Psalm Bible Study (Worshiping God)

Psalm 24, Who May Come to God?


  1. Psalm 24 is another psalm of David which can be broken down into three sections. These three sections are so distinct that some liberal scholars have suggested that these are three individual psalms that have been wrongly combined into one psalm. But we must take care with these kinds of assumptions, for we are tinkering with the word of God. We ought to see if there is a reasonable way to reconcile these sections into some sort of theme.
  2. It does not take much work to see the theme throughout this psalm is of the majesty of the coming King. The first section describes the authority and power of the King. The second section asks who may approach the King. The third section describes the actually coming of the King. With these three movements in mind, let us read this psalm and see its message.

I. The King In His Proper Place (24:1-2)

A. All belongs to the King

  1. What a great reminder David gives us concerning who is in charge! The earth and the world belong to the Lord. Everything in the earth belongs to the Lord. All the riches, possessions, material things, and physical things that we see and can think of are God’s. Not only this, every inhabitant of the earth is the Lord’s.
  2. How easy it is for us to lose sight of this reality! How quickly we can forget that our money is not ours, but the Lord’s! How easily we forget that our houses, cars, and other material toys are not ours, but the Lord’s! There is nothing that is ours, yet we selfishly with the things we have believing that we are the owners. Even our lives are not ours, but are the Lord’s!
  3. This reminds us of the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. In that parable on of the important points of emphasis is the master is in control of the whole estate and is giving a portion of his possessions to his servants to use until he returns. This is a description of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:1,14). Jesus made the point that the servants will be judged for how they used the master’s possession and if the possessions were used wisely. We are to be fruitful and profitable concerning all that God has placed within our use. Therefore, David reminds everyone in his psalm that everything belongs to the Lord.

B. The reason all belongs to the King

  1. Verse 2 gives the reason why everything belongs to the Lord: He laid the earth’s foundation and established it. Every thing there is in this world has been created by God. The material possessions we have come from materials that God made in the very beginning. God created every man and woman in the image of Himself and therefore every human belongs to the Lord.
  2. Therefore is no room for argument with the Creator. Supreme power is His and His alone and we are not in charge of the things that He has given unto us. God has ultimate charge over us because He made us. God has ultimate charge over the possessions and materials of this world because He created it. Therefore, all that we do must be pleasing to the King. The way we use what God has given us must be pleasing to God. It is interesting in the parable of the talents that the one talent man is criticized for allow the talent to do nothing. God expects interest off of what He has given to us, not for what we have been given to simply be returned to Him. The master told that lazy servant he could have at least put that one talent in the bank and earned interest. We are supposed to be smart with the possessions that God has given us and use these things for the benefit of the kingdom of God.
  3. Our homes, no matter how small or great, must be used for the service of God and the furthering of the kingdom. Our cars are to be used to further the gospel and extend the borders of God’s kingdom. Our money is to be used in fruitful ways so that God’s will may be established in this world. While we can enjoy the fruit of our labors we will be called into account for how we used all that we have been blessed.

II. Who May Come To The King? (24:3-6)

A. The heart of the worshipper

  1. In this second section, David now asks two great questions: (1) who may ascend the mountain of the Lord, and (2) who may stand in His holy place? David wants us to consider who is able to approach the glory of the King and stand in His very presence. When we consider the superiority of God especially concerning His power and authority over our lives and over all things on the earth, who can possibly stand in the presence of God.
  2. Those with clean hands. David says that one who has clean hands is able to stand in the presence of God. To have clean hands is to examine our deeds and actions. David is asking us to examine all the activities we plunge ourselves into. We must be involved in works of righteousness and deeds fit for God’s service and nothing else. We cannot have hands stained with sin and evil. We cannot have hands that are mischievous, malicious, or busy in places that God has not directed. James made this declaration, “Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!” God looks to see what our hands have been involved in, if those activities are pure and righteous, or full of evil and filth.
  3. Those with pure hearts. God also looks at our intentions and our motives. We may think we can fool others around us by keep our hands looking clean, but God also examines the heart to find out if there is anything amiss. Those who may stand in the presence of God are only those who continually cleanse their hearts from wickedness. Let us never think that we can keep corrupt motives and evil thoughts in our minds as long as we do not act on these. Whether we act on these thoughts and motives or not, we must purge our minds of these things. If we do not, then we will eventually act upon what our minds are dwelling upon.
  4. Those who keep from falsehood. Finally, David says that the character of those who may approach the Lord are those who keep themselves, mind and actions, from false ways. This is commanding us to have a right relationship with others. We are to be honest people with one another and not be false or fake to each other. We must treat each other with honor and respect, submitting to one another just as Christ perfectly showed submission by dying on our behalf. We will not see God and be in His presence if we are not treating one another with the self-sacrificing love of God.

B. The reward from God

  1. Verses 5 and 6 describe the rewards that will come from the Lord to those who have clean hands and a pure heart. The first reward is described in verse 5, “He will receive blessing from the Lord.” This concept seems to be a theme that we have noticed regularly in our latest lessons. David points out this great reward for us in this psalm. When we are doing what the Lord says and living our lives according to His will, God has promised to bless us. This does not state that He will do everything we want or desire. But we do realize that when we ask according to the will of the Lord, we will receive many things. We also realize that God’s blessings include taking care of us, providing for our needs, eliminating our need for worry and anxiety, strengthen our souls, and many more important facets of God’s continual help to us.
  2. The second reward is continued in verse 5, “and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” God will always treat us fairly and justly. Put it another way, God always has our best interests in mind and heart. God does not act selfishly upon His own behalf but is always looking out for us. God has made a covenant with us which shows us grace and love daily. God has made it possible for every man and woman to be justified in God’s sight and inherit eternal life from the Father. Not only do we receive eternal life to come, but we receive true life now. We have been given a mission by God, declared to be valuable, and we must live to the purpose and calling of God.
  3. Verse 6 declares that these things are available to the generation who will seek Him. What are we looking for in life? What is it that you seek to gain? There is much to pursue in this life, but David says we need to seek the face of God. Seeking God is what we must always be looking for in this life. Seeking for anything else, be it respect, acknowledgment, success, or wealth, will only lead to our destruction.

III. Here Comes The King (24:7-10)

A. The triumphal entry

  1. This final movement in this psalm seems to be written in song form like the Song of Solomon, where there are many speakers. This section can probably best be broken down like this:
    • The chorus approaching with the king:
      Lift up your heads, you gates! Rise up, ancient doors! Then the King of glory will come in.
    • A voice inside the walls of the city:
      Who is this King of glory?
    • A spokesman for the king:
      The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
    • The chorus approaching with the king:
      Life up your heads, you gates! Rise up, ancient doors! Then the King of glory will come in.
    • A voice inside the walls of the city:
      Who is He, this King of glory?
    • Everyone, or perhaps only the spokesman for the king:
      The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of glory.
  2. This is the first time and only time in the scriptures where we see reference made to “the king of glory.” Clearly this is a Messianic psalm prophesying of the day when their Savior would come to the city and be their king. It seems impossible for me to not believe that this song was fulfilled in Mark 11:1-11 as Jesus is riding on a foal of donkey into the city of Jerusalem. As Jesus made His entry into Jerusalem, multitudes are spreading their robes on the road and others spread leafy branches. Those who went ahead of Jesus and those who followed Jesus were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!
  3. Imagine what was going on inside the city of Jerusalem as these declarations were being made about the Messiah entering the gates. I submit to you the city would be saying the very words found in Psalm 24, “who is this King of glory?” The response of this multitude as Jesus entered would be, “The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of glory.
  4. Though the city of Jerusalem let the King of glory enter the gates, many of the city did not truly let Him in because the King of glory was killed four days later. The city did not let the King of glory into their hearts and that is what this psalm is all about. The only people who will truly see the King of glory are those with clean hands and pure hearts.
  5. We await the return of the King of glory. In Acts 1 the angels promised that the King of glory would return in the clouds just like He left. We must make preparations to be ready for His coming. Many are going to be shouting out “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Many claim to be Christians in this world. But only those who have clean hands and a pure heart will be with the King of glory. Only those who are truly seeking Him by being obedient to His commands will be allowed to enter into the final glory of God’s kingdom.
  6. It is time to know this King of glory for He is the Lord of Hosts. If you desire to learn more about God, we offer free Bible studies so that you can come to know God’s plan for your life. If you are ready to submit your life to the King, then be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and walk in newness of life with the Lord.
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