The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.
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.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

Psalm 24 NKJV

This is such a beautiful Psalm, and one that I believe is key for us to tune into right now as we ready ourselves for the King of glory to come as He says He will.

I love that the Psalm asks “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?” (v. 3). It reminds me of how God descended on Mount Sinai in the midst of Israel in Exodus 19:16-20. He came with such power and mighty displays of His presence that the people trembled.

And then God invited Moses up to join Him.

What an invitation! To go up to meet God and stand in His holy presence.

Oh to have been there in that moment!

Isn’t it interesting, though, that meeting God requires us to go up, to ascend, to where He is. It requires us to leave our position and go to meet Him. (Mind you, He did come down from Heaven to rest on the mountain, so our journey up the mountain to meet Him is quite small in comparison).

Psalm 24 continues by saying the one who can ascend the hill of the LORD and stand in His holy presence is the one who “has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully” (v. 4).

We are not automatically granted access to His presence; we must prepare ourselves for it. Don’t get me wrong, the cross makes it so easy for us to come to God, but even in that it requires us to leave sin behind.

I am a big believer in continual repentance. Let me explain. I do not believe you need to be saved continually – I believe that once you have given your life to Jesus, you are His and you do not need to do that again. What I mean by continual repentance is a continual turning towards God as we learn to put away our worldly habits and live according to His ways.

When we become saved we commit our lives to Jesus and make a decision to live as He lives. This sounds easy but as we try to live according to His Kingdom principles, we find ourselves coming up against our old worldly ways. We might get angry and say a few colourful words. We might share a juicy bit of gossip. We might keep having a few more drinks than we should or watching things we know we shouldn’t. We might give snide remarks to that colleague we don’t really like. We might look a little too much at someone for the wrong reasons. We might, like it says in Psalm 24, make idols out of things, whether it be people, ourselves, food etc or we might make empty promises for our own gain. There are many more examples but you get my gist.

Because it’s so easy to do these things, I believe we need to continually be reminded that this is not God’s way and to repent.

The Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible shows that in Hebrew, the word “repent” (“nacham”, Strong’s Hebrew 5162) means to turn away from one thing and turn towards another. In fact, a greater emphasis is put on the turning towards something, usually a positive, a better action.

So, to repent means to change your course of action from one direction to a better direction. For example, I may have some negative comments about someone I really want to share with my friend, but in the moment I want to share it Ephesians 4:29 comes to mind:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV

This verse convicts me not only to not share the negative words, but to speak uplifting words. So I repent (turn away from the negative) and make the choice to say something good about that person instead (turn towards the positive).

I did not only stop in my tracks by not saying the bad things, but I changed course to now say good things.

This sort of thing happens multiple times a day for me, where I am reminded by the Holy Spirit to repent from the direction I am going in and to step back onto His path of life. (I will confess, though, that there are days when I am more attuned to Him than others). And not only does He convict me of the error in my ways, He shows me the steps I need to take to get back onto His path. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that with every temptation God will show us a way of escape so we may be able to bear it. That is true. Just as I was writing the (simple) example about repenting from saying bad things above, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the verse in Ephesians 4:29.

If He does this in examples, He will surely do this in real life.

This is part of our going up to meet Him. We step, or turn, away from our worldly ways and step towards Him. It requires a conscious effort that’s made much more bearable as we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

I believe that now, as we prepare ourselves to meet God in a new way, it is especially crucial for us to tune into the Holy Spirit and hear what He says about our ways and habits so we can turn from them to His ways.

Let us be a generation like Jacob, who, as described in Psalm 24, is a generation who seeks Him, who seeks His face (Psalm 24:6).

As we seek His face, as we turn to look at Him, as we repent, we turn away from the things of this world and fix our eyes upon Jesus.

The old hymn, The Heavenly Vision by Helen Howarth Lemmel, is so fitting for this:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things on earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Let us turn our eyes upon Jesus, for in doing so, we prepare ourselves to meet God. We make room for the King of Glory to come in, and we ready ourselves to ascend His holy mountain when He calls.

Cover photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

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