Sermon on Psalm 24
Title The Glory of the Lord.
Introduction: What is God Like?
1. He Owns it All
2. He Is Purer Than It All
3. He Is Greater than it All
What is God like? Let me tell you that’s one of the most important questions that we can have the answer to. What is God like. Watch this. If God is a sadistic crazy man who runs the world without any sort of rhyme or reason, what does that mean you can expect in the world? That means you can expect that the world will never make any sense. You can expect that in the moment of sickness that God is just laying a random hit on you. You actually cannot expect anything because they minute you think you can expect something.
What is God like? Let’s look at God a different way. Let’s say God were a kind loving and wonderful God. In fact he is so soft and loveable and spoils you more than your own grandma does. But lets say this full of love God has only even power with the devil and the evil forces in the world. Its really only a fifty-fifty shot that God is going to overcome when the end comes. You might have it good and cushy in the lap of this loving God, but just watch out when the devil comes he’s going squish your loveable God like a bug.
What is God like? Our answer to that question can change our mindset. It change the way we see the good or bad things that happen in our life. What is your God like.
Let’s talk about it.
How could we possibly get to know God a little better? Well, we could rely on our own thoughts and imaginations. That’s a dangerous place to go. Have you found your emotions to be a reliable source of truth? Like that time when you thought your spouse was angry with you. But it turned out that you were the grouchy one. Yeah, those thought and imaginations. Are you going to trust them with truth.
Nicky Gumble, in the alpha videos that we have been seeing in the evening service, made a good observation. He says facts, faith and feelings ought to make a line up in a little parade. Your faith has to be based on things that are true and real. Faith is no good if it is not following behind true and undeniable facts. When your faith is following behind the facts, then your feelings will also fall in line behind.
So, what is God like? We should study the facts from the inspired word of God. What does God tell us about himself in the Bible.
Psalm 24 gives us some good pictures of what God is like. And wouldn’t you know it, the passage tells us three easy to remember things about God.
This is what we discover about God. He is the owner of all. He is purer than all. He is going to be glorified over all.
The first thing we hear in the passage is that he is the owner of it all. What is the fact about God. Look back with me at verses 1-2. Who does it belong to? The earth is the . . . . Lord’s. And not just the planet itself. And everything in it. The world and all who live in it. He created it, so it all belongs to him.
What is God like? Well there isn’t a single part of this world that he can look at say, boy I wish that part belonged to me. Or I wish I would have had some control over that earthquake or that hurricane or that disease or that car accident. Even the exact length of our life is in God’s control.
Boy that makes you think doesn’t it. If everything in this world belongs to God, then we probably should start living like he exists outside of our church building. We ought to live like he cares about how well we do at school, or in our job, or with our family.
Okay. Now everyone with me, take a big deep breath. Did you somehow compensate God for that air of his he gave you? Everything down to our very breath belongs to God and is a gift to us from God.
But let’s hear the rest of what the facts are about God. First he owns it all. Second, he is more pure than it all. He is more pure than it all.
We hear this in verses 3-6. But before we read these verses again, I want you to know the background this Psalm. Jewish tradition tells us that this Psalm was written for the occasion when King David was returning the Ark of Covenant to the Temple. There would be a chorus or a choir that would start of the Psalm, and then, you will notice there are questions that come. The questions were announced by one person, probably a priest. So you have this back and forth going on while the procession around the Ark of the Covenant is going up the Hill of the Lord to where the temple was.
Its in that context that we are reminded that God is purer than it all. Vs 3-6:
3 Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.a
5 He will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Boys and girls you probably are told by your parents that you need to go wash your hands before you eat. Well, when I was little my mom would use ask if we had clean hands when we would come to sit down at the table. And my Dad being the biblical scholar that he was would add to it: you need to have clean hands and a pure heart.
Who may go and be in the presence of God ascending the holy mountain? The answer is you need to have clean hands and a pure heart.
Now imagine King David being in this procession up the mountain. The King of Israel. He should be worthy to go up into the presence of God. But he wouldn’t. He is told that he has blood on his hands and sin in his heart. Do you remember what he did to Urriah. Well, he basically raped his wife Bathsheba, got her pregnant, and then sent Urriah to the front lines of battle instructing the army to fall back from Urriah’s position so that he would be killed. King David’s hands aren’t clean and his heart isn’t pure.
So who is clean? The answer is no one! Absolutely nothing in God’s creation can go up the mountain saying, I am clean. I am pure. There is no one.
In Revelation 5 a similar question is asked. Who is worthy to open the scrolls that will finally bring about the end of sin and death? John weeps as he looks around because there is no one that is worthy. No one is pure enough. No one except God himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Look at Revelation 5 with me. It says in verse 7.
7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9 And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
God is purer than all. None of our sin is worthy enough to stand in his presence. None of it. That is why humanity needed Jesus Christ so desperately. Nothing we could do could make us good enough. We needed the blood of the lamb to cover us.
We had communion. It is a reminder about what Christ did. But it is also a spiritual nourishment. As we eat and drink, we experience the closeness of Jesus Christ. We experience the beginnings of true purity.
So what is God like? He is purer than all. So pure that we need the purification through Christ’s death to be in his presence.
The Psalm continues on with the back and forth as the Ark of Covenant is going up the mount of the Lord. And now the chorus of people change their chant. Verse 7.
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
The people of Israel knew that while they were chanting this they were both speaking the truth about God, but they were also looking down at the other gods. Baal, one of prominent gods for the Canaanite people king of kings. And in some of the writing about Baal there is a passage that goes like this, lift up your head, o you gods. They were proud of Baal as their god. They figured all other gods would have to look up in reverence to him.
But, Baal... hmmmmm. The only reason we know talk any more about Baal today is because the true God of heaven squashed any reason to believe in Baal. The return of the Ark is all the more reason to sing in praise because we know that God is truly the God almighty.
Lift up your heads you gates. Heads up because God has conquered. He is full of power and might.
What would that day have been like? Watching the ark of the covenant return to Israel.
Have you ever been at an event where you know it is a weighty event? Where you know that something important is happening at that time. Perhaps that’s how the people of Egypt felt as they took to the streets to oust their president. And all these uprisings around the Middle East, you can’t help but sense the weight and the importance of that moment.
That’s what it must feel like to be in the presence of God.
Did you know that the root of the word glory in Hebrew is actually the word heavy. I love that picture. Have you ever felt the presence of God. Have you ever felt the glory of his presence. He is the king of glory. When we are in his presence we can’t help but feel anything but glory. Importance. Heaviness. Significance. Wonder. Splendor.
What is God like. He is so powerful and great and amazing that his presence is incredibly wonderful.
That’s what the glory of God is like.
That’s what it will be like in the end. Imagine that. Feel that. Its almost like the Psalm could be giving us a heads up for the second coming of Christ as well and the coming of the New creation. You see, just as the ark was brought back to the mount in Jerusalem, the Bible tells us the Jesus Christ, the presence of God is going come back into this world. And that’s when we get to participate in that heavy, weighty significant time.
Who is this king of Glory? It is the Lord of All. He is the king of Glory. And he is coming again to make everything new.
So, take the truth of who God is with you. We don’t serve a pygmy God. We serve that God that owns it all, is purer than it all, and is more powerful than it all. Though Christ we get to be insiders sharing in this glory.
a Or swear falsely
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ps 24:3-6
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Re 5:7-10
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ps 24:7-10