Psalm 24 is a song for corporate worship, declaring God’s rule over all the earth and describing the requirements for entering His presence.
The psalm opens with a declaration of God’s authority over everything on earth as God, the Creator.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it [the earth] upon the seas
and established it upon the waters. (v. 1-2)
The psalm also describes God as the King of glory, Savior, the LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle, and the LORD Almighty.
The central question of the psalm is this: Who can come into the presence of God, the Creator, the King of glory?
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place? (v. 3)
Thankfully, the question is answered.
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false. (v. 4)
The requirement for coming into God’s presence is holiness.
Here, holiness is described as:
- Right actions: clean hands.
- Right motives: pure heart.
- Right worship: does not lift up his soul to an idol, or put trust in anything but God.
- Right speech: does not swear by what is false.
How can we have clean hands and a pure heart?
Only by repentance.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
Only by grace.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeemed us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14
Only through Jesus.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience… Hebrew 10:19-22a
Only through the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death [on the cross] to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – Colossians 1:21-22
We cannot have clean hands and a pure heart on our own.
We cannot sustain right actions and right motives in our own power.
We need a Savior.
We need Jesus.
Psalm 24 describes what is waiting for those who come into God’s presence with clean hands and a pure heart.
He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob. (v. 5-6)
Blessing is waiting for the pure in heart, for those who seek after God.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
God’s presence is the greatest blessing.
Seek Him today.
Father, you are the Creator of heaven and earth. You are the King of Glory. You are the LORD Almighty. Thank you for the cross, where Jesus paid for my sins. I confess my sins to you. Forgive me for my sinful actions and motives. Cleanse my hands. Purify my heart. Thank you for your great salvation that allows me to come into your presence. Your presence is my heart’s desire. Amen.