The twenty-fourth Psalm begins by speaking of the power of God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
In the third verse, it continues with a question that asks who is worthy to be in the presence of this mighty God and King who owns all that have been created and exists.
The psalmist says:
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?”
- Psalms 24:3 KJV
The “hill of the LORD”, is also translated to mean the “presence of the LORD”. The Israelites had a very firm understanding of the power of God. They knew God by many names which all explained His might and inaccessible presence. This was the same awe-inspired fear the psalmist used when he asked this question. It was to show that man was totally short of the glory of God, and could neither stand in God’s presence or in the holiness of His majesty because of sin. The book of Romans says:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
- Romans 3:23 KJV
Man’s efforts cannot bring him into the acceptance of God. Man cannot experience God’s holiness or stand in the place that the presence of God has been marked, because of the inadequacy of the flesh. This was a statement of worship to the Almighty God, who is holy and pure and righteous alone.
The next verse begins to explain to us the reason why the natural man cannot come to be in God’s holy presence. It says:
“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
- Psalms 24:5 KJV
It is because the requirement to being worthy to stand in God’s presence is that a man’s hands be clean from every evil work, and his heart be filled with pure and good things that glorify God. Also, this man must serve and worship only God his Creator; following the path of truth, honesty, integrity, goodness, kindness and the attributes that come from a pure heart.
Therefore, the requirement is set, and only those who are up to the task can then be accepted into the presence of the Holy God.
God is pure and holy, and will not tolerate any character that is contrary to His. He demands holiness of men. Holiness in the sense of continually following Him by His help, and doing the things that please and glorify Him.
The next two verses now tell us that all the while, we have been talking about a way that has been made to rescue man from this condemnation; a way to meet these requirements.
It states that:
“He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.”
- Psalms 24:5-6 KJV
The sixth verse is like the first step to this qualification. It says that they are the generation – the people, the kind of humans – that seek His face. They are the ones who will receive the blessing from God – the goodness, kindness, mercy, grace, peace, wealth, and all the good things of God – and righteousness; meaning they have the mark of being accepted, but this is by the power and will of God.
The people that seek Him and seek to do His will and walk in His ways, are the people that God is pleased with.
These four verses in essence are trying to teach us the will of God; the prophetic declaration of the salvation through Jesus.
Firstly, there is none that is righteous before God of his own power; all have already fallen short of being granted free access into His righteous presence. This is because man is soiled with sin. Men are untruthful, unkind, unloving, unfaithful, and doers of all the iniquities that the flesh brings. There is none that can please God by his own deeds, none.
Secondly, we see that alas, there is a way that makes it possible to gain access into God’s presence. It is the way of seeking Him with all of your heart. God says we shall love Him with all our hearts, souls and minds. (Matthew 22:37).
To seek God is the key to knowing Him; knowing Him is the key to being righteous and holy before Him.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but God has also made a way that men can be righteous before Him; standing in His holy presence and being in His holy temple, accepted and at peace. Through the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice, peace can be restored, and righteousness is obtainable as a free gift.