Psalm 24:3 (NIV)
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?
David most likely wrote this psalm on the occurrence of the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. He knew of its former home in the moving tabernacle of his ancestors under the leadership of Moses. He was aware of the significance of Jerusalem in the land that God had promised his people, Israel. He thought of and imagined what the Temple of the Lord might look like when created, though he would not be allowed to be its builder. He could not have imagined Heaven coming down to the New Earth…or the Holy City…or the 12 Gates of Pearl…or “the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city” (Rev. 22:1). Do you ever ponder what it will be like?
This psalm begins with the establishment of God as the creator and sustainer of all things and all people. He is holy and separate. He is rightfully removed from the imperfections of mankind and its sin, yet curiously interested in a deeply personal relationship with every single human to ever walk the face of the earth. Who may approach such a Lord? Who would dare to enter into his inner sanctum? “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god” (Ps. 24:4). Is that you? Is it me? Is it any of us? Certainly not, for even the great Moses could not see the face of God and live to tell (Ex. 33:20). No, only the God-man Jesus Christ could confidently walk into His Father’s throne room and take his rightful place at his right hand (Eph. 1:20).
None of us can merit an ascent up the holy mountain of the Lord…None of us can stand in his holy place…but for Christ. Because of Christ’s finished work on the cross…and because of our complete faith in that work…we can walk confidently up the mountain with him. We can confidently stand in God’s holy place, as well. Christ’s blood is so powerful and so overwhelming that it can transform every sinful word, thought, and deed – the stains that cover our life’s history – into the ultimate Golden Ticket. The ultimate “All Access/Backstage Pass”. You can’t earn your way in. You can’t buy your way in. You certainly can’t sneak your way in. The only way in is with Christ by your side.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem at the Triumphal Entry, Matthew tells us that the people of the city asked, “Who is this?” (Mth. 22:10). If they had known who it was…as David could clearly foresee in many of his psalms…and as we know through the written Word today…they would have said, “The Lord Almighty – he is the King of glory!” (Ps. 24:10). How do you react to His Lordship? To the entrance of His Majesty into your life? To the fact that you have gained access to the Mountain of the Lord and to His Holy Place through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ? If your heart does not begin to sing with praise and thanksgiving, friend, you need to re-visit the cross of your salvation.