Wednesday of Epiphany 4 – Psalm 15

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

The subpoena had been delivered to his office. He knew what it was about. He would have to testify. The company had skirted the law, perhaps transgressed it on occasion, and now he would have to testify about it. He could plausibly deny that he knew anything about it. After all, he wasn’t the one who had made the decisions, but he was in the room when they were made. He knew about them. He had known about them

What would happen to him if he spoke the truth? It would surely be unpleasant. He and people he had known and called friends would likely be convicted of crimes. He would never be able to work in the field again. Fines would be levied. A stint in jail might be required of him. He might lose the home he loved. Would his wife stay with him? All these scenarios ran through his mind as he sat there looking at the letter from the court, telling him which day and in which room he would submit his testimony.

“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?” David asks in the first verse of this psalm. “Who shall dwell on your holy hill?” At the end of verse four he speaks of a man or woman who swears to his own hurt and does not change his story. When he or she appears in court the truth is told, even when it harms the one who bears the witness. The psalmist speaks pointedly to our age when the truth has too often become a matter of opinion, malleable and changeable according to the needs and circumstances of the speaker. This infects politics, classrooms (the amount of plagiarism and cheating in classrooms is very disturbing), and almost every facet of our experience. But God does not change and the truth, the honest-to-God truth, does not change either. The sooner you realize that the better.

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