Praying the Psalms: Psalm 24

  Psalm 24 is a liturgical psalm used by the people of Israel to assemble together in worship. It is a psalm bursting with excitement and energy, as the people rejoice at the opportunity to gather to worship the Lord. As we study this psalm of David, we will see what it means to truly worship the Lord as we wait in eager expectation for King Jesus.

Praying the Psalms

Commentary

v 1-2 - The Lord owns it all. He creates the cosmos, so the cosmos belongs to him. The focus at the start of this psalm is on the earth. The earth is beautiful and filled with beautiful landscapes, vegetation, and creatures.

God has established all there is by the word of his power. He brought the land out from the waters. He chisels the rivers and their curves with his finger. He is the master craftsman, the prestigious artists, and the detailed designer of the earth. He then, sets man as the crown jewel of his creation. He fills the earth with creatures in the sea, on the land, and in the air. He finishes his work by creating humanity in his image. He places man in a place of honor and creates humanity in his own image. As this psalm of David begins, our attention is drawn back towards Genesis 1. The Lord is the creator God. Because the Lord creates the world he owns the world. Yet, the Lord not only owns the whole earth, but he owns those who dwell in it, manly human beings. All of it is his and all of it belongs to him.

v 3-6 - This psalm was most likely used for liturgical purposes by the people as they go to worship the Lord. The question asked is a reflective one. “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?” (3). If the Lord is the creator God who owns everything, who are we as human beings to approach his holy hill to worship him? The psalm tells us the type of people who are fit to come and worship the Lord and approach him in his holiness. It is he who possess both a love for purity and a love for the truth. In purity, a true worshiper of God possess clean hands, undefiled by sin. The heart of the worshiper is pure, not filled with carnal lusts and passions. A worshiper is not merely outwardly righteous. A person could perhaps fool others in looking outwardly righteous. But a true worshiper of God is pure from within his or her heart. There is a personal holiness that goes deep into the recesses of our hearts. We must not be like the Pharisees whom Jesus called white washed tombs who were rotting on the inside. A true worshiper is pure in heart.

Yet, a worshiper of God not only has a deep love for purity but a love for truth as well. Sound doctrine is essential for proper worshiper. The one who si fit to ascend the hill of the Lord is one who “does not lift up his soul to what is false” (4). She does not believe the lies of the world, but possess a hunger for the truth of God. She studies her Scripture diligently longing for greater knowledge of God. She is on guard against false teaching, errors, and lies. She tests the spirit’s to see whether they come from God.

A true worshiper, one who ascends up the holy hill and who stands in the holy place of God is one who loves purity and truth.

There is great blessing in having the privilege of worshiping the Lord. God gives us his favor and gives us his righteousness. Those who seek the face of God will find him. How we need more men and woman who hunger for more of God! Where are the men and women of this day who possess a deep love for purity and truth? Where are the Christians who trust in the righteousness given them by faith to have such boldness to walk in confidence to the holy place of God and enjoy his presence? Where are those who enjoy and worship the Lord who own’s it all? May we seek God with such intensity and repent of seeking lesser things. Our master beckons us and invites us to worship. Our creator and owner calls his children into his holy assembly.

Yet, as we think about the question of this stanza, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?”, there is no one who is worthy. As the apostle Paul tells us in Romans there is no one righteous, no not one. All of us are tainted and defiled by sin. Our hands are not clean, nor are our hearts pure. Each of us are fish hooked on the deceptive lies of this world. Knowing ourselves truly, we know that we are not worthy. Yet, this passage anticipates the coming of a king of glory who qualifies us for true and proper worship. We have a God who give salvation to us by giving to us the righteousness of his only son.

v. 7-10 - As this liturgical psalm continues, there is a climactic chant towards the end. It has a call and response rhythm to it. It encapsulates the jubilant demeanor of God’s people as the King of glory comes. There is the panting anticipation that God would come and be with his people.

The question: “Who is this king of glory?.

The answer: “The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord , mighty in battle!”

The King of glory comes. He is strong and ready to win the battle and achieve victory. The King of glory has come. The creator of the universe entered into his world in the person of Jesus Christ. He comes fit for battle as the strong and mighty warrior. Yet, he first came not to overcome political powers, but to overcome our spiritual foe. Jesus comes to defeat the kingdom of darkness and the enslaving condemnation of our sin by his death on the cross. Yet, on the third day the gate was be open. The stone was rolled back and the resurrected King of glory came into his victory.

The resurrected Christ eventually ascended into heaven. The gates were opened and he return to his glorious place at the right hand of the Father. Yet, as we wait for his return, we know that the gates will one day be opened again. They will be lifted and the King of glory will return clothed in power to establish his Kingdom on the earth he owns. The earth is his and its inhabitants. And on that day when Jesus establishes his kingdom, those who are saved and made righteous by faith will ascend the hill of the Lord  and stand in his holy place.  The gates will be opened that the King of glory may come in. “Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!” (10).

Prayer Guide

  • Thank the Lord for his creation and confess his possession of it all, remembering that all you own does not belong to you, but to him.
  • Ask the Lord with the Spirit’s help through your faith in Christ to have a love for purity and truth. Ask God to help you become a worshiper who lives your life for his glory.
  • Thank the Lord that he saves you and makes you righteous through Jesus Christ.
  • Praise the Lord that the King of glory came and one the victory.
  • Ask the Lord to help you trust  that the gates will one day be opened, and that the King of glory will return.