Psalm 24 is one of my very favourite psalms. And what a triumphant conclusion! The King of Glory Himself is standing at the gates. I believe that David wrote this psalm to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem after it had been captured by the Philistines and then kept at Kiriath-Jearim for many years. (You can read the whole story in 1 Samuel 4:1-7:1 and 2 Samuel 6:1-23).
The Ark was the symbol of God’s presence. Of course, David knew that God was everywhere, but the arrival of the Ark at the city gates was the opportunity to proclaim His presence in ‘the place where Adonai your God will put His name’ (Deuteronomy 12:5, CJB). In that sense, God was coming home.
Scripture tells us that our bodies are ‘temples of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 6:19). Believers are ‘temples’ where God has ‘put His name’ (Revelation 3:12), just as He did in Jerusalem. He wants full access to every part of His temple.
The city gates of Jerusalem were there for defence. But David calls out for them to be flung open because something far better is coming: ‘the One who will be a wall of fire surrounding her; and … the glory within her’ (Zechariah 2:9). He is ‘strong and mighty’. He is ‘mighty in battle’. He is ‘the Lord Almighty’. He is ‘the King of Glory’. He will, if we let Him, be a ‘wall of fire’ around us and ‘the glory within us’.
So why are we sometimes so reluctant to let Him have full access to every part of our being? Why won’t we swing our defensive gates wide open to welcome Him? Fear? Guilt? Shame? Or maybe we find it hard to really trust Him when things get tough?
The gates are ‘ancient doors’. They’ve been there a long time. And they are to be ‘lifted up’. I get the picture of them being lifted right off their hinges. These barricades against God are to be dismantled, never to be shut again.
And this is the challenge, isn’t it? It’s to welcome the Living God into every last corner of my life, especially to invite Him into those corners that have been closed to Him for ages, knowing that when He’s taken up full residence in His temple, He will be ‘a wall of fire surrounding [me]; and the glory within [me]’.
Prayer: Living Lord Jesus, I’m sorry when I’ve excluded You from areas of my life. Please show me where I haven’t truly made You welcome and help me to get rid of everything that stands in Your way. Please come today and fill my life afresh. Amen.
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