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.
The Psalmist in Psalms 24 begins this psalm by stressing GOD. He emphasizes that everything in this earth and on this earth is the Lord’s, hence, he has the right to judge it and do with it as he pleases. These are words we would all do well to remember – He is our creator, our Sovereign – HE IS THE LORD. We would be remiss if we did not remind ourselves daily that we will have to give an account to him.
The passage cited above then stresses, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?” Was the psalmist here talking about ascending into the city of Jerusalem in order to worship? Was he describing the character of those who may have attended the festivals of the Lord? If so, the next few statements emphasize that when they came before the Lord, they had to have clean hands and a pure heart. Oh, how this applies today. The child of God must always remember that God knows what we do, and he knows our motives that define our actions. He knows us! How important it is that we have the right attitudes when we worship him! As we worship, it should also remind us that we need to live lives EVERY DAY that is clean and pure.
The Psalmist then stressed to his readers (including us) that they could not have mixed allegiances. While we do not bow down before idols today, we can have them in our hearts! ANYTHING THAT GETS IN THE WAY OF OUR ALLEGIANCE TO GOD AND HIS WORD BECOMES AN IDOL, and we must make sure that when we worship we do not have anything between us and God.
Our tongue – our speech, also affects our worship to God, and our relationship to God. We cannot swear (swear not at all-Matthew 5:34-35). Our speech needs to be clear, truthful and right (James 3:1-12).
Should the things mentioned here characterize all of us, not only when we come to worship God, but every day of our lives?
“O Lord, please help me to so live that I can come and worship you without pretense or falsehood. Help me to realize that my worship to you will always be affected by the way I live my life. And help me, Father, to know that my life should be so lived EVERYDAY, not just when I come to meet with the saints for worship, but also when I meet people every day of my life! May I always seek to honor you in my actions, and in my speech. In Jesus name, AMEN!
FEAR OF GOD OR FEAR OF MAN?
I have been reading through the book of Jeremiah again, and I am impressed by this man who told the truth to Judah in the waning years of the Southern Kingdom. It was not easy for him, being a young man, to tell the nation of Israel the brutal truth that judgment was coming on them because of their sins.
Jeremiah struggled with his calling to be a prophet from the very beginning. He felt that he was too young to do this job, and God had to reassure him that He would be with Jeremiah. He was attacked by everyone – from princes and false prophets, to some of the kings themselves. He was beaten for preaching the truth. He was thrown in a cistern and left for dead. He was lied about, and even after Babylon crushed Judah, he was “abducted” by some of the Jews that were left and forced to go to Egypt. Even there, he
(cont. from pg. 1)
preached the truth of what would happen to those who sought help in Egypt; then stated that Nebuchadnezzar would defeat Egypt and they would be killed there! Yet, God was watching over him and making sure that nation of Judah KNEW why they were being punished by Babylon. They could not say that they had not heard the warnings from God about their end.
They seemingly had no fear of God and no fear of what would happen if they continued this course of action in their lives.
The Bible stresses to us that we need to have the fear of God in our lives. In Deuteronomy 10:12, as Moses warns the people of Israel of his day and generations to come, he stated, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord require of you, but to FEAR the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse summed up what THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE, but also convicted them of their failings when they did not do them. Jesus in Matthew 10:28 stressed to his disciples, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot fear the soul. But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The fear of God suggests the idea of reverence and respect, but also the clear warning that if we fail to honor God and His Word, we have to fear eternal separation as well. The children of Israel lost this! The church today has seemingly lost it as well. Such is manifested in our actions. The church has become fearful of preaching against sins so clearly marked in the Bible (Galatians 5:19-21). Have we become so politically correct that we fail to condemn those things which God condemned? Have I been more fearful of men than I have of God?
I confess that sometimes I have been. Sometimes I am not as bold as I need to be in teaching the truth, lest I offend. I ask for prayers that I might be like Jeremiah and tell the truth no matter the cost. It is not “my truth” or “your truth,” it is truth!
The world needs to hear this truth today. It MUST hear the truth of God’s provisions of salvation; it also MUST hear the truth concerning the destiny of the wicked and the righteous. We cannot be fearful in teaching the truth, BUT WE MUST TEACH THE TRUTH IN LOVE (Ephesians 4:15).
Souls are at stake.
“Lord, help us to teach the truth in love, to help others to know what you require of them. Help us to teach the reality of the punishment that the just, loving God will mete out. Help us to teach in such a way that all men may say of us – ‘Well, you tried to tell us, but we wouldn’t listen.’ or “Thank you for telling us about what Jesus did for us! Thanks to you we are saved.’ “
“In Jesus name, Amen.”