Sunday, 7 August 2022
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?” -Psalm 24:3[NASB]
The exact background during which this Psalm was composed is not given, but many theologians are of the opinion that it might have been on some public occasion of great solemnity, probably during the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, its place of abode. Seeing the Ark being positioned at the holy hill might have triggered the question – who would be suited to ascend the holy hill where God abides and to stand in His presence (V.3).
The Psalm begins with praises to the Creator, Owner of the whole earth, followed by the question- who would approach His throne and could be regarded as worthy to engage in worship and then closes with a responsive chorus: “Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.”
Here we see a question-Who is qualified to stand before Him and to offer worship or what is the evidence of friendship with the LORD? A similar question arises in Psalm 15 too “Who shall dwell in the holy hill?” We can merge these two questions into one, as to Who will enter heaven? or in other words, “Who will be saved?” It is impossible for fallen man, who is unholy, to reach his Creator who is holy. We read in Isaiah 6:3: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty…” Holiness means morally perfect, pure and set apart from all sin. When the prophet Isaiah saw God in His holiness, self-realization came that he was unclean before Him. He said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5).
We need to purify ourselves by confessing to God, receiving His cleansing before we can approach Him. Its only Christ’s blood that can cleanse us from all sin. When we come to Him and ask Him to rein over our lives, we decide to be His disciple. To be a disciple of Jesus, is not an easy job. It’s a continuous battle against sin, imbibing His Word and using it, disciplines of prayer and fasting—a race facing all kinds of physical and spiritual obstacles which may even lead to afflictions and persecutions. God does a purifying in us when we yield to Him. Through it all, He is faithful to support us and to lead us into victory.
Clean hands are not possible without a pure heart. We can cleanse the peripherals easily but if we are filthy on the inside, then we are filthy in the sight of God. Our hearts truly reflect ourselves than our hands. Clean hands are an outcome only when connected with a pure heart. Our unclean state will change to purity only with the obedience to the Word.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? John 3:13 reveals: “No one ever has gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – The Son of Man.” He is our High Priest who knows our weakness to ascend and will help us in our journey. Romans 8:30 says, “And those he predestined, he also called, those he called, he also justified and those he justified, he also glorified.”
Let’s submit to be governed by the divine law (The Word), and yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit to help us have a true heart and right spirit to worship the Lord.
Prayer: Heavenly Father help me to offer my service to You with clean hands and a pure heart.