Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose way of life is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbour, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honours those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15:1-5 (NIV)
Reading Psalm 15, it might seem as if the standard of life expected by God is just beyond our reach. But look again. The words of this Psalm remind us that what we say and what we do are good ‘thermometers’ for what is going on in our hearts.
The part of the Psalm that really struck me the first time I read it is ‘… he who sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not’, now translated in the NIV as ‘… who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind’. I’ve witnessed many situations over the years where people have given their word and then broken it when they realised what it would cost them. I’ve always been disappointed when this has happened, particularly if the person involved is a Christian.
Do you find yourself in a situation at the moment where you’ve given your word that you will do something, yet only afterwards you have realised what the true cost will be to you? The true cost may be in terms of effort, time or money. I can only encourage you to keep your word. The person involved may never know what it has really cost you to keep your promise, but God does.
Sometimes keeping our word hurts. It may cause us great turmoil – we may be stirred by what is happening. In fact we should be. Knowing when we should do the right thing often causes us to feel ill at ease, until we make the final decision. At the end of the day you will not be shaken, your faith will be secure.
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