Psalms To See Me Through: Psalm 24 ~ Who Is This King Of Glory?

The King of Glory Entering Zion
A Psalm of David

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
For He has founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the rivers.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
And has not sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face ~even Jacob. Selah.

Lift up your heads, O gates,
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of Glory. Selah
Ps. 24:1-10*

This twenty-fourth Psalm is the third in a trinity of poems known as the “shepherd psalms”.  In Psalm 22 we see Christ, the Lord’s tender shoot, the shoot from the stem of Jesse, the suffering Servant; the Good Shepherd who lays His life down for the sheep. (John10:11)  In Psalm 23, He is RoehYahweh Roi ~ the Great Shepherd
(Hebrews 13:20-21), and in Psalm 24 He is the Chief Shepherd. (1 Pet. 5:4)

Our Beloved Savior came the first time as the Good Shepherd and gave His life for humanity ~ the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. (Jn. 1:29)  He now reigns in heaven as our Great Shepherd, perfecting us in every good work. (Heb. 13: 20-21)
One day He shall appear again as the Chief Shepherd to rule and reign on the earth as the King of Glory.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.

For He has founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the rivers.
(vv.1-2)

The great prophet Jeremiah reaffirms this truth:

It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.
(Jer. 10:12)

God designed and brought into being this big, beautiful, amazing earth, and every creature which makes earth their home, so that He can share His will and His love.
God sent His Son to earth to redeem humanity; a redemption that baffles the angels.
(
1 Peter 1:11-13)

David intended this Psalm to be recited on the day the Temple was dedicated, the place where God’s glory would rest in the holiest of places.  It is believed that he composed this poem the day he purchased the threshing floor of Araunah. (II Sam. 24: 18-25)  This threshing floor served as the site in which the temple would be constructed; this is no ordinary plot of land.  Traditionally, the place is Mt. Moriah, no ordinary mount.  This holy place is where Abraham sacrificed Isaac, the Temple rested, and according to rabbinical tradition, God formed Adam and breathed His holy, life-giving breath into his lungs on this sacred land ~ holy ground.  The sacrifice of sheep offered at this Temple year after year represented a prophetic picture of the day when the Shepherd Himself would lay down His perfect life for His sheep.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
And has not sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face ~ even Jacob. Selah.
(vv. 3-6)

Pilgrims are ascending to the Temple to await the Lord’s appearance in the holiest place, to march with the Lord in victory.  But before Yahweh’s victory procession can begin, a divine test ~ who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?  Those whose heart belongs to the Lord.  Those whose actions and motives are pure ~ these will receive Yahweh’s righteousness.  It is not our own self-righteousness that we seek and long for, but His righteousness is a gift He freely gives when our hearts are seeking Him.  One whose heart belongs to the Lord does not simply believe in God and obey Him, but they long for Him like the deer pants for water. (Ps. 42:1)  Belief and obedience express to God that He has our will; it does not mean He has our heart.  Our theology must turn into praise and worship that comes from the heart.  One must not claim moral perfection to be considered for entry.  To receive righteousness from God his Savior, one must worship.

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (Jn. 4: 23-24)

Those who seek God are the true worshipers; those who seek Yahweh are not claiming perfection, but willingness.  The original Hebrew in these verses indicates that seekers of Yahweh does not mean merely in a general spiritual sense, but to make the pilgrimage to worship Yahweh in His Temple.  The Temple is beautiful, but it is not the Temple that we worship, our object is Yahweh, and our objective is to see the face of the God of Jacob.

As Heaven’s gate opens to reveal Him, only those with clean hands and a pure heart will behold Him when He appears.  We need only humble ourselves, receive the redemption He so mercifully offers, and seek after Him with our whole heart.  It is only by the blood of Christ that we may see Him at His arrival.

 Lift up your heads, O gates,
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah
(vv. 7-10)

Now the great victory march may commence, and the procession takes us through the Temple gates.   The gate swings open for the king of Glory; who is this king of Glory?
He is Yahweh of Hosts ~ the Warrior¹ ~ El Gibhor, the Name of God that reveals Him as the Mighty Warrior and Champion.  He always prevails, has great strength and authority over all.  It is He who spoke all of creation into existence.  This poem employs the ancient near eastern motif of the divine warrior who becomes king by virtue of his victory over chaotic waters.²  Oh that we would allow Him to conquer our stormy waters. (Mark 4:39)

David intended this poem for the dedication of the Temple, but this Psalm was also incorporated into Old Testament Advent liturgy; waiting for the Lord to enter His temple.³ (Malachi 3:1)  The cry, lift up, ye gates, your heads, is seen in the voice of Isaiah the prophet, the two voices collude in Advent hope:

A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God”.

(Isaiah 40:3)

In the New Testament, the Second Advent takes the place of His first, for He is coming to His spiritual temple, the Church, and this Psalm calls us to prepare Him a reception worthy of the Lord of Glory.

The King of Glory was the Lord of Glory, who cruel men crucified (1 Cor. 2:8), but who at His ascension found the everlasting doors open to receive Him, is clearly evident from the language of this glory Psalm.4

He is Jahve, the God of Hosts; His throne of grace is set upon Zion.  His dominion is not limited.  His right to sovereignty embraces the earth and its fullness, (Ps. 50:12; 89:12), i.e., everything that is to be found upon it and in it.5  He is the owner of the world because He created it by His hand.  All created agencies and forces are under the leadership and dominion of Yahweh who created and sustains them. (Genesis 2:1Isaiah 45:12)
Jahve is used to express Yahweh’s great power.

What circumstance are you facing?  What trial are you walking through?  Nothing can overtake you when you put your trust in God.  Jesus is our High Priest, and we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses. (Heb. 4:15)  In Psalm 22, He is the Good Shepherd who carried our sorrows (Is. 53:4); in Psalm 23 He leads us into rest as our Great Shepherd in the calm vision, and in Psalm 24 He leads us to the victory procession with the Chief Shepherd, the King of Glory.  Who is this King of Glory? He is the Lord of Host our Warrior and Champion.

 

 

* Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the New American Standard Version (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

1Craig C. Broyles, Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 126.

2Ibid., 128.

3C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary On The Old Testament: The Psalms Vol. 5 (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011), 211.

4Herbert Lockyer, All The Divine Names In The Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979), 183.

5Keil and Delitzsch, 211.

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