“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?”
Psalm 24: 3
We know about the authorship of the Psalm but not much more. However, it is interesting in its setting following on from Psalms 22 and 23. In the latter two Psalms David moves from a mournful state, to gentle reassurance and then finally in this Psalm to majestic triumph. Such is a process often found in the Psalms and can be found in us when we focus upon God. Whilst we do not know when the Psalm was written it is easy to imagine that it was penned for the return of the Ark of the Covenant where David led the procession in joyful praise (2 Sam. 6: 12-15).
In the Psalm the dominion and authority rightly attributed to God recognises Him as Creator Almighty (1-2). This though, immediately raises a question; how can anyone, even His chosen people, stand in His presence? The answer is clear, those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who only worship God. These are the vindicated that are welcomed into God’s presence (3-6). They are not only welcomed but blessed. The welcome continues as the King of Glory opens the gates of heaven for His people; He is simply to be praised in awe and wonder (7-10).
So, for the covenant people of Israel there was a real welcome from God the King of Glory. Their part was to seek and obey Him, to welcome Him into their hearts. This led to a true blessing and a very privileged relationship with the Lord Almighty.
The answer to the question of verse three always personally challenges me. Who has clean hands and a pure heart; who among us is completely free of idols (4)? Reassurance, however, comes with the words, vindication from God his Saviour (5b). Our Saviour, Jesus Christ has atoned for our sin filled hearts and can make us clean before God. He has made it possible for us to be welcomed by the King of Glory AND blessed. Our part is repentance and faith in Him. The rest of the Psalm reminds us to seek God and to lift our eyes to focus on Him. This is when we are truly blessed and can see God for more of who He is.
So, may we open the gates to our hearts so that the King of Glory may come in; He in turn opens up the gates of heaven for eternity to His people made holy by the Saviour Jesus Christ. In addition may we open the gates of our Church to welcome Him in, and let us welcome our brothers and sisters also.
The Question of Application
What are the gates that need to be opened in your life so that God may enter and bless?
God, our creator and ruler of all, open our hearts that the King of glory may enter, and bring us rejoicing to your holy mountain, where you live and reign, now and forever. Amen
Ancient of Days by CityAlight
King of my Heart by Bethel Music
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.