Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully. Psalms 24:3-4 [ESV]
All throughout Psalms there are these definitions of acceptability. Taking these in Psalms in the context of the merciful grace given to us by God through His Son has a huge impact.
Verse 3: Who SHALL ascend and stand in His holy place? -> I love the explicit declaration that whoever meets the following criteria SHALL ascend and stand.
He who has clean hands and pure heart -> This person must be innocent inside and out. Innocent in actions and their minds…including their motives.
He who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. -> False worship is one interpretation (from NIV). The person allowed entry into the holy place must not worship an idol or offer oaths in the name of a false god. Additionally, it is pointing to someone who does not lie or make promises they have no intention of keeping.
At first blush this is depressing because we are inherently sinful and even though I am a born again Christian and devoted to Jesus, I will fall. So, I don’t think the Psalmist is saying these things are a self-righteous declaration as much as it is a solemn admission of dependence on the merciful grace of God. I SHALL ascend and stand in the holy place because I am cleansed by the precious blood of my Savior when I confess and repent of my sin. Because of the redemptive work of God through Jesus, I am able to meet these qualifications.
Psalms 20:7-8 [ESV]
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
All of chapter 20 is filled with “Mays“.
- May the Lord answer you…
- May He send you help…
- May He protect you…
- May He remember all your sacrifices…
- May He give you the desires of your heart…
- May the Lord grant all your requests…
The entire chapter is a blessing to the anointed king of Israel. The nation of Israel did not put its faith in its military might, but in the name of of the Lord. David personified this when he made this statement before killing Goliath.
You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
1 Samuel 17:45
There are so many things that we substitute for military might in our own lives here on earth. Money, career, reputation, and even good things like family can unseat Who should be the real Lord of our lives, Jesus. Keeping this fact, constantly in my vision is so important. I can easily get caught up in ‘right-fighting’, or even feeling justified in ‘how I feel’ being cannons and ramparts for my life battle. I must daily put my trust in the Name of the Lord my God.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalms 19:14 [ESV]
It’s been a tough couple of weeks at work. Won’t go into it here but I had a meeting today that was plain awful. It was uncomfortable, I felt alone, I felt misunderstood, and I felt overwhelmed. On my way home I was just praying to the Lord to give me peace about how I handled myself. Before entering the room, I had been meditating on Galatians 5:22-26. Although the meeting was hard and ended not far from where it began, I had only one acceptable outcome I was striving for -> Honor the Lord with my words, actions, behaviors, and stay true to who God has called me to be. I did that and although the meeting was as uncomfortable as it was, I left assured that I had represented integrity, gentleness, kindness, patience, peace, goodness, and self-control.
I am very glad this meeting is over and I am anxious to see where the Lord takes this. Knowing that I am laying this at His feet and trust that He is in control; I submit to whatever the path is that the Lord sets in front of me going forward.
He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me. Psalms 18:16-19 [ESV]
A quick read this morning as I get ready to head into the office. Following on from yesterday, I was thinking about David and his physical enemies that God was addressing but I can’t help but think that he was talking about the internal enemy as well – himself. If I read this and apply it to my heart, rather than a physical enemy, the point is so strong.
“He took me and drew me out of many waters” – because David had submitted himself entirely to the Lord in this moment. I wonder if the ‘many waters’ includes his own tendencies and sin.
“They were too mighty for me” – David knew that he could not of his own power rescue himself from his situation. The surrender and acknowledgement of his own weakness was his submission to God to do what only He could.
“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, BUT the Lord was my support” – Again, pointing this internally, I see how not letting my own guilt and shame ruin me because of who I am in Jesus. I have been justified forever; I have been adopted as a son of the Almighty God.
“Because He delighted in me” – This is the icing on the cake. God was not angered by having to rescue David. God did not hold David’s failings in front of his face; no, God delighted in David. Wow!
These last couple of weeks (15 days to be exact) I have not gotten my quiet times posted. I will have them updated for each day but for those of you who get my email notice of a new post, I will turn that off for past posts that I need to get transcribed here. You are welcome to check back every once in awhile to see what has come in but I will not bother you with the deluge of post notifications that will be coming. 🙂
In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. Psalms 18:6-12
Marianne and I finished Week 3 of the Canyon Hills Biblical Counseling class this week and the information is so awesome…overwhelming, but awesome! When I read this passage today, I reminded me of the amazing help our Lord and Savior can become for us when we make Him the Lord of our lives. Our raw nature is corrupt because of what we have been born with in sin. When we release our own inward self-sufficient attitude and embrace the power of God Himself available to us through His Word and Holy Spirit, I think it can look a lot like what I read here. Essentially an overwhelming decent of attack on the aspects of ourselves that get in front of our restoration.
One of the things that really spoke to me 2 weeks ago in class, is the fact that we must first ‘Speak truth to ourselves’ before we come to the counseling room with pointers to the answers God has for us. As the counselor, I better have my act together understanding what my own tendencies are before I try to guide someone to the Redeemer. Of course God does not need me to reach those to whom He is going to call to Himself, but I also don’t want to be any type of stumbling block either.
So grateful that our church is offering this training. Only 3 weeks in and I am already seeing the benefit in my own walk.