Psalm 15: Shaken
Shaken. Sometimes we can better understand a word if we look at it’s antonym. It’s linguistic antipodes. It’s opposite. For example, the opposite of wet? Dry. The opposite of old? Young. Strong? Weak. I think you get the idea. So, let’s begin today by first talking a little about the opposite of shaken.
When something is NOT shaken it is sound, safe, and secure. It is something that will not and cannot be moved. It is permanent. It is steadfast. It is constant, resolute, fixed and unyielding. In fact, it is the same type of language that the Bible uses when it speaks about mountains. Take Psalm 125 for example. “Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.” Same word. Mountains are not easily shaken. Their size and height create a sense of security and safety. Throughout world history men have sought safety and refuge within the shadows, caves, and crevices of the mountain. When I see a mountain the word “shaken” is just about the last thing that comes my mind. That is the image that David appeals to at the close of Psalm 15. He tells us that the people who do these things are sound, safe, and secure. They cannot be moved. They will not waver. They do not topple, tumble or tip over. They do not slip, stumble or shake. They cannot be overthrown. And they cannot be dislodged. Like the mountains they are fixed and firm in their faith and the portion they receive from the Lord.
But here’s the thing (two things actually). And we need to make sure we are paying attention. This sense of security and safety (of never being shaken) comes to the one who, “does these things.” Don’t miss the point. David is reminding us of something very important. Who we are cannot be separated from what we do. Choices matter. Our conduct and conversation has consequences. Want your life to be steadfast, safe and secure? Want to be that one who is never shaken? Well, it ain’t going to happen through wishful thinking. Good intentions aren’t going to be enough. At some point we will have to start doing if we want to start receiving the promise. Doing is the first thing.
Secondly, we need to make certain we are doing the right things. In verse one David articulates the desire of his heart. He wants unbroken fellowship with God. He longs to remain in the place of intimacy with the Almighty. But he understands that you can’t have it both ways in this world. If you want to walk in fellowship with God, then you need to subscribe to a certain lifestyle. Don’t misunderstand the point. It’s one thing to be forgiven. The grace that was expressed on the cross is our only hope of forgiveness and salvation. But too many of us refuse to embrace the new life that He offers on the other side of the cross. David reminds us that character counts, that who we are matters greatly to God. If we would experience stability and security, then we need to make certain choices. Walk in integrity. Work righteousness. Speak truth. In Christ we are changed at the very core of our being. That change should find expression in the way we live our lives. Doing good to those around us. Hating evil. Serving those who are about kingdom business. Keeping our word. Refusing to take advantage of others in their time of need.
And so, David provides the answer to his own questions. Want to experience the full depths of intimacy that God offers to each and every one of us? Want to know what it means to never be shaken? To know safety and security no matter the storm or situation? The choice is yours. Allow the work that Jesus has done inside you to find expression outside you. Let faith begin to color every area of your life. Don’t just believe it. Begin to live it. Begin to do these things and you too will never be shaken.