Most people are familiar with the 23rd Psalm. It is probably one of the more famous passages of the Bible. Yet, the psalms that are found on both sides of Psalm 23 are equally remarkable and precious. Psalm 22 begins with the words of anguish. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Of course, those words were the words that were spoken by the Lord when he hung on the cross. Psalm 22 was both a song and a descriptive prophecy of what the Lord would suffer on the cross. Not only his suffering, the psalm also told of his victory over death. Yes, Psalm 22 was, and is, as remarkable as the 23rd Psalm.
In it’s own way. Psalm 24 can also be considered a pearl of great price. Tradition states that this psalm was sung by the Levite priests as they moved the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed-Bdom into Jerusalem. The last four verses almost paint a picture of the Ark passing through the gates of the city. Tradition states that Psalm 24 was read in the temple services on the first day (Sunday) of the week.
The first two verses center upon the glory of God as the Creator. Everything belongs to the Lord. Often, in the press of day-to-day activities and problems, people forget the fact that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it…” Too often, such phrases as, “My life”, “My time”, or “My possessions” are used. Yet, all people are merely stewards of what they possess. The world and the resources of the world are the Lord’s.
Christians should be very aware of God’s ownership. The world and the resources of the world are the Lord’s. While they are provided for the use of mankind, they are not to be abused, contaminated, or wastefully used. In a way, Christians should be “environmentally friendly”.
On a personal basis, people, who are joined to Christ, have made the commitment to let the Lord be in control. Christians are to pattern their lives after the example given by the Lord. In His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ was in full subjection to the Father. That is the ideal, the goal that all Christians must strive to achieve. “Let go and let God” is a phrase that pictures something of the surrender that each child of God is to make.
When a person becomes a Christian, the commitment to the Lord is usually honest and sincere; but soon the worldly, or fleshly, nature begins to struggle against the direction of God. “I want to do it”, is the call of the flesh. Too often, that call becomes almost overpowering. That’s why Psalm 24 can be so important. In Jesus’ parable of the Sower, what choked out the word? “The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18). A life that is surrendered to the Lord will avoid these temptations.
Verses 3-6 deal with the question, “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?” Well, who IS worthy to approach God? When man’s actions are compared with the glory and perfection of God, the response may be like Peter’s when he saw the hand of God in Jesus’ miracle, “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” When any person honestly compares his life to the requirements of God, the answer to the question would have to be, “No one is worthy is ascend the hill of the Lord”.
But today, thanks be to God that his love has been shown In Jesus Christ. In Him, every Christian can boldly approach the throne of grace with clean hands and a pure heart. When a person obeys the Gospel and in buried in baptism, then that person’s sins are forgiven. The sacrifice and righteousness of Jesus Christ has paid the price.
The last four verses are words of exaltation to God. There are some many places in the Bible where the writer seems to be overwhelmed with the realization of God’s power and majesty. Yet, it is so tempting to just skip over that. “Yes, yes, that’s nice. But, let’s get to the important part.”
But when a Christian truly begins to realize the magnificence of God, the automatic result should be praise, thankfulness, gratitude, and so much more. In Christ, there is salvation! Through Christ, there is the hope, the offer, the opportunity to be joined to God for eternity. What greater gift can we receive? What greater gift can we give to a son, a daughter, a grand-son, a grand-daughter, a family member, a neighbor than the message of hope found in Jesus Christ? Indeed, a Pearl of Great Price!