By Melissa McLaughlin
I stand amazed at the beauty of God’s Word, the Bible. God’s powerful plan of redemption in Christ echoes on and on. As we reflect on Psalm 24, the rich layers of God’s Word reverberate with His unchanging glory, truth and majesty.
Let’s walk through this passage and ponder the wonders of His Word. Bible scholars believe the phrases of this Psalm were sung back and forth by two choirs. Imagine the voices, ringing with His praise!
Psalm 24 (ESV)
1The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
2 for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
The Creator, God, Master and Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
The One who was, and is, and is to come.
He alone is God.
All the earth belongs to Him and all who dwell therein. He is our Maker. He established our world. He formed and fashioned every detail great and small. He knit us together in our mother’s womb.
This world is His. We are His. Every molecule, every atom, every breath is His idea, His design, His making.
God is Holy
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Given the opening verses of this Psalm that proclaim God’s magnificent power, what follows next is a logical, soul-shaking question, “Who is worthy to stand before the LORD in his holy place?”
Bible scholars agree, this Psalm of David was most likely written for the occasion of bringing the ark of the covenant back home to Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 6)
Try to envision the singing of this Psalm.
As they carried the ark of the covenant to the Tabernacle,
As the Levites, the singers and procession walked up the hill toward Jerusalem, the city of God,
Into the Tabernacle,
Into the holy place,
Into the holy of holies.
They knew God’s presence dwelled above the ark of the covenant between the cherubim. (Exodus 25:22)
Certainly these questions were not rhetorical.
Who could ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who could stand in his holy place?
Only those with clean hands and a pure heart. Only those who do not lift up their souls to what is false or do not swear deceitfully. In the Old Testament, God established the sacrificial system to provide forgiveness for sins. However, when Christ shed His blood on Calvary, His sin offering was once-and-for-all. (Hebrews 10)
All have fallen short of God’s glory. ONLY by faith in Christ as Savior and LORD, can we appear before God with clean hands and a pure heart, cleansed of all that is false and deceitful.
Those who have received forgiveness in Christ receive the full blessings of God. Righteousness and salvation. This is our inheritance.
This is the precious reward promised to the generation (or race/people/persons) who seek after the LORD.
Of special note in verse 6 are “those who seek the face of God.” The highest blessing is His presence, seeking to enjoy his glory, his goodness, the beauty of his holiness, his righteousness, his majesty.
Rather than seeking what God will give, the purest joy is simply seeking Him.
God Himself is the blessing.
Who is this King of glory?
7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
These verses are layered with profound and prophetic images. Pause and make a mental picture of the glorious gates in each scenario that follows:
- As David and the Levites brought the ark of the covenant into the Tabernacle, they called for the gates to be opened. The LORD was mighty in battle, going before them by His presence over the ark, defeating their enemies on every side. This mighty LORD was their refuge.
- As Jesus entered Jerusalem, on what is now known as Palm Sunday, He rode into the city on a donkey. The people cheered, “Hosanna” which means, save us! They welcomed their King. (Matthew 21:1-11)
- After defeating death and rising from the grave, Jesus stood on Mt. Olivet before ascending into heaven on the clouds. (Acts 1:6-12) The gates of heaven, which God had closed to the race of Adam, guarded by the cherubim at the Garden of Eden, guarded against sinful humankind… these awesome, holy gates were finally opened. The heavenly gates and ancient doors were opened for the King of glory, the One who defeated Satan, hell, sin and death. All of heaven flings open the gates for Jesus Christ and those who are made righteous by His blood.
- On an individual level, each person must open the doors of his/her heart to invite our King in, welcoming the gift of salvation in Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit. (Revelation 3:20) The LORD mighty in battle is with us.
- Finally, when Jesus returns to set up the new heaven and the new earth, once again, the ancient doors will be opened for the King of glory, the Victorious One to rule and reign forever! (Revelation 21)
Who is this King of glory?
9Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory!
Interestingly, this refrain is repeated. But notice this time there is a new answer to the question, “Who is this King of glory?”
He is not just the LORD strong and mighty, victorious in battle.
In verse 10, He is announced as the LORD of hosts!
This is the LORD of the heavenly hosts, the LORD of the angel armies.
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is shown here as fully man and fully God. He is KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS!
When darkness seems to blanket our world, let us remember the Gates will open and the Light of the World who has come… is coming again! He will take His rightful place, to rule and reign forever! The King of glory is coming!
Sources and Resources:
Bible Commentaries on Bible Hub
Our King is Coming By Melissa McLaughlin
A God Who is Both: Loving and Holy, Savior and Judge By Melissa McLaughlin
Amen. The King of glory is coming!
Hallelujah! Our King of glory is coming!
Such a wonderful post! You have outlined so beautifully, this awesome Psalm. Thank you for bringing such clarity to these lines of scripture. Amen! It is true; when we seek God first and foremost in our lives, all of our needs are met in Him.
Thank you for reading and offering a word of encouragement, Linda! God’s Word is such a rich resource of nourishment for our souls. This Psalm has layer upon layer of His mercy, power and glory! God bless you!
Ah! The joy of basking in your words of truth written about our Savior were such a blessing today! These passages are some of my favorite. I grew up in a liturgical church, and these refrains were part of a responsive reading done quite frequently. These words are engraved on my heart and call to mind the Victorious Savior coming to bring us all into his presence where we will remain forever and ever. Thank you for these beautiful and glorious words today, Melissa.
Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences with this scripture, Melinda! What a beautiful and meaningful memory! Those simple, repetitive readings and songs do indeed get engraved on our souls. It makes me think how important simple memorization truly is for our spiritual strength. This Psalm is so glorious! God’s Word truly feeds the depths of our souls. May the glory of our King fill your heart to overflowing and may the Holy Spirit bring back even more of these well engraved memories. Blessings to you!
Thank you Melissa for the Lord Jesus sending this message to me? I can visually see Jesus riding on a colt with women laying reeds on the ground in front of him. Rejoicing his name as he went. I wonder how he felt when all of this going on? Thank you Jesus for Melissa. Amen!!
Glory to God! This Psalm is a gift from our glorious God and King, Jesus Christ! It is beautiful to imagine the scenes recorded for us in God’s Word. The Bible is a wonderful treasure. Thank you, Ian, for sharing your responses and thoughts. God bless you!
Beautiful words once again Melissa. What a wonderful psalm with so much richness locked away. Thanks for sharing
Truly, this is a wonderful Psalm with beautiful riches hidden just under the surface. I pray the deep treasures of the Bible will continue to shine out for us to behold His wonder and glory! Blessings to you!
He is the gate and he opens the gate. Blessed are those who know him!
Wow! That is powerful and profound, Tom! Thank you for sharing your response. Indeed, Jesus Christ is the gate and He opens the gate. May we be found in Him always. God bless you!
Yes, indeed. He is coming! What a glorious Psalm. Before David brought back the ark, he failed but witnessed God’s authority and greatness in the process. And he later heard stories of God’s special blessings through the ark. After these events, he was ready to carry the ark in a way that honored God in His sovereign majesty.
Thank you for adding your thoughtful insights, Stephen! Yes, in this Psalm, David was attempting a second time to bring the ark of the covenant home to Jerusalem. And they learned the sobering truth of God’s utter holiness, that we must never approach Him carelessly. May we live to honor God in His sovereign majesty. For the Holy God of Israel laid down His life to bring us into His kingdom. He is the King of glory!
We just watched, for the umpteenth time, Raiders of the Lost Ark. I love the fact that, even in this secular-made movie, the Ark of the Covenant is considered to be a powerful presence of God. It makes you wonder what it must have been like for David, and those who really did get to see it, to be in awe of God’s manifestation. Thanks for this post, as it is always good to remember that He is Holy!
I love that movie, Lisa! And yes, it really is something to realize that the secular movie industry recognized a bit of the Holy presence of God found in the ark of the covenant. These Old Testament scriptures are so important for us to gain a full understanding of the Holy God, who made a way for His sinful people to be cleansed and re-enter His presence. All because of Christ!
A beautiful post and a powerful reminder of God’s goodness and power for when we get too caught up in the busyness of daily life. Thanks for the pause and the deep breath.💖
Thank you for pausing to read and take in the glory of our Savior with me here! God bless you!
So good to rest in this Psalm with you here. Over and over God has been speaking to me about everything belonging to Him. So, to find that here again is so precious. It gives such overwhelming peace to know that all is His.
This is so true: “The highest blessing is His presence, seeking to enjoy his glory, his goodness, the beauty of his holiness, his righteousness, his majesty.” Everything falls into its place in His Presence. Last night, I stayed up late just to be alone with Him again, to dance and sing and rest. He knows just what we need.
Dear Anna, thank you for resting and reading Psalm 24 together. What a powerful message, to remember everything belongs to Him. He does know just what we need. You shared a beautiful picture of worship, spending time alone with the Lord like that. His presence is our highest blessing!
Wonderful devotion this morning. It seems every time these verses are read something new is revealed.
Dear Penny, thank you for stopping by to read and share your feedback! I agree, God’s Word has deeper understandings to glean each time we read. God bless you!
Great teaching on Psalm 24… the best I’ve read yet! Brevity and clarity…perfect in combination! Thank you! .
Thank you for stopping by to read and for offering a kind word, Mike. All glory to God!