Monday, March 14, 2022

A Peculiar People (Psalm 24)

"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" (Psalm 24:3–4a).

Even though God is creator and ruler over all the earth, He has chosen for Himself a peculiar people, a people set apart to dwell in His presence and worship Him forever. Every inhabitant in the world is commanded to worship and praise the Lord of heaven, but only those God has elected out of the world have been equipped and enabled by His Spirit to obey His commands. Such were the children of Abraham who praised the Lord in Psalm 24. Here David describes the authority and glory of the Lord over all creation and His special blessings to those who obey Him and come into His presence with a pure heart.

Yet, even among the Jewish nation, which was chosen by God out of His grace and not because of any worthiness on the part of the Israelites, it is clear that many of them were not truly part of the family of God. Only those who had clean hands and pure hearts belonged to the Lord. God could have chosen any people to be His own, but He placed His favor on the Israelites, distinguishing them from all others with the mark of holiness. Those who ascend the hill of the Lord, who come into His temple with sincerity, who approach His sacred throne exhibit a life of holiness that springs from a pure heart.

David teaches us that the end and design of God’s election is the holiness of His people. He “exhorts the Jews to lead a holy and righteous life from this, that God had separated them from the rest of the world, to be His peculiar inheritance. The rest of mankind, it is true, seeing they were created by Him, belong to His empire; but he who occupies a place in the church is more nearly related to Him. All those, therefore, whom God receives into His flock He calls to holiness,” Calvin wrote. How true this is of believers in all ages. God did not choose us due to any righteousness inherent within us. Neither did He bring us out of the chaos of the world that we might continue in a wicked state. Rather, He gave us new hearts and new minds, that we might be conformed to His image and be holy even as He is holy. By His Spirit, who dwells in us, we are enabled to obey His commands and live a life worthy of the calling of our Savior Jesus Christ.

As you begin your week, make a list of your various goals. Is a life of holiness one of them? Is it the number one goal of your life? Read 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1. What does this passage say about how we should live? Strive to keep love and obedience to God as a top priority in your life.