Psalm 24


Psalms 22-24 are Messianic Psalms. Psalm 22 focuses on the coming Saviour. Psalm 23 pictures the Saviour as a shepherd of the people.

Psalm 24 proclaims the sovereignty of the Saviour and it points to the victory of Jesus over death, Colossians 2:15 / Hebrews 2:14-15, and His resurrection and reign over all things from heaven, Daniel 7:13-14 / Philippians 2:8-11 / Revelation 5:11-14 / Revelation 17:14.

The historical background of this psalm may possibly be when the ark of the covenant was brought to Jerusalem, to the tent that David had prepared for it, 2 Samuel 6:1-15.


‘Of David. A psalm.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading here, simply tells us that this is a psalm of David.

‘The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Saviour. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.’ Psalm 24:1-6

David sets out by reminding us that if we want to worship, we must understand the One who we are worshipping. It is the Lord who created the earth and everything in it, Genesis 1:1-25, and it is the Lord who created mankind who live on His earth, Genesis 1:26-27.

It was God who created the seas, Job 38:6 / Genesis 1:9-10. God through Christ sustains all things through the word of His power, Hebrews 1:3. Therefore everything belongs to Him, Psalm 50:10-11.

The apostle Paul quotes these words twice in 1 Corinthians 10:26 and 1 Corinthians 10:28, to establish the principle that no food is in itself unclean, and that there is in fact nothing that actually belongs to the false gods the pagans made offerings to.

It is only those who are righteous, who can ascend His holy mountain and stand in His holy place, Psalm 1:5 / Psalm 15:1 / Romans 3:22. It is only those who have ‘clean hands’, that those who are righteous, can worship God, Job 17:9 / Psalm 15:2 / Psalm 26:10 / Isaiah 1:15 / Isaiah 59:3 / Acts 2:23.

Anyone who worships God knowing they are guilty of doing something they shouldn’t have done and still worship God are hypocrites and don’t have a ‘pure heart’. People will only have a ‘pure heart’ when they realise how much forgiveness and mercy God has given them and in return show them to others, Luke 7:36-50 / Luke 18:9-14.

David reminds us that we cannot worship God and yet at the same time trust in idols and swear by false gods, Exodus 20:7 / Psalm 25:1 / Psalm 115:4-8 / Isaiah 41:24 / Matthew 12:34 / 1 Corinthians 8:6 / 1 John 2:15-17, God wants us to worship Him in Spirit and truth, John 4:23-24.

David knows the terms and conditions of the covenant with God, if Israel obeys God, God will bless them, if they disobey God, He will punish them, Deuteronomy 27-28.

The blessings and vindication come from the Lord, and the only righteousness that this world ever achieved was that which was produced by Jesus Christ our Lord, Psalm 24:4 / Romans 3:10 / 1 John 1:6.

God seeks those who really want to know Him, totally depend upon Him and want to obtain His grace, Psalm 9:10 / Psalm 14:2 / Psalm 63:1 / Proverbs 8:17 / Matthew 6:33 / Matthew 7:7. God wants people to worship Him as Jacob did, Genesis 32:22-30 / Romans 9:6-8.

You may notice at the end of verse six, some translations have the word, ‘selah’, although no one really knows what this word means, it’s likely it means to pause. It’s a time to stop and reflect upon what has just been said.

We can almost imagine David pausing for a breath as he contemplates the awesomeness of God.

‘Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory.’ Psalm 24:7-10

In the historical setting, these verses relate to the time when the ark of the covenant was brought back to Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 6:1-15. Notice how the gates are personified, which means the city of Jerusalem, those who live there, should reverently receive the ark of God. The ark represented the presence of God, Exodus 25:17 / Exodus 25:20 / Exodus 25:22.

David says that the ‘Lord is mighty in battle’, which is a reference to the time when David brought the ark back to Jerusalem after defeating all his enemies, it was the Lord who made David victorious, Exodus 15:3.

These words are also prophetic, pointing to the time of Christ, they point to the time when Christ, the King, ascended into heaven after His death and resurrection, Acts 1:9-10 / Ephesians 1:20. The gate to heaven is now open, Revelation 3:20, and we can draw near to Him and He draws near to us, James 4:8.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, Matthew tells us that the city asked, ‘Who is this?’, Matthew 21:10. If they had known who He was, the response should have been, ‘The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory!’ Psalm 24:7-8 / Isaiah 1:9.

You may notice at the end of verse ten, that some translations have the word, ‘selah’, although no one really knows what this word means, it’s likely it means to pause. It’s a time to stop and reflect upon what has just been said.

We can almost imagine David pausing for a breath as he contemplates this King of glory stooping down to receive men and even to be received by men.


David spoke of a time when King Jesus would come and ascend to heaven, and John, in his revelation tells that Jesus declares that He is the One ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come,’ Revelation 1:8.

The Scriptures teach us over and over again that He will return, Matthew 24:30-31. The Lord will appear instantaneously, everywhere on the last day. Then the wicked will mourn and the faithful will be taken to be with the Lord for eternity. Luke 21:27 / Matthew 24:30-31 / Mark 13:26-27.

The question is, are we ready for His final coming? The Lord has not left us ‘in the dark’ that He will appear suddenly, without warning, 1 Thessalonians 5:2 / 2 Peter 3:10 / Revelation 16:15.

So, by always being prepared we will not be caught out, 1 Thessalonians 5:4. The Lord Jesus says, ‘I am definitely coming suddenly.’ Can we with confidence and with joy say, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus’? Revelation 22:20.

Go To Psalm 25


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"