In this post we will take a look at Psalm 24 and find hope for the future.
Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
David’s declaration is an important anchor of truth in light of all that is going on around us today. It’s easy to lose sight of that truth in light of God’s plan to allow Satan’s rule to continue for so long—at least in our reckoning of time.
Every part of creation is the possession of God Almighty. God created the earth for mankind and gave him authority over that creation.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Man rebelled against God and relinquished his dominion to Satan. Though Satan currently holds the title of “god of this world,” that time will come to an end.
2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Revelation 20:2-3 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Revelation 20:7-10 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Satan is being allowed a time of dominion on earth; but the LORD GOD is sovereign in the universe, and Satan can only act within established parameters. Though we may not understand why God is allowing this, we can rest in the truth that His plans are holy and righteous and for the good.
Psalms 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
Psalms 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 24:3-5 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
The obvious question—What is “the hill of the LORD?” The Psalmist tells us.
Psalm 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
Psalm 132:13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
It stands to reason that the “holy place” is the temple.
Exodus 26:33 And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.
So, the question seems to be: Who is qualified to minister before the Lord or enjoy fellowship in His presence? This is especially interesting since there was no temple during David’s lifetime; his son Solomon built it.
The answer to the questions posed in verse 3 includes four characteristics.
· One with clean hands – The Hebrew for clean states, “innocent, blameless, guiltless.” This seems to be a reference to our actions; it is primarily with our hands that we physically serve or harm one another.
· One with a pure heart – The Hebrew for pure states, “beloved, empty, clean.” The first two words were quite interesting to me and not what I expected. When I saw the word empty, I immediately connected it guileless and selfless—having no ulterior motives. It makes sense that one who is innocent and blameless in his/her relationship with others and is not known for deceit would be beloved.
· One who does not have a vain soul – My first thought on reading this verse was that this was a reference to pride. The Hebrew for vain states:
“evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective….”
· One who is not deceitful – This would characterize a person who has no ulterior motives. More importantly, regarding service to the Lord, the psalmist is referencing one who is serving from a heart of love and obedience to the Lord. It describes a person who refrains from using people as pawns to accomplish his own agenda.
This seems to be an impossible standard to which to aspire. In David’s day, to be clothed in that righteousness was an ongoing process through the sacrificial system looking forward in faith to God’s permanent provision through His Son. For believers today that righteousness is imputed to us when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior by faith; the Father sees the child of God clothed in the righteousness of His Son.
2Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Philippians 3:7-9 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith….
Blessing is a reference to abundance and prosperity. Where we go wrong is assuming that this is a reference to material things. It can include material things, but our richest blessings are spiritual and eternal.
Psalm 24:6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
I like the Complete Jewish Bible translation of this verse: Such is the character of those who seek him, of Ya‘akov, who seeks your face. (Selah)
Jacob is a reference to the nation of Israel as the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. David is referencing those of Israel who are seeking to serve God in truth from their heart. Selah is reference to a pause in the music, a time for reflection.
Psa. 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
This is a call for the King of glory to come Mt. Zion—a time for which David longed. I don’t know if David realized the ongoing spiritual warfare between the armies of God and the legions of Satan. He was well aware, however, of God’s provision for Israel in physical battle against their enemies. He knew that God had given Israel victory many times through His miraculous provision—beginning with the exodus from Egypt. David also knew of God’s provision on a personal basis, e.g., when he was empowered to kill the Philistine giant Goliath.
I, too, am looking for the return of the King of glory to Zion to assume the throne of David as King of kings and Lord of lords. David had no idea that it would be thousands of years before his hope was realized. I truly believe that the scripture reveals that His return is very near according to the signs of the times. The Lord expects us to recognize those signs. He took notice of the sons of Issachar that understood the times in which they lived and cursed the Pharisees and Sadducees for not recognizing Him in light of the signs prophesied in scripture.
1Chronicles 12:32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
The signs of the times are evident. I suggest you take the time to read Matthew 24, 1Timothy 4 and 2Timothy 3.
· Israel is a vibrant nation once again.
· Labor pains are active.
· Evil abounds.
· God’s word is being rejected to accommodate the flesh.
· People are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
· Lies and hypocrisy are the norm.
· To have a “conscience” concerning right and wrong is becoming a thing of the past in light of the rejection of the absolute truth of God’s word.
· People on the whole are selfish, inconsiderate and prideful.
· Science and technology are forging ahead in areas that are intended to redefine what is human. Personally, I think there are limits that God will allow in this area.
Look up…for our redemption is drawing near!