Psalm 15:4b,5a “…who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.””.
This phrase is about integrity. My dictionary says that integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” and/or “the state of being whole and undivided”. The former are the daily battles, the latter is the war. I see them as battles and a war because I know myself so well. My natural bent is so self-focused. It’s a real battle some days to be whole and principled. Each example, (oath-keeping, money-lending, and bribe-resisting) describes moral principles that are put to the test, usually when I am at my weakest. I’m fine keeping my promises when the sun is shining. But what about the “even when it hurts” times? Can I still love and forgive when that person hurt me so badly? Am I so willing to lend my resources when there is nothing in it for me, not even a little publicity? Do I resist the temptation to treat certain others with a little more equality than everyone else because it benefits me in some way?
Integrity really only describes God, the completely whole one. Yet, unless I am described by this trait, says the Psalmist, I cannot hope to dwell in the LORD’s sanctuary, to live on His holy hill. It’s an unhappy quandary. Unlike many, I just cannot see myself as good enough to meet this high standard. Do you? Have we really the integrity to keep every promise, lend every last penny, and refuse every temptation to favouritism?
Once again, we must rely on the Source of all good to transpose into our souls the resources needed to meet God’s standards. He who makes us blameless by His Blamelessness, enables us to speak truth because He is Truth and enables us to love our neighbours because He is Love, does something about our need for integrity.
In another Psalm, David asks (on behalf of us), “give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11). God’s answer? He says, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone…” (Ezekiel 11:19). There it is: Integrity for the asking. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it will put wholeness back into a heart fractured and hardened by selfishness. God ‘s soft-heartedness (often referred to as ‘compassion’) is transposed into our hearts as we allow Him to work His great task of re-creation.
Lover of all.
None of these am I, and so,
In desperate sense of need I come
To Your great throne, true sanctuary, holy hill
On bended knees.
Restore my heart, soul, mind and strength
To wholly be as Yours,
My fractured, stoney, hardened heart
So off and out I go, now whole,
To keep my oaths,
Lend what I have,
- An Undivided Heart (unwnepal.wordpress.com)
- May We Teach Our Sons to be Fathers of Integrity (amomlookingup.wordpress.com)