A Psalm a Day: Psalm 24

For September 2022, I’m trying to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:

  • What is this Psalm about?
  • What does this Psalm teach about God?
  • How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?

I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.

psalm 24

On my younger daughter’s first birthday, here’s Psalm 24:

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 Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob.

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.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.


What is this Psalm about?

Psalm 24 is one of my personal favourites – balancing the interest and care of God in everything (v1-2) and the way he can be known by individuals (see v6, ‘the God of Jacob’). God is both a specific God for specific people, and the God of everything. The final four verses are a praise song blended with an almost catechesis-style pair of questions. Asking who this ‘King of Glory’ is, the Psalmist affirms that it is God, and that God is ‘string and mighty’, ‘mighty in battle’, and ‘the King of Glory’. So, ultimately, Psalm 24 is very much about God!

What does this Psalm teach about God?

The focus of this Psalm on God is clear – as creator and owner of all in v1-2, the saviour of his people v5, and very personally and specifically ‘the God of Jacob’ (v6). This last is a particular title for God, seen as early in the Old Testament as Genesis 50:24, and reminding us of God’s special care for his people and beautiful love for his people. The last four verses focus again on God, particularly the title ‘Lord’, and the title ‘the King of glory’. The focus is thus on God in both the largest possible and smallest possible spheres of influence – everything that exists and will exist, and individuals like Jacob.

How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?

We’ve already noted in our journey through the Psalms that they can offer a helpful corrective to a tendency to focus too much on God as King of everything (yet somehow aloof), or God as friend (yet somehow not all-powerful). Psalm 24 continues to remind us of both God’s special care for his people, and his creating and possession of the whole world. Different ‘seasons’, moods or phases of life will require us to focus on or remember different parts of these parallel truths.

A prayer from Psalm 24

Lord, you are the King of glory, and everything ultimately belongs to you. Give me clean hands and a pure heart, as I seek to be part of this generation that seeks your face, who will dwell with you. You are the King of glory, and I give you glory. Amen!

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