Summary: Our first inclination when we blow it is to hide from God. But as we learn in these two psalms, our first reaction should be to turn to God and trust in God to forgive, heal, and teach us how to be like God. If you have ever sinned or made a mistake, thes
Psalm 24 appears to be a victory parade after a battle with the Canaanites up to the Temple in Jerusalem, carrying the Ark of the Covenant.
1 – 2
The ancient Israelites felt that the earth rested on the waters. But there is more here than meets the eye. The words “seas” and “rivers” are two very specific Hebrew words which coincide with two of the Canaanite gods Prince Sea (“Yam”) and Judge River (“Nahar”). So here the psalmist is declaring God’s victory and dominance over the Canaanite gods.
But it is also generally a truth we need to keep in mind. Despite all of the “stuff” that man has done and that we acquire, everything and everyone belongs to God. Now not everyone belongs to God in a relationship way, but He is sovereign over all.
3 – 6
Here the worshippers approach the Temple and wonder who can enter into God’s presence? This echoes what we found in Psalm 15. The response is the requirements of the Law – perfection. Of course, the worshippers here knew they were not perfect so they must offer the sacrifices that accompany the approach to God.
The wonderful thing for us who belong to Jesus, His once-for-all sacrifice allows us to come into God’s presence at any time. We have received His righteousness, and indeed we are blessed!
7 – 10
Here the worshippers have offered their sacrifices and are entering into the sanctuary to praise God. The idea of “lift up your heads, you gates! Rise up, ancient doors!” could be like saying “make sure the king doesn’t have to stoop to enter in”. There is also an interesting parallel to an ancient Canaanite battle poem that uses similar wording to tell the gods to “lift up, O gods, your heads” as the River god and the Sea god have won the victory. So the psalmist is turning their victory poem around on them because they were no match for Yahweh.
I want to go back to verse 4. It says that in order to approach God you cannot “set your mind on what is false.” Many in our culture today have done just that. They have heard in the culture many false things—about the relative nature of truth, about the changing nature of what is good and what is not, and have gotten ideas of what Jesus is like that are false.
God is all good; He is the source of goodness and light and joy and peace and relationships. But you cannot approach Him if you swallow the lies of this culture. My encouragement is to focus on the expression of God’s mind that He gave us in His Word and let that tell you what is true.
Secondly I wanted to mention again verse 1. We tend to think we have ownership over the “stuff” we’ve acquired, and this age certainly encourages us to get as much “stuff” as we can. Having things is not bad, but when things have you—that’s when trouble starts. Let us not forget that we are simply stewards and not owners!
Psalm 25 is a wonderful psalm to read if you have messed up. When you want to obey the Lord and live a good life, sometimes temptations come along, or the old nature just seems to take over and “bam” you find yourself rebelling against God. We all fail in many small ways all the time, but sometimes we fail in giant “how’d that ever happen” kind of ways. In those cases, it is most helpful to read this psalm, as David begs the Lord to remember His great love and forget David’s great sins!