Of David. A psalm.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Saviour.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates;(Ps. 24:1-10 NIV)
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty –
he is the King of glory.
All the earth, all the creatures and every human belong to God. Out of all the people on the earth, God has chosen His elect whom He permits to come into His presence (Ascend the mountain of the Lord). The Lord created an orderly world. The creation and the maintenance of the earth is God’s handiwork. Creation is glorious, but its glory is derived from the glorious Creator. We should never worship the creation or any creature that God has made. God created the world for it to be inhabited.
The Psalmist asks the question about who is able to come into God’s presence. The honest answer is no one. Who has clean hands and a pure heart? As 21st century Christians we feel that we are definitely not guilty of trusting in an idol or promising by a false god. In OT times the people did set up idols and were inclined to have various gods. Our idols and false gods are hardly likely to be a physical image, but when we realise that idolatry exists when we trust in anything other than God.
Only through Christ can we come into God’s presence. While the Psalm is about coming to the Temple, it also means that the people constantly lived in God’s presence. Their hands were clean for serving God and their hearts were pure for worshipping God. Purity of hands and hearts is the condition of living before God in accordance with His precepts. The appearance of holiness is not enough, because the clean hands show innocence of wrongdoing and being ready to ask God for forgiveness when we have sinned. As well as God expecting purity in His people, He also demands loyalty, a singleness of devotion. It is dishonouring to the Lord to put our confidence in anything other than the Lord. The reward for walking in obedience to the Lord is the enjoyment of God’s presence. God blesses His people and He vindicates them. We are vindicated by Christ our Saviour. It is only because we have been justified by Christ that we can come into our heavenly Father’s presence. God has placed in us the desire to seek Him and seek His presence.
V7-10 describes that march of the people of God during one of their festivals. The call to worship rings out across the land and the people from their towns and villages walk towards Jerusalem. Different groups join together until there is a large throng of people making their way to the Temple. The king would be present but ultimately it is the King of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ leading His people into the presence of God. As every power and authority will yield to the coming of Christ, so the gates of Jerusalem will yield. This is the Lord Almighty, He is the king of glory.
Only by grace can we enter
Lord our God we thank you for the joy of your presence. Help us to confess our sins and maintain our communion with You. Lord when there is impurity in our hearts, take away our sin. We thank you that you bless us, and that in Christ we can freely enter your presence. Help us to seek you daily for Christ our Saviour’s sake. Amen.