Psa 15:4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. (KJV)
Psa 15:4 He despises a reprobate, but honors the LORD’s loyal followers. He makes firm commitments and does not renege on his promise. (NET Bible)
Psalm 15:1 asks, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
My understanding is that Psalm 15 describes the person who will qualify for heaven. Those who do not meet the specifications given in the short Psalm 15 will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
One important qualification is stated in verse 4, “He makes firm commitments, and does not renege on his promise.” The KJV provides added insight when it translates “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” In other words, if you enter an agreement, you keep the agreement, even if it proves to be to your disadvantage.
The Bible makes a very big issue about this matter. The nation of Israel lost its position, lost its land, lost its great Temple, when it violated an agreement it had made with the king of Babylon (Ezekiel 17:9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19). God holds nations, national leaders, and individuals to this standard. Consulting the cross references given for Psalm 15:4 will make this clear. I will post cross references for Psalm 15:4 at the end of this article. Be sure to study them. I thought I had furnished these elsewhere on this site, but apparently not, so here they are below.
This holds true in my experience for agreements reached in collective bargaining between teachers, teacher unions, and boards of education and the school administration. Administrators frequently flaunted contract provisions, saying “grieve it, if you disagree with my decision.” As the Union Representative I frequently did just that, and generally won each grievance because I was correct in interpreting the contract, and the administrator or the administration was wrong.
I have been retired for some time now, but I suspect things have not changed that much. Human nature has not changed, so I expect administrators have not changed. Unfortunately, administrators often took an adversarial stance toward teachers. That is bad practice. When it involves administrative violation of a contract, it is wrong. It violates the contract and violates the Bible.
Instead of violating the contract, the administration should adhere to the contract just as it expects teachers to do. If a provision of the contract proves to be to the disadvantage of the administration, the solution is to seek a change in the contract the next time the contract is up for re-negotiation.
What prompts me to write about this subject just now is that in my summer project to clean up the attic, I came across the April, 1973 issue of The Michigan Teacher, where on page 8 appeared a most significant article, “The other side has coordinated bargaining!” The article says in part:
“School Boards have already started their coordinated bargaining. Following are some recommendations of a steering committee to a coordinating task force of school boards, superintendents, and chief board negotiators:
- No automatic increments from salary schedule of past contract–divorce new contract from any past contract.
- Limit of 5.5% to increased costs, including increments.
- Don’t permit clauses which require a continuation of educational standards–they might cost money in teachers’ salaries.
- No deficit financing for teacher increases.
- Minimum 40-hour work week for teachers visible to public, with teachers required to be at work locations.
- Teachers’ work year–minimum of 189 duty days.
- No released time for union activities.
- No class size language that doesn’t permit adjustments by administration.
- Binding Arbitration: If you don’t have it, don’t accept. If you have it, try to limit authority of arbitrator and to define what is grievable and what can be taken to arbitration. Avoid language requiring consultation with the union.
- Reduction of staff: seniority should not be sole basis.
- Eliminate the use of other contract settlements as basis for your salary schedule.
- Teacher responsibility: A strong management rights clause should be included.
- All school districts should become members and cooperate with the coordinating agency on contract negotiations. All districts should encourage active participation of their chief negotiator in the Negotiators Association
WHO SAYS COORDINATED BARGAINING WON’T WORK? It’s working beautifully for the school boards!”
Let this be a lesson in how the administration favors for itself what it denies collectively for the teachers.
Some may argue that unions are bad. Some unions have gotten provisions in their favor which appear contrary to common sense, particularly contracts in the automotive industry. There are obviously faults and flaws on both sides, union and management. My father said to me when I was first faced with the decision requiring me to join a union, “The only reason we need unions is because of bad management.”
I believe unions and union contracts are essential to protect employees from arbitrary actions of management, especially the denial of due process rights.
Certainly, in the light of Psalm 15:4, God holds contracts and agreements inviolable, even when made with a pagan king. In the Bible, God sometimes has acted swiftly and without mercy against those who failed to live up to an agreement.
PSALM 15:4 CROSS REFERENCES
Psa 15:4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.
a vile person. or, reprobate. Heb. rejected (Jer 6:30). Psa 40:4; *Psa 101:4; Psa 139:21, 2Sa 6:22, 2Ki 3:13-14, **+2Ch 19:2, *Est 3:2; Est 5:9, Job 30:8; Job 32:21-22; +*Job 36:13; +*Job 36:14 mg. %Pro 26:12, Isa 32:5-6, Dan 5:17, etc. Dan 11:21, Mic 3:2, Act 24:2-3; Act 24:25, +*1Co 15:33, Jas 2:1-9, Jud 1:16.
is contemned. or, despised. Psa 26:5; Psa 88:4, Gen 20:10, Neh 13:25, %Mat 11:19; %+*Mat 18:10; %Mat 21:31; %Mat 21:32, %Luk 7:34, 2Ti 3:3.
but he honoureth them. T914 [Topic: love to God’s people]. *Psa 16:3, Psa 101:6; **+Psa 119:63; *Psa 122:6, Num 24:9, 1Sa 2:30, 2Ki 3:14, Pro 26:1, %*Mic 3:2, Mat 7:15-23; *Mat 12:49; *Mat 12:50; Mat 18:10, +**Rom 15:7, *Heb 6:10, 1Jn 3:14; 1Jn 3:18-19; *1Jn 4:12.
that fear the Lord. Psa 22:23; Psa 22:25; Psa 66:16; *Psa 115:11; Psa 118:4; +**Psa 119:63; +**Psa 119:74; Psa 135:20, Job 37:24, Pro 14:2, Isa 50:10, +**Mal 3:16, Act 13:16; Act 13:26.
sweareth. T901. [Topic: Promises for performing oaths]. Psa 24:4-5, +*Exo 20:7, Lev 5:4; Lev 6:2; Lev 19:12, +*Num 30:2 note. Deut 6:13, +*Jos 6:22; Jos 9:18-20, +*Jdg 11:31 note, Jdg 11:35; Jdg 21:5, 1Sa 19:6; 1Sa 20:16, 2Sa 21:1-2, 1Ki 2:42, *2Ch 16:3, Neh 13:25, Jer 7:9; Jer 11:6, **Eze 17:9; Eze 17:12-19, Hos 4:2; Hos 10:4, Amos 1:9, Zec 5:4; Zec 8:17, Mal 1:14; +*Mal 3:5, *Mat 5:33-37; Mat 23:16-22, Rom 1:31, Gal 3:15, 1Ti 1:10, 2Ti 3:3.
changeth not. Gen 24:39, Exo 21:6, Lev 27:10; Lev 27:33, Num 30:2, +Jos 9:19, **Jdg 11:30; Jdg 11:35, *2Ki 24:20, %**Eze 17:9 note, Eze 17:18 note, **Eze 17:19, Mic 2:4 note. Mat 5:33 note. Joh 13:1, 2Co 8:21, +*Col 4:1 (T1851). 2Ti 3:3, Heb 6:16; Heb 12:2.