The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O 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. (vv 7-10)
Modern readers will find this short psalm following the stunning promises of the 23rd psalm and as the page turns, it is easy to get swept up in the shouts of acclamation for the Lord. We shall not diminish the praise of this psalm as we place it in its proper context as a processional liturgy. Historically, this psalm is associated with the entry of God into Zion, either at the time David returns the Ark to Jerusalem or at a later commemoration of the event. Our free church environment has largely cast aside liturgy but it serves an important purpose in leading and aligning the hearts and actions of God’s people.
As the King of Glory enters the Temple, we want to follow his train up the steps but the liturgy stops us. Who may ascend this hill of the Lord it asks. We pause to reflect on our own condition.
Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to idol or swear by what is false. (vv 3 – 4)
The liturgical pace halts our thoughts to consider our condition before the altar. We seek the blessing and vindication promised in verse 5 but we must never take it for granted. Let our prayer today be two examine our heart and hands for the bits of the world that might have crept in or on and need to be cleansed before approaching the throne.