Many believe King David wrote the following psalm when preparing to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The excerpt below asks and answers a fundamental question:
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. Selah
The questions posed by King David refer to individuals who have a relationship with the Lord. Who can have the confidence to enter God’s presence? Who can be at peace with God?
The answer is astounding. Those seeking communion with God must possess, “clean hands and a pure heart, [someone] who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully” (v. 4).
Clean hands describe righteous acts while a pure heart defines proper motives. Together these idioms describe a person of integrity. An individual devoted to idolatry is characterized by vanity and deception—the antithesis of integrity.
God’s grace is the source of salvation, and those who enjoy an ongoing relationship with Him are likened to the man, Jacob-Israel, who decisively removed all idolatrous influence from his household (v. 5).
His first step was followed by an intense determination to serve God alone.
Living in the 21st century, we too are confronted with the same choice. Rather than succumbing to the pressure of career, finances, possessions, ambition or any other gods seeking to usurp authority over your life, resolve to make serving God your priority.
That choice is the formula for receiving God’s blessing with the additional benefit of a righteous life for all to observe (v. 5-6)!
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By Ken Horn, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) The Old City of Jerusalem, Mount Zion and Dormition Church. By Israeli Police Spokesperson Unit (Israeli Police Official Facebook (source)) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)