It is assumed that the reader has some understanding of the setting of the Psalms in Scripture. See also “The Language of the Psalms”, as found at “apostlesteaching.net”.
This Psalm seems to be the closing one of a series of meditations and experiences that opened with Psalm 6. They all reflect the words of a soul burdened with a sense of the wickedness of the times, and calling with desire on God. Looked at as prophetic utterances, it is the latter stages of Israel’s captivity - perhaps just prior to the great tribulation - that is in view, and these expressions are those of the faithful Jewish remnant then. Notice that Psalm 14 begins with, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God”. To understand Psalm 15, it is important to read those immediately preceding it.
In Psalm 14, notice that evil reaches a climax in God’s sight. God looks down on men’s activities. He looks to see if any understand or seek Him amongst men. But there are none. This verse is quoted in Romans by Paul. However there is a remnant in whom God has worked; He calls them “my people” and it is these folk that the wicked “eat up as bread”, i.e. harass or seek to destroy. The wicked are then afraid because God is on the side of the those righteous ones, who they recently scorned. The last verse (7) of Psalm 14 tells us where the salvation of Israel will come from. It will be established in God’s holy hill, Mount Zion, Jerusalem, also known as the city of the great King (Christ), in Psalm 48:2. It will become, in the millennial kingdom, the focal point for administration on earth.
Note also in Psalm 14:7, “When the Lord turneth again the captivity of his people, Jacob shall be glad, Israel shall rejoice”. [Emphasis is mine.] This expression is used also in Psalm 126:1 and indicates the complete restoration and establishment of the full blessing of Israel. Again note that it is Israel that is spoken of all the time. The church is not mentioned here, nor is it directly referred to anywhere in the Old Testament. It was “hidden in God” as a mystery, as is stated in Ephesians and Colossians.
Psalm 15 verse 1 asks the question - when Christ returns to rule and He establishes the seat of His power in Zion, who will have part in that administration? Psalm 15 gives the answer.
When everything was in disarray - the foundations of earthly hope, and wickedness is in the place where righteousness should be on earth, in the things of God - David looked above and saw that God’s throne is in heaven. See Psalm 11:3 and 4, “If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do? Jehovah is in the temple of His holiness; Jehovah, - His throne is in the heavens..” This all links with Psalm 15:1. Jehovah will be in His temple and will rule in the person of Christ in Zion. In the Gospels this is referred to as the kingdom of God. In Matthew it is the kingdom of the heavens. No matter how bad the conditions were, the Psalmist was able to look up and forward, and the Lord is viewed as in His holy temple, although as yet there was no manifestation of His power.
Verses 2-5 are the answer to the challenge in verse 1. It is not a question here of the sinner’s title to the kingdom, but of the faithful remnant, as showing their righteous walk, in contrast with the evil-doers of Psalm 14. The same kind of language exactly is found in Isaiah 33:15-16. Note also the setting, in verse 14 of that chapter.
It is not the title to the kingdom, but the character of the persons who are enjoying the kingdom. The title or passport is the blood of Christ. Although these verses have direct application to faithful Israelites in a future time, this conduct should be ours now.
MM October 2008