Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Great question, probably the single most asked question of children and adults aside from ‘is God real’, ‘how do you know if you will go to heaven when you die’? Well, this list is sums it up.
- Your walk must be blameless
- You must be righteous
- You must speak truth from your heart
- Your tongue must speak truth
- You must treat your neighbors right
- You must respect others, honor those who fear the Lord and despise the vile
- You must keep your promises even when it hurts
- You must not be two faced
- You must give money to the poor without interest
- You must not accept bribes
That’s quite a daunting list. Frankly, keeping them all—all the time, seems impossible. Because though I like to think of myself as an honest person, I can’t say that my tongue speaks truth all the time and I’m certainly not 100% blameless. So it’s hopeless.
Not exactly. There are two things I think might be misinterpreted in this psalm by many and most.
First, I don’t think ‘dwelling in the sacred tent’ actually means heaven. And second, of course we can’t do any of these things on our own, but with Jesus and repentance. Well, that’s when the impossible always becomes possible.
This is my personal theology speaking here, but dwelling in the sacred place and on the holy mountain with God seems metaphoric with being in God’s holy presence—which prior to the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ required ritualistic cleansing. But like any relationship, if there is some kind of conflict, it will set up a barrier between the two parties. In this case, God and you. God doesn’t kick you out or leave—but you do. You’ve made a conscious decision to step away from what you know is right and godly, thereby stepping away from the holy mountain.
Fortunately, there is Jesus. Because of God’s infinite mercy, we are able to come back to the holy mountain and re-enter the sacred tent and commune with him through repentance because of our acceptance of a relationship with his Son, Jesus. This forgiveness resets our tables and since we are wiped clean, we are able to claim each of these bullets once more.
But it’s a process—relationships are dynamic and as they grow and change we must constantly grow and change with them. Even though it may be a one and done acceptance and saving grace, we won’t ever experience the true presence of God here on Earth if we aren’t keeping our life in spiritual order through this process of cleansing and resetting the table to claim these bullet points. It’s the only way to live on the holy mountain. And how great is it that we get to do that now, rather than waiting till after death?
No one said it would be easy, but nothing worth having ever is.
Questions to ponder:
1) Have I accepted Jesus as my savior so that I can live with God on the holy mountain?
2) Is there anything on this bulleted list (remember the bulleted list is broad on purpose, think about what it could mean specific to your life) that I need to deal with so I can step back into the holy tent?
3) Why is it better to live in God’s presence now rather than thinking I should wait till I get to heaven?