Wednesday, 2 July 2008

#5 - Give us clean hands

Psalm 24


Of David. A psalm.




1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas


and established it upon the waters.
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. [b] Selah
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. Selah

Back in September, on a week-end away with my youth group, somewhere on the outskirts of Cambridge, we stayed at a house I have often been to before. On Sunday morning, I woke up really early, so I went outside to do my quiet time in the huge garden surrounding their whole house. It was light, birds were singing and it wasn't too cold. I sat on the seat carved out of a tree that had once been there, clutched my Bible to me and surveyed all I could see around me. It was perfect and then I remembered - God had created it all.

It was amazing to be reminded that God had created this, and the rest of the entire universe. Our brains can never truly get round it. This probably explains the lack of respect we have towards our planet: the pollution we cause, the amount of rubbish we throw in landfill sites and the habitats of God's creatures we destroy only leads to extinction and destruction. As followers of Jesus, we are given the task of caring for our planet.

Yeah, we can't know for sure if we can change the rate the ice in the Arctic is melting, but we can reduce our carbon footprint, reusing, reducing and recycling our rubbish so none of it goes to waste.

I'm sure in every psalm I've discussed so far, I can recognise the basis of a modern worship song in its depths. 'Give us clean hands' by Chris Tomlin undoubtedly sprung from verses 3-6, talking about holiness.

Holiness means to be set apart from others - God is set apart from us, as He is without sin, whereas we are sinful human beings. We cannot stand in His prescence, as God cannot bear the sin we have. It is therefore impossible for anyone to stand before God without a blemish by our own means: we have all followed, or still follow, idols; we have had, or still have, a divided heart that has not wholeheartedly followed God; and we have not fulfilled or we break our promises... to others and God.
It is only by God's grace through Jesus's sacrifice that we can have clean hands and a pure heart, on that day that we stand before the Lord. It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I have to do certain things as well as receiving God's grace to be saved... but imagine if we did - what a nightmare!

It's comforting to know that only Jesus can save us - we don't have to struggle to save ourselves.

The psalm ends with two promises...

  • Those who seek Him will find Him and will be granted this purification (v6) (Also check out Matthew 7)

  • God also wants us to be part of our lives - He wants us to open the doors and let Him in (vv7-10).

Many people have the view that God doesn't care about us at all, and he ignores what's happening in our lives completely. But the most powerful and the strongest being that there's ever been in the entire history of time wants to help us and be in the one life we have on this earth.

With Him, we will withstand all that life throws at us, be able to ascend His hill and stand in His holy place.

'"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.' Matthew 5:14

xox

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