Psalm 24

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.,
Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty —
he is the King of glory.

In this song of praise and worship that acknowledges God as the sovereign ruler and creator of all things, the psalmist asks: Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He answers his own questions by saying it is the one with clean hands and a pure heart.

What does it mean to have clean hands? It means living a life that is morally upright and free from wrongdoing. In Isaiah 1:15, God says, "When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!" (Isaiah 1:15). God rebukes the people of Israel for their hypocrisy and injustice, telling them they need to live out their faith through righteous actions.

If we ever wonder why our prayers go unanswered, the reason might lie in our unclean hands. What do we do? Make ourselves clean! And then God promises: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

And what does it mean to be pure in heart? It means to have a genuine and sincere motivation to do what is right and pleasing to God rather than being motivated by selfish desires. It means that we align our thoughts and intentions with God's will and moral standards, and harbor no deceit or hypocrisy. Jesus emphasized the importance of purity of heart in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:8), saying, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." And, then, they not only will they see God but they will receive blessings and vindication from him (Psalm 24:5).

Let that be our desire henceforth: to have clean hands and a pure heart.

God be with you.

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