This Week's Focus Passage

This Week’s Focus Passage: Psalm 15:4 ‘In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honoreth them

This Week’s Focus Passage: Psalm 15:4

‘In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honoreth them that fear Jehovah.’

    In order to better understand what David has here written, we offer the entire fifteenth psalm, for each one of us to read over, and ponder over some details:

             A Psalm of David

Jehovah, who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, And speaketh truth in his heart; He that slandereth not with his tongue, Nor doeth evil to his friend, Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honoreth them that fear Jehovah; He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not; He that in putteth not out his money to interest, Nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these thing shall never be moved.—Psalm 15:1-5.

The inspired superscription grants us, very simply; this song is, a Psalm of David. In other words, this is a psalm written by the Sweet Psalmist of Israel. The second king of Israel penned this sobering and beautiful psalm. It is the Word of God, David having been inspired by God the Holy Spirit to be the human author of Psalm 15. Yes, it is his composition. Yet, Charles Spurgeon, in his Treasury of David, which has been designated as “An Original Exposition of The Book of Psalms, suggests, the following, in his introduction to this particular psalm, Psalm 15; on its’ subject: 

    “This psalm of David bears no dedicatory title at all indicative of the occasion upon which it was written, but it is exceeding probable that, together with the twenty-fourth psalm, to which it bears a striking resemblance, its’ composition was in some way connected with the removal of the ark to the holy hill of Zion.” 

    Additionally, he continues, “Spiritually we have here a description of the man who is a child at home or in the Church of God on earth, and who will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever above. He is primarily Jesus, the perfect man, and in Him all who through grace are conformed to His image.”

    The psalm begins with an important, and serious, question for the reader, or singer, of this Psalm. It asks, at the very outset, Jehovah, who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? The responses given to this query are several; in fact, we may count the number to be eleven, beginning, in verse two, with, He that walketh uprightly, followed by its counterpart, he that worketh righteousness, then, still in the second verse, he that speaketh truth in his heart. ThisH then, has added, in the third verse, a few negatives; namely things that this person would not do, namely, he that slandereth not with his tongue, he would not ever be guilty of bearing false witness against another individual. And most assuredly, one such as this would never, betray a friend; they would not become a ‘Judas,’ nor such as Ahithophel; this person under discussion, would never, do evil to his friend, as did those professed friend of Christ and David. They would never be turncoats.

    We arrive at the verse that we have chosen for our focus passage this week. Verse four, in the rendering found in the American Standard Version—1901, reads, In whose eyes a reprobate is despised. Numerous exceptions to this translation are to be found in other English translations. The King James Version, has it, In whose eyes a vile person is contemned, while its counterpart, The New King James Version, has In whose eyes a vile person is despised, and the New American Standard has, in this verse, A despicable person is despised in his eyes, while the English Standard Version (ESV) has followed the NKJV with, In whose eyes a vile person is despised.     

In Christian theology, reprobation is a doctrine that teaches that a person can reject the gospel to a point where God in turn rejects them and curses their conscience. When a sinner is so hardened as to feel no remorse or misgiving of conscience for particularly vile acts, it is considered a sign of reprobation. We may witness this in the writings of Paul to the Romans. In the first chapter of that epistle, Paul speaks of the terrible wickedness of the people of whom he speaks. They have given over to their lusts and evil desires (vss.18-23). But in verse 24, we read this horrific justice, Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their heart unto uncleanness. They gave themselves unto that wickedness, and in response, we may say, that God gave them up. This was essentially the cast with the Pharaoh to whom Moses and Aaron were sent. In Exodus, chapters nine through eleven; through all those plagues, we read that Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people of God go free. But the conclusion of the matter is this; Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and that was the end of the matter. Jehovah hardened Pharaoh’s heart; drew him into the Red Sea and he and all his host were drowned. Pharaoh was proven to be a reprobate. Pharaoh rejected Jehovah and His demands; God rejects Pharaoh.

We do not, and cannot recognize just who are reprobate; God forbid that we ever take that ability to ourselves. God alone is the Reader of the hearts of men. We may be able to recognize behaviors that are such as of a reprobate; but as in the case of Pharaoh, it is the end that ultimately decides the matter. It is Christ alone that has eyes that can recognize who are, and who are not, reprobates. Leave it with Him. Let us, rather, strive to behave as the next part of the fourth verse speaks, to be among those who honoreth those that fear Jehovah. Again, we have not been given the eyes to recognize the sincerity, or insincerity, of those with whom we mingle in, or out, of church. We can, as Christ has told us, and that clearly, Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20). But, it is the Lord of all the earth, Who alone can discern whether the tree is corrupt, or no; whether the fruit therefore is corrupt or no; and we must leave it to Jesus to determine. We have been given, it appears, the right and perhaps even the duty to judge the fruit, but we have never been given the right to judge the person; that is the prerogative of Him to Whom His Father gave that right of judgement (John 5:22, 27). May we confine ourselves to searching our own hearts, and fruit, leaving the judgment to Christ. When, with our best God-given understanding, we consider a person before us to be one that fears God, let us then seek to honor that person with our loving prayers and best thoughts.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church  


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