“In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.”
Psalms 15:4 (KJV)
How are you? Today, we continue our journey in reflecting upon Psalms 15. If you haven’t done so already, you can read the previous posts to the Psalms 15 Series by DUO Inspirations by clicking the following links:
Let us remember that the words in Psalms 15:4 are part of the answers that King David have for his own questions he asked in Psalms 15:1 (KJV), which were “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
Now, with this in mind, let’s look at the first part of Psalms 15:4 (KJV), “In whose eyes a vile person is contemned…”. I think it is kind of human nature to dislike evil and cruel people, or at least their actions. For example, we may feel a sickening feeling or heart break for pets and victims who have been abused in some way. In turn, we may feel a contempt or hardness in our hearts about people who could do such things. I think when the “evil” involves violence it is easier for us to hold contempt in our hearts for the evildoer.
Yet, do we hold that same contempt in our hearts for evildoers, if the “evil” doesn’t contain violence? For example, idol worshipping is evil. It is totally wrong and against God’s will. God alone is the only one to be worshipped. So, do we hold contempt in our hearts for those who worship idols? Or, do we instead have a nonchalant, “live and let live” type attitude? Do we invite idol worshippers to our parties, to join us in business, or into our families, “as long as they don’t push their beliefs on us”?
We, as a society, seemed to be in a rut as far as NOT holding contempt in our hearts for immoral and evil actions done by others. It seems more commonplace to let everyone fit in, instead of standing up for your own beliefs. It seems more commonplace to enable people to feel entitled, instead of teaching them natural cause and effect of things.
Lessons such as, if you want to eat, you have to work, are going by the wayside. I am not talking about suffering the feeble, the elderly, the widows, and the little children to work when they aren’t able. I am not talking about people who choose to be housekeepers, stay at home parents, homeschool parents, and other jobs that society doesn’t always look upon as being jobs. I am not even talking about just the entitlement of food without earning it. It just seems that there is quite a bit of entitlement in this world that is enabled instead of discouraged or condemned.
It makes sense that if we are called to hold contempt in our hearts for doing bad, then we are called to also honor those who do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Yes, we are called to honor those who “fear the Lord.” Again, I don’t believe that “fear” in this case means to be afraid of God in that we are afraid that God might do something mean to us. I believe it is a fear as in a reverent and respect for God’s holiness and His ability to give us natural consequences that we deserve and grace that we don’t deserve.
Just as it seems easy to hold contempt for the evil and violent people of the world, so it may seem easy to honor those who are good, loving, godly people. Yet, again, I am not so sure it is that easy. It may not be as prevalent as we may think. I am reminded of children being called “goody two shoes” or “teacher’s pet” in school for doing good or not following the mischief of the crowd.
We might think that oh, “kids will be kids” or “kids can be so cruel sometimes”. However, I believe that kids are not born this way. They are taught or conditioned to be cruel in a world that is full of cruelty. I don’t mean that kids are totally innocent and their behavior should be overlooked. I am just saying that I think if they were conditioned or treated to be kind always, than they would be less likely to be cruel and more likely to continue with “what they know and have seen” with that same level of kindness.
Even some adults, maybe because they learned it as children, talk about “do-gooders” as if doing good things was a bad thing. Instead of being honored as being God fearing, people who do good things are mocked as being bad.
The last part of Psalms 15:4 (KJV) reads, “He that sweareth his own hurt, and changeth not.” In my research, I have found many places, which state that this means to keep your promises, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it is for you. These resources seem to speak of this in a general sense. However, I am not sure if it means in a general sense or a specific sense.
Maybe it is the teacher in me, but it seems that if this statement is part of the same verse as the rest, it might be relating to the same topic. It might be reinforcing the fact that we are called to disdain the cruel and empower or honor the godly. Maybe we are called to swear not to enable the evil; swear not to befriend and be nonchalant about ungodly actions, so that we will not slowly learn the evil ways of the evil. After all, it is when we are passive and nonchalant about the sinful ways of others or ourselves, that we slowly condition ourselves to be more sinful. For example, if we don’t speak out and distance ourselves from those who act as if they are entitled, then we may soon start to act with that same entitlement. Maybe it is calling us to be godly no matter how much we are hurt, mocked, or threatened.
Thank you for your Holy Word. Thank you for teaching us the way to you. Give us understanding when we are confused about your Word or anything else. Give us the strength to disdain the ungodly as well as empower and honor the godly, no matter how difficult it may seem. Help us to keep our word and to be godly, no matter the consequences given us by the world. Help us not to be nonchalant and slip into the ways of the evil. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 15:4 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 15:4 mean to me?
*What does “fear of the Lord” mean to me?
*What does “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not” mean to
*Do I heed the words in Psalms 15:4?
*What do I need to do to better heed the words in Psalms 15:4?
Now, it is your turn.
As always, I encourage you to read the Word of God yourself. Don’t take my word of my reflection as your own. Pray and ask God to give you your own understanding. For example, the last sentence in Psalms 15:4 could mean that in a general sense, we need to keep our word no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it may be. Or, it could mean something else. Sometimes, God's Word is meant to speak one message to one person and another to the next. Sometimes, the meaning is meant to be the same to all. That is between you and God.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.