“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord and who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”
– Psalm 24:3–4
What a powerful question and answer in the heart of the Psalm. I just feel the weight of that question. Like who can ascend the hill of the Lord? Who can stand in his holy place? Who can stand before the holy God of the universe? So who is fit? Who is able to come into his presence? And the answer is he has clean hands and a pure heart. And also think about this; outward and inward, an inward purity that plays out in outward cleanliness.
Made Clean in Christ Jesus
In Christ we are made clean. Through His merits, we can draw near to the throne of God and ascend the hill of the Lord.
He who has clean hands and a pure heart who does not lift up his soul to what is false. The picture is a heart that is lifted up to God alone, God alone on the throne of our heart, God alone at the center of our soul’s desires and thoughts and affections and adoration. He does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
Psalm 24:3–4 Calls for Hearts Focused on God
Again, you see there the outward and the inner. A heart or soul that has lifted up to God alone and then a mouth that brings honor to God alone. Who does not speak, swear deceitfully? There’s honesty and truthfulness and faithfulness and integrity flowing from this heart that is fixed on God. We read this and we think, “Who among us fits that description? Who among us has completely clean hands? Has a completely pure heart?”
Psalm 24:3–4 Speaks Against Idols
Like I’m out at this point. I’m assuming you’re out at this point. Like our hearts, our hands are not completely pure, are not completely clean. We, I think are all prone to lift up our souls to other gods, to idols, even to good things in our lives: people, things, dreams, aspirations that we desire more than we desire God. So that we elevate to a place that God alone deserves to be elevated to and we speak, we speak in ways that don’t bring honor to God.