1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.
7 Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
Heart and Hands
Psalm 24 is pretty clear about who’s in charge and what that means. The whole earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. And the Lord requires holiness.
Sometimes I can gloss over this reality: Only those with clean hands and pure hearts can worthily stand before the Lord.
This psalm explains the only way we can stand in His holy place–that is, be in the presence of God–is if we have clean hands and a pure heart. We read in verses 3-4: “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.” Sometimes, I can gloss over this reality.
Or maybe, I just don’t want to let this reality fully set in. For if I do, my heart and my hands convict me. I know where my hands have been and what they have done. I know my heart’s self-seeking motives and judgmental thoughts. I know what they’ve led me to say and do. My hands are dirty. My heart is far from pure. I don’t meet the requirements this psalm outlines to worthily stand in God’s presence. When I stand before God in this condition, I am rightly judged and condemned.
Yet this psalm also reminds me to lift up my head, to fix my eyes on Jesus, and see the King of Glory coming. Jesus, the King of Glory, is strong and mighty. Jesus, who was with the Father before the foundations of the world and in whom all things hold together, has come as a mighty King to save me.
Jesus comes to live the life I cannot. He comes with clean hands and a pure heart to heal, restore, and rescue. On the cross, He stands before God taking the place of judgment that is rightly reserved for me. With His blood-stained hands and pierced heart, He redeems mine. He washes me of my sin and creates in me a clean heart. He makes a way for me to stand in the presence of God and receive His favor instead of His wrath. Jesus makes me worthy to “receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.” In Jesus, the mighty King of Glory, I am clean. All glory and praise to King Jesus!
Take an honest assessment of your hands and heart. What do you need Jesus to wash your hands and heart clean of? Will you bring those sins to Jesus knowing that He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleans you of all unrighteousness?
Heavenly Father, I am in awe of You and the world You have created. I recognize I am not worthy to stand in Your presence on my own account. My hands are unclean and my heart is impure. Forgive me, Father, for Jesus’ sake. Holy Spirit, cleanse my hands and create in me a pure heart. Guide and direct my hands and heart to use them in ways that would honor Jesus, the King of Glory. Amen.
What actions can you do with your hands to care for someone else today? What text could you send, chore could you complete, or loving embrace could you give?
How may the Holy Spirit be directing your heart to love others as Jesus has loved you? What would it look like for you to follow this leading?