Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
Psalm 23 ends with the confident words of David, that he would ″dwell in the house of the Lord for ever″ (v. 6). How does David know that? Who are those who will dwell in the house of the Lord forever? In three magnificent parts, Psalm 24 answers that question.
The psalm begins with praising God, who has made everything (vv. 1-2). We put borders around the land and call them our countries. We put fences around property and call them our homes. We call animals our pets and we put them in our zoos. Ultimately, however, everything belongs to God. Therefore, everything owes Him honour, praise, and glory (see Revelation 4:11).
In the next stanza, the psalmist asks: Who can enter the presence of a holy God (Psalm 24:3)? The answer is: the man or woman with clean hands and a pure heart (v. 4). The clean hands are the outward expression of the pure heart. Jesus said: ″Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God″ (Matthew 5:8). In the context of this psalm, the one with a pure heart is the one who does not trust in an idol (Psalm 24:4). Since God made everything, He alone deserves our trust and worship.
The God of Israel lives in ″the highest heaven″ (see 1 Kings 8:27). Symbolically, however, He lived among His people in the temple on His holy hill. David had just sung about the coming of God's pure people to God's holy mountain. Now, he sings of God coming to meet His people (Psalm 24:7-10). The people, symbolised by their city gates, lift their hands, hearts, and voices to welcome their all-conquering king.
But this was not the only time the people welcomed their king into the city. Centuries later, the Lord came in a manger in Bethlehem to bring salvation from our enemies (Luke 1:68-71). Then, the people welcomed their king with songs of Hosanna as He rode into Jerusalem. This king would fight and win His greatest battle over sin and death on the mountain of the Lord. Finally, this king of glory will come again to win the last battle. This song, which celebrates the coming of the king, points to the first and second comings of Jesus.
Today, let us give God all the praise He deserves. Let us resolve to keep our hearts pure, and to serve Him alone. Let us be ready to meet the all-conquering king of glory when He comes to His people.
What does knowing that ″the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it″ (Psalm 24:1) mean for you personally?
What are the idols and false gods that people put their trust in today?