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“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully” – Psalm 24:3-4
Many people today are hungry for a fresh movement of God in their lives and ministries. They want to see truly powerful worship services; they want more of the mountaintop. They want to see God’s power in their families, schools and careers. They want to see God’s protection in their families. They desire a REAL relationship with God – the kind that Moses, David and Paul had. People are not satisfied with just reading about what God used to do, they want to see what God IS doing. They are anxious to see God move in the same way – today!
This Psalm begins with 2 huge questions –“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?” David asks a legitimate question here – Who can actually stand before the Lord God? Who has the right to walk straight in and stand in his presence?
Then David zeros in a little further and asks, “Who can stand in His Holy Place?” Have we as believers forgotten that God is Holy? It would seem that we have and that question that David is asking, if asked by us today would be more like “How can I be happy?” in fact it would seem that that most of mankind is seeking happiness from God instead of pursuing a right relationship with God.
I hear people say all the time “God just wants people to be happy” and I think that is not an accurate statement in fact I have never been able to find such a statement in the scriptures. What it does say is….
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be satisfied
God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure for they will see God
God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of Go
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs
Did you catch that…Blessed not happy. Did you see the words like “mourn” and “persecuted”? These words indicate hard times and struggles but that in those hard times we can have the joy of the Lord in our hearts not happiness. Our cultures screams to us, “Forget about being right with God, just be happy because that is what He wants and that is all that matters!” But what about character – Moral character?
That is the second part of this puzzle – “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully”
This speaks to something that is foreign to many people – actions and a heart that are pure. Few people are concerning themselves with purity or moral behavior. Instead it is an attitude of feel good, anything goes, be happy. This results in a perverse lifestyle that hinges on destruction and death. And it is not just the one with clean hands but the pure heart must be present as well. The term clean hands speak loudly of the outward life but the pure heart speaks to the inward. The outward is drastically affected by the inward. The condition of the heart will control the hands, the mind and all of the actions that come from them. When we give our hearts away to the things of this world whether it is the treasures like all the latest electronics that have taken over our lives or the fleshly pleasures that stimulate our bodies the result is – idolatry…some sort of idolatry…we have given ourselves away.
Let me end my ramblings with this passage. When i read this I can’t help but imagine an man on a horse, rallying his troops, preparing for battle, riding up and down the ranks shouting these words…
Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. – Habakkuk 3:2
Father, Let this be OUR cry