Read: Psalm 24
One theory (of Jewish origin) regarding Psalm 24 is that David composed it on the day he purchased from Araunah the Jebusite the land which would become the site of the Temple (2 Samuel 24:18 – 25); he intended that the psalm be sung on the day the Temple was dedicated. Accordingly, Psalm 24 is used frequently in synagogue worship, being recited by the congregation as they accompany the Torah scroll back to the synagogue Ark after the reading of the Scripture portion for Sabbath. Psalm 24 is also designated in Jewish tradition as the “Song of the Day” for the first day of the week (Sunday). Some Christian commentators think that David composed this psalm for the day when the ark was brought up to Jerusalem from the house of Obed-Edom (2 Samuel 6:12 – 14). Whatever David’s original intention for the use of the psalm, the imagery of ascending is a clear picture of coming closer to the Lord. The Psalm answers three questions: why we should want to ascend the hill of the Lord, who can ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His presence in the holy place, and how we can make that ascent and arrive at that blessed destination.
Think About It: What are some aspects of Psalm 24 that make it a good fit for the first day of the week? How could this psalm help me start my week off on the right note?
Prayer: Just a closer walk with thee, grant it Jesus, is my plea.
Read: Psalm 24:1 – 2; Exodus 9:29; Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalm 89:11; Romans 1:18 – 32
The first answer to the question of why we should want to ascend the hill of the Lord – which is to say, why we should want to come closer to Him and stand in His holy presence – is found in the first two verses of Psalm 24: He is the creator and owner of everything and every person. He alone is ultimately worth knowing; He alone deserves to be the focus of our passion and the object of our worship. He created us for Himself, as Augustine prayed, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
Think About It: According to Romans 1:19 – 20, what has God revealed about Himself through His creation? According to Romans 1:18, 21 – 32, what happens to those who refuse to honor and thank the Creator and Owner of everything? Note the contrast between the picture of ascent in Psalm 24, and the picture of descent in Romans 1:18 – 32.
Prayer: Praise the Lord, for He is my Creator, and I am not my own – I belong to Him.
Read: Psalm 24:7 – 10; Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1 – 5; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 19:13 – 16
The second answer as to why we should want to ascend to the hill of the Lord and come closer to God and stand in His holy presence is found in vv.7-10 of Psalm 24. These verses speak prophetically of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, of His triumphal Second Coming, and of His eternal reign. Jesus is the King of Glory; our eternal destiny is tied to Him. We will either reign with him, or He will deny us and we will find ourselves cast into the outer darkness for eternity (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:6; Matthew 25:30).
Think About It: Is it possible to remain neutral, neither for nor against Jesus (Luke 11:23)? What is my relationship to Jesus Christ: am I for Him, or against Him? Am I gathering with Him, or scattering?
Prayer: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
Read: Psalm 24:4 – 5; Isaiah 33:15 – 16; Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:8
Since ascending the hill of the Lord has such weighty, eternal consequences, we must be desirous to know who is qualified to do this. Who can come close to God and stand in His holy place?
Think About It: What are the qualifications for ascending the hill of the Lord, according to Psalm 24:4? What is the meaning of each of these requirements? What will the qualified person receive, and from whom, according to Psalm 24:5?
Prayer: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5).
Read: Psalm 24:4
Psalm 24:4 should raise a very disturbing question. Who can possibly meet these requirements and be worthy of standing in the presence of God, both now and for eternity?
Think About It: Who meets the requirements of Psalm 24:4? Did David, the author of this psalm, meet the requirements? Were his hands clean (1 Samuel 18:25 – 27)? Was his heart pure (2 Samuel 11:1 – 4)? Did he ever seek after what is false (1 Chronicles 21:1 – 4)? Did he ever speak deceitfully (2 Samuel 11:14 – 25)? Does anyone meet the standards of Psalm 24:4 (Romans 3:10 – 23)?
Prayer: Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner!
Read: Psalm 24:4 – 6; Genesis 32:24 – 31; Ephesians 2:8 – 10
Psalm 24:6 offers a hope-filled answer to the disturbing issue raised by the high standards presented in Psalm 24:4. Those who receive the blessing from the Lord are those who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Why “God of Jacob”? Jacob’s wrestling match at the brook Jabbok with the man who is generally understood to be the pre-incarnate Christ provides the answer as to how Jacob comes into the picture (Genesis 32:24 – 31). Jacob wrestled with God for the blessing; that was faith. Jacob was touched by God; that was grace. At God’s touch, Jacob was broken in the flesh but transformed in his nature, so that his name was changed from Jacob (usurper) to Israel (prince with God). Jacob was blessed by God; that was the gift of eternal life. Thereafter, Jacob literally walked differently – he limped, but he also walked in humility and obedience. The result of his faith in God’s grace included good works.
Think About It: How does Ephesians 2:8 – 10 correspond with Jacob’s experience in Genesis 32? How has my life been changed by God’s grace?
Prayer: Praise God for His amazing grace.
Read: Psalm 24:4 – 6; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; Romans 1:17
There is one Man who perfectly meets the qualifications of Psalm 24:4 – Jesus Christ the Righteous. The phrase “those who seek the God of Jacob” refers to those who receive by faith in Christ the imputed, perfect righteousness of Christ, which leads to God’s blessing of salvation.
Think About It: Jacob was transformed by his encounter with the Lord. How are believers in Christ similarly transformed (2 Corinthians 5:17)? What happened on the cross that made it possible for me to move from the category of those unqualified to ascend the hill of the Lord to the category of those who can draw close to God and stand in His holy place
(2 Corinthians 5:21)?
Prayer: Praise God for the blessing of His salvation and the grace of Christ’s righteousness.