At the beginning of this psalm, David asks the question, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” The Hebrew word translated as ‘dwell’ is the word ‘shakan,’ from which we also get the word ‘shekinah.’ This is the word that is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the dwelling of God’s glory in the inner sanctuary. David here is asking a question of fellowship. Who is it that gets to have fellowship with God? Who is the one who shares in God’s glory? David answers that question in the remainder of the psalm.
Later in Israel’s history, Jewish rabbis taught that there were 613 commands in the law that the Jews were to obey if they wanted to be righteous. In Psalm 15, David brings that number down to eleven. Isaiah 33:15-16 gives only six requirements. Micah 6:8 mentions only three. Habakkuk 2:4 names but one—faith! Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to be forgiven of your sins, to be declared righteous, and to be welcomed into God’s presence. When properly understood in relation to faith, you and I can see how Psalm 15 is not a prescription for earning your salvation. Instead, it is a description of how saved people live if they desire fellowship with God. David sums up righteous character in three basic areas of life—integrity, honesty, and sincerity. He ends in verse 5 by saying, “He who does these things shall never be moved.” In other words, those who are righteous have no need to fear. They are secure in the presence of God even though the earth beneath them gives way. Those who trust in Christ have full access to God. This is what the righteousness that comes through faith does for the one who has it!
For more, read Psalm 15:1-5