“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face.” Psalm 24:3-6
As I was reading Psalm 24 in preparation for today’s devotion I realized that I was very familiar with the entire chapter but not as a whole. Verses one and two have been used many times in devotions and sermons where God’s ownership and sovereignty over everything is being discussed. Verses three through six are used to define what is required for anyone to approach God and stand before him in his temple. Verses seven through ten are a call and response chant of praise to God for his strength and victoriousness in battle.
Sometimes I think we lose something we need by too often considering separate truths in isolation from other truths about God and his kingdom.
David doesn’t seem to have been as hampered as we are in regards to this habit. Psalm 24 is just one example of his taking concepts that could have been used to develop separate and distinct meditations about God, his kingdom, and his worship, and combining them into a song of worship and that not only talks about who we worship but also teaches the worshipper what is required to bring an offering of worship to God.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to sometimes recombine passages of scripture as we study so that we can find a systematic theology as it relates to specific subjects. In Isaiah 28:10 the prophets affirms that this approach is valid and effective with these words, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”
However, there’re also lessons to be learned and blessings to be received in considering the messages God’s given within the order and framework in which they were first given to biblical writers.
Psalm 24 calls us to worship the creator and God who possess everything and everyone. Purity of heart and action are required to come before him so it’s requisite that as we approach him we do so in an attitude of humility and confession. It’s only as we come to God in this way that we can meet the requirements because it’s only as we’ve humbly repented, and in return been forgiven and cleansed of our unrighteousness, that we can approach God.
But we don’t approach God in humility so that we can wallow in our guilt before him. No we come in this way so that we can unburdened of our guilt and freed to join in the praise and rejoicing that all of God’s people give to him for his victory over sin.
“Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you 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.”