kept His word even when it hurt Him to do so; this Jesus Who didn’t use money to harm others or take advantage of them. She saw the One Who David asked of, the One Who David describes, and she saw what David desired to see the One Who traveled in the Tent of the Lord, and Who dwelt on God’s Holy Hill. Jesus, Who truly is the perfect high priest; Who because of His Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, Jesus who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.[4] She witnessed Him, she witnessed Him in the manger at His birth and upon the cross at His death; she with over five hundred others saw Him in His resurrected flesh.[5] We remember and celebrate Advent knowing how it ends; David and Mary experienced the first Advent of Christ Jesus not knowing what was coming next: David in anticipation, Mary as an eye witness.


Even though people had waited with anticipation for Jesus, Jesus was filled with the unexpected: this righteous promised Saviour dwelt on the Holy Hill of God in a way no one saw coming. Before Jesus, people would associate the Holy Hill of God with the temple mount where Solomon had built that first temple. This for the Jews is still the location of God’s Holy Hill, but for us Christians the Holy Hill of God is a different hill, its Mount Calvary, Mount Golgotha  (the place of the skull), the location where Jesus was crucified, where He died and was buried, the place where He was risen from the dead. Where at just the right time He became sin Who had no sin, where at just the right time He died for you and me and everyone, just as He said He would even though it hurt and killed him to do so. And He did it, because in doing so He saved David and Mary and you and countless others.


If you read Psalm 15 as a check list of what you must do to be righteous, what you must do to be saved, it will be nothing but an impossible law and you will be left broken. If you read Psalm 15 as a description of Jesus and His perfect life lived for your righteousness, then it is good news in deed and you will be lifted up. Luther famously once said, “The law says, "Do this," and it is never done. Grace says, "believe in this," and everything is already done.”[6]


In this season of Advent remember your salvation is already done: Keep that peace in the midst of turmoil and in the midst of signs of the coming end. For, not only has the blameless and righteous Jesus done this great and saving work for David for Solomon for Mary and for You, He also does what He promises to do, which is to be with you and with the whole Christian church until the end of the age and for ever more. He who does these things shall never be moved, and in Him you will never be moved either. In these days we celebrate His first coming and look with hope to His second coming, we remeber this all year round: “O LORD, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on Your holy hill?" The answer: Jesus Christ. Amen.


Let us pray: Lord, have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.”




[1] 2 Samuel 7:1-16


[2] Luke 1:26-33


[3] Luke 2:40


[4] Hebrews 4:15


[5] 1 Corinthians 15:5-8


[6]The Heidelberg Disputation Rev. Doctor Martin Luther, May, 1518.