“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?” (Ps 15:1)
These opening questions that David asks in Psalm 15 point us to the heart and goal of human existence, the very reason why we were made – and that is to dwell with and have fellowship with God himself. What an incredible goal! But if we know anything about God’s holiness (see Hab 1:13), and our unrighteousness (Rom 3:10-12), the prospect of dwelling with him should actually leave us trembling with fear.
“Where angels bow with veiled faces, how shall man be able to worship at all?” (C. H. Spurgeon)
Some people think it’s a very easy thing to approach God in worship. But this Psalm helps us to see that not everyone can do so. In fact, for the Israelites, only the righteous person, the one who walked “blamelessly”, was fit to worship God in the tabernacle. And it’s the same today, only the righteous person is fit to come before God in worship.
This poses a huge problem for us though, because all of us, without exception, are unrighteous sinners. How can we approach the throne of our supremely holy God?
“There are only two ways that God’s justice can be satisfied with respect to your sin. Either you satisfy it or Christ satisfies it. You can satisfy it by being banished from God’s presence forever. Or you can accept the satisfaction that Jesus Christ has made.” (R. C. Sproul)
For the Israelites and for us today, it’s ultimately Jesus’ righteousness that makes us worthy to come and sojourn in the tent of God. Jesus has made it possible for us to commune with God now, if we trust in his saving work on our behalf. And one day we will have the unbelievable privilege and unimaginable joy of fellowship with God face to face (Rev 22:4)!
As we gather to worship today, we should remember the work of Jesus, and delight in him who has cleansed us from our sin, and so freed us to sojourn in the tent of God.