“Lord, who may dwell in Your tabernacle? He who speaks the truth in his own heart.” – Psalm 15:1,4
There is a scene in the movie “Clear and Present Danger”, where Admiral Greer (played by James Earl Jones) is lying in bed, deathly ill with cancer, talking with Jack Ryan (played by Harrison Ford) about the lies and cover up that Ryan has exposed within the United States government.
Admiral Greer: “You know what you think about when you’re lying here. You know you’re going to die. You think it’s alright. You lived a long time. You had a family that loved you. You had a job that you thought made a difference, that you thought was honorable. And then you see this (looking at photos exposing government corruption).” Ryan responds: “I’m afraid if I dig any deeper no-one’s going to like what I find.” Admiral Greer: “You took an oath when you first came to work for me… Your word is who you are.”
Ever wonder what it means to “take an oath” when giving testimony? An oath is made when the person testifying promises that God would agree that their testimony is the truth. It means the person is putting his or her personal character on the line, with God as their witness, that what they are about to say is the truth.
If you are an atheist, or a secular humanist who would be skeptical that God exists, taking an oath means nothing to you. In your mind, you would base your character not on what God says but according to your own standards. So the right thing to do is refuse to take an oath and instead make an affirmation, which is the secularist’s option to promise to tell the truth based on your own character, leaving God out of it.
Both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Ford, his accuser, swore under oath that their testimony would be agreed to by God as the truth. They have promised, with God as their witness, they are not lying.
During the hearing, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy asked Judge Kavanaugh a direct question: “Do you believe in God?” The judge’s response? “I do.” Why would Senator Kennedy make this his first question? Because the judge had previously testified to the committee that he was accountable to God, and not himself, for his moral behavior. The senator was reinforcing what being “under oath” was all about.
Senator Kennedy then asked a series of questions; Judge Kavanaugh answering each one.
Sen. Kennedy: “I will give you a last opportunity, right here in front of God and country. I want you to look me in the eye. Are Dr. Ford’s allegations true?”
Judge Kavanaugh: “I’ve never done this to anyone, including her.”
Sen. Kennedy: “Are Ms. Ramirez’s allegations about you true?”
Judge Kavanaugh: “Those are not true.”
Sen. Kennedy: “Are Miss Julie Swetnick’s allegations made by Mr. Avenatti about you true?”
Judge Kavanaugh: “Those are not true.”
Sen. Kennedy: “None of these allegations are true?”
Judge Kavanaugh: “Correct.”
Sen. Kennedy: “You swear to God?”
Judge Kavanaugh: “I swear to God.”
Sen. Kennedy: “That’s all I have, judge.”
Senator Kennedy was satisfied, based on Judge Kavanaugh’s oath before God, that he was telling him the truth.
In our verse this week, King David opens Psalm 15 by asking God a direct question: “Who may dwell in heaven with Him (in His tabernacle)?” King David adds the most significant answer to this question in verse 4: It’s the person who is honest with himself, who speaks the truth within his heart. Not the person who defines truth based on what fits the situation. Truth isn’t about what works. It’s about what fits reality – the facts. And as Admiral Greer told Jack Ryan, “Your word (taking an oath to tell the truth) is who you are.”
In his book ‘Louder than Words”, Pastor Andy Stanley explains how to know who you really are: “Your character is who you really are. It will determine whether or not you are worth knowing. Your character is the internal script that will determine your response to failure, success, mistreatment, and pain. It is more far-reaching than your talent, your education, your background, or your network of friends. Your good looks and net worth may get you married; your character will keep you married. Your God-given reproductive system may enable you to produce children; your character will determine your ability to relate to and communicate with those children.” What you say under oath reveals your character – who you really are.
Jesus Christ confirmed Psalm 15 when He explained how the tax collector spoke to God in Luke 15:13-14: “The tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’”
When testifying before God, tell the truth. Regardless of what happens here on earth, it will have eternal consequences. As Senator Kennedy told Judge Kavanaugh, that’s all that matters, because it is your word.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #315 – October 06, 2018