Scripture reading – Psalm 24

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In Psalm 22, we considered the Suffering Savior, a prophetic psalm that portrayed Christ’s suffering on the Cross a thousand years before it took place. Psalm 23 presented us with a portrait of the Good Shepherd, who is ever with us and in whose house we will dwell forever.

Psalm 24, also a psalm of David, identified the Suffering Savior and the Good Shepherd coming as “the King of glory…The LORD of hosts” (Psalm 24:9-10). Consisting of only ten verses, its words and message have inspired many great hymns and anthems. [Reminder: The brackets within the verses contain amplifications by this author.]

The LORD is Sovereign of His Creation. (Psalm 24:1-3)

The opening verses of Psalm 24 state emphatically and with certainty that the LORD is the Creator, possessor, sovereign, and sustainer of all the earth. David wrote:

Psalm 24:1-2 – “The earth is the LORD’S [Jehovah; Eternal God], and the fulness [all that it contains] thereof; the world [inhabitants], and they that dwell [inhabit; abide] therein. 2  For he [the LORD] hath founded [laid the foundation] it upon the seas, and established [prepared; erected] it upon the floods [waters; streams].”

In the words of a childhood song, our LORD has “the whole world in His hands.” He is the Eternal God and the Creator of all things. In fact, “without Him was not anything, made that was made” (John 1:3). Because He is the Creator, He is the owner or possessor of the earth’s resources and all that inhabit it. He has set the boundaries of the sea and the dry land (Psalm 24:2). He is the Sustainer. Because the LORD is Sovereign, David asked:

Psalm 24:3 – “Who shall ascend [come up; scale] into the hill [mountain] of the LORD? or who shall stand [arise; rise] in his holy [hallowed; sacred] place?”

Is there anyone who might merit the favor of God and enter into His presence? Might a rich man earn good standing with the LORD by donating to charity and giving his riches to the poor? Does fasting, praying, worshipping, or showing kindness to others give one the privilege to enter into the presence of the LORD?

Four Character Traits Define the Character of the Citizens of God’s Kingdom (Psalm 24:4)

Psalm 24:4 – “He that hath clean [innocent; guiltless; blameless] hands, and a pure [clear; innocent] heart[mind]; who hath not lifted up [removed] his soul [life; person] unto vanity [lying; deceit], nor sworn [taken an oath] deceitfully [fraud; i.e. lacking integrity].”

 

To enter the LORD’s presence, a man must have “clean hands” (Psalm 24:4a).

How might a man acquire “clean hands” before a holy God? A comparable question was asked and answered in Psalm 119:9, where we read, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Also, 1 John 1:9 reminds us the way to be cleansed is to “confess our sins, [believing] He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” To have “clean hands,” one must heed God’s Word and confess his sins.

The second characteristic of a heavenly citizen is a “pure heart” (Psalm 24:4b).

A person with a “pure heart” is clean and sincere in his thoughts and motives. Remember, the Pharisees thought by portraying outward piety, their prayers would be heard and answered (Matthew 23:25-28). The LORD, however, because He knows the hearts of all men (Hebrews 4:12), condemned the Pharisees and said, “Ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:28).

Thirdly, the citizens of heaven guard their souls from the “vanity” of the world (Psalm 24:4c).

What is the “vanity” of the world? The world’s temporal pleasures, sins, and philosophy that promise much but never satisfy the heart.

The rich man boasted by building bigger barns, he could store more goods and satisfy his soul (Luke 12:16-18). He was beguiled by riches and failed to plan for eternity and God’s judgment. Therefore, “God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20).

The fourth characteristic of a heavenly citizen is that they have integrity and have not “sworn deceitfully(Psalm 24:4d).

 

Sincere saints of God are honest and truthful. They are ever conscious of the Lord’s presence and will not cheat, lie, or swear falsely. It is not a contract that binds the saint to his vows but a consciousness of God’s holiness.

 

Twofold Reward to Them who Seek the LORD (Psalm 24:5-6)

Psalm 24:5-6 – “He shall receive the blessing [prosperity] from the LORD, and righteousness from the God [i.e., Almighty God] of his salvation. 5 This is the generation [age; people] of them that seek [follow; worship] him [the LORD], that seek [seek out; require; desire] thy face [the LORD’S countenance and face], O Jacob [i.e., Tribes of Israel]. Selah.”

Hail to the King of Glory! (Psalm 24:7-10)

The coming Messiah, the “King of Glory,” is the subject of Psalm 24:7-10. Five times, the LORD was identified as the “King of glory.” Who is this “King of glory?” He is the LORD, the “LORD of hosts” (Psalm 24:8, 10).

In ancient times, private and governmental business was transacted in the city gates.  The elders and the king’s ambassadors sat in judgment at the gates. Beginning with the elders and chief leaders of the city, David commanded the people to hail the coming of the “King of glory” (Psalm 24:7).

Psalm 24:7 – “Lift up [hold up] your heads, O ye gates [gates of the city of Jerusalem]; and be ye lift up [men who sat in the gates], ye everlasting [perpetual; ancient] doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”

Who was this “King of glory?” (Psalm 24:7-10)

He was “the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah] strong and mighty [heroic; warrior], the LORD mighty in battle” (24:8). A thousand years after Psalm 24 was composed, Jerusalem celebrated Jesus’ entrance into the city and identified Him as the “the Son of David,” and therefore heir to the throne. Nevertheless, within that same week, many of those same voices cried against Jesus, “Let Him be crucified” (Matthew 27:22-23; 1 Corinthians 2:8).

Closing thoughts

David announced, not once, but twice for the “gates” (Psalm 24:7, 9) to lift up their heads and hail the coming of the “King of glory” (Psalm 24:9-10). The world rejected Jesus when He came the first time; however, when He comes again, all nations will be forced to hail His Second Coming.

Hail to the King, the LORD of heaven’s armies, for He is the King of glory!

Revelation 1:77Behold, he [Christ] cometh with [in the] clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him [on the Cross]: and all kindreds [people and nations] of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Are you ready for His coming?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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