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. Selah Psalm 24:3-6
Yesterday, I looked at the first two verses of Psalm 24 and David’s reminder of the foundation of our faith: All that exists, including mankind, belongs to the Creator God. Today, I am going to look at how David considers the requirement that is placed upon us as the result of that foundational truth. In the lyrics of Psalm 24:3-6, David describes the requirement for those who would dwell in God’s presence: holiness.
In this stanza of David’s great worship song, he asks and answers two related questions. “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?” Since David wrote this song to be sung during the procession of Israel to the temple, the first singers were literally acting out an entry into the presence of God. They were tangibly aware of their need to know the answer to these questions.
What about us today? Since Christ came as God in the flesh and dwelt among men, accomplished His work of salvation, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and sent the Spirit to dwell in His people, physical temples are no longer the place where God meets with men. Even so, that does not diminish our need to answer these questions. In fact, the greater intimacy of God’s meeting with men only enhances the need. Who dares to enter into the presence of the Almighty?
David’s answer is in verse 4. Only a holy and righteous person has a right to enter into the presence of a holy and righteous God. The approach may only be made by one whose hands, heart, soul, and lips are free from sin. That is the only kind of person who can expect God to bless him when he enters into the divine presence.
David is not naïve. He knows that there is no person on earth who fits this bill—not a sinless man, woman, boy, or girl to be found. How then can anyone approach God? The answer is in the second part of verse 5. To be righteous and come safely before God, a man must receive righteousness from the God who saves unrighteous men. The requirement to approach is purity. The only people who meet that requirement are those who have been purified by the God who rescues the impure.
We need to be holy, righteous, and pure to approach God. We are not. Thus we need a God who saves and makes us holy. Praise His name, that is our God! Tomorrow we will wrap up Psalm 24 and remind ourselves of just how God accomplished that salvation.
In the meantime, I pray that you know the saving grace of God and can rejoice in the great privilege of entering into His presence today.