The King of Glory--Psalm 24
The superscription over Psalm 24 is very brief: "Of David. A Psalm." Obviously, this give no information about the background or purpose of this poem. Psalms 24 is very brief; it contains only ten verses. It naturally falls into three parts. The fundamental theme is "Yahweh is the King of Glory."
I. Everything in the Universe belongs to Yahweh. Psalm 24:1-2.
a. The poet begins with the proclamation: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it. This psalm assumes [like the rest of the Hebrew Bible] that Yahweh rules not just over the people of Israel but over all the earth, including all nations. 24:1.
b. The proof that everything belongs to God is that Yahweh founded the universe on the seas, and established it on the rivers. This calls to mind the account of creation in Genesis 1. 24:2.
II. Preparing Hearts for Worship. Psalm 24:3-6.
a. As pilgrims wind their way from their homes to gather at the Jerusalem temple and worship Yahweh, when they approach the gates or doors of the temple, they ask the official priest: "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand on his holy place?" The Jerusalem temple was built on Mount Moriah at the Threshing Floor of Araunah (2 Samuel 24:18-25; 2 Chronicles 3:1; cf. Genesis 22:1-18). So, all the worshippers had to walk UP the mountain to get to the temple. 24:3.
b. The priest responds with THREE comprehensive necessities for all worshippers:
1. Worshippers must have clean hands and pure hearts. A person's heart lies at the center of all life. Proverbs 4:23 says: "Keep your HEART with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." The hand is the God-given means of carrying out what the heart directs. James 4:8 highlights this truth: "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. CLEANSE YOUR HANDS, you sinners, and PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, you double-minded."
2. Worshippers must not lift up their souls to what is false. There are many enticements to lure godly people away from focusing on God alone. All such enticements and allurements are false. They lead to nowhere and accomplish nothing. Thus, true followers of God must avoid all such temptations at all cost.
3. Worshippers must not swear deceitfully. Making promises to God is important and solemn. Each worshipper must choose carefully the decisions he/she makes in life. One must follow true and honest opportunities and guidelines. 24:4.
c. When worshippers follow these three powerful, simple instructions, they will receive blessing from Yahweh and vindication for God our Father. This is the company of those who seek Yahweh. 24:5-6.
III. Exalting the King of Glory. Psalm 24:7-10.
a. As companies of pilgrims carry the ark of the covenant as a symbol if Yahweh's presence as king, they beckon the Most Holy Place of the temple: "Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in." A more detailed picture of this approach of worshippers appears in 1 Kings 8:1-13 [note especially verse 11]. 24:7, 9.
b. Finally, the worshippers reflect on the identity of Yahweh, saying: "Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle," and again: "Who is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory." This gives the picture of Yahweh as King as commander of the hosts or armies of Israel as they boldly move forward against any enemies to be victorious under the leadership of their heavenly King and Lord. See the similar picture in Numbers 10:35-36;
1 Samuel 4:3-4. 24:8, 10.
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