Psalm 24: The Face-Melting Power of God
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.
A couple of weeks ago Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was on TV and I watched some of it with Clare. It had been a while since I had seen it, but I remember seeing it for the first time in middle school thinking it was basically the coolest movie I had ever seen. The most famous scene takes place in the end when the Nazis (!) open up the Ark of the Covenant (!!) and all of their faces melt off (!!!!). Yup. That happens.
Today's Psalm was sung as the people of God watched the real Ark of the Covenant be brought up the Temple stairs and placed in the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was a manifestation, representation, and symbol of God's glory and presence. It was so powerful, if people touched it when they weren't supposed to they would die instantly. When the Psalmist says "Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors" it is God's people singing to the Temple to open up and let God come in.
Earlier on in the Psalm, the Psalmist asks the question of who can ascend God's mountain? Who can be in God's presence without burning up?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
Someone who has clean hands is not guilty of sin against their neighbor.
Someone who has a pure heart is someone who has good intentions.
Someone who does not trust in an idol is someone who truly loves God and sees Him as King.
But we do sin against our neighbor.
Our heart is too often set on making ourselves look better and more impressive.
We constantly forget how great God is.
Jesus was someone who perfectly lived this life for us. He loved God, loved others, and lived a life of humility.
But that doesn't mean we are a lost cause. The Psalmist says, "Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob." When we seek God's face, He changes our hearts. The more we want of God, the more we run after Him, the more we will start becoming more like Him. God's glory is powerful, it's face-melting. But if we approach God with sincere motives, the glory will change us.
Let's be that generation. Let's be a movement of followers of Jesus who seek God's face. In the process of doing so God will transform us and the world around us. Let's be the movement.
Challenge: Listen to/sing the song "Give Us Clean Hands." This song is a classic and is taken from this Psalm. Afterwards, spend time "seeking God's face" through meditating on His Word and praying asking God "give me more of you."