The meaning of Psalm 24 is about the praiseworthiness of God and the exaltation of His attributes.
It is believed that David is the author of Psalm 24 and that he wrote it at the time of Israel bringing the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple.
“So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom, with rejoicing.” 1 Chronicles 15:25 NIV
As we see in the previous verse, there was great joy and fanfare as Israel drew closer to the presence of God. These emotions came from their recognition of the greatness of God.
What Is the Meaning of Psalm 24
According to Expositor’s Bible Commentary, this Psalm can be broken down into three sections.
- The Great King (24:1-2)
- The Hill of the Lord (24;3-6)
- The Divine Warrior (24:7-10)
The Great King
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” Psalm 24:1-2 NIV
Who owns the earth and everyone who lives in it? The Lord does. Why? He set the world in place, created land and set it upon the waters. Who else can lay claim? He is the Great King.
David is acknowledging God as creator to Israel and asking them to join in his exaltation. David loves the Lord and it gives him joy to praise Him.
The Hill of the Lord
“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob.” Psalm 24:3-6 NIV
God is high above everything, who is able to approach Him? Who truly is without sin?
This is where Jesus Christ enters. He is the only one that can approach God the Father. As we put our trust in Jesus Christ, we join Him and can now approach God. We are vindicated by God our Savior.
The Divine Warrior
“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 NIV
It’s not sure if the reference to “gates” is a literal translation or if it is talking about the people of Israel raising their hands in praise. Either way, both are raised for the glory of the Lord.
The Lord’s power and strength are emphasized. He is the only one who can defend His children and is the Divine Warrior.
What Can We Learn From Psalm 24?
- Who is the Creator?
- Who can approach God?
- Who is our protector?
- Who is our focus?
Who is Our Creator?
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 NIV
That’s simple. Or is it? It is to those of us that believe God’s Word. There are even some professing Christians who believe in a different creation story flavored by evolution.
God’s Word does not stutter. He does not mention anything about men coming from monkeys or a big bang creating everything.
His Word is firm, He is the Creator. This is our answer as Christians.
Who Can Approach God?
If someone is truly seeking God, He makes Himself available. But the way to approach Him is through His Son, Jesus Christ.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6 NIV
We cannot enter the presence of God through our own goodness. Even the priests had to atone by sacrifice for the sin of the people. This represented Christ’s work on the cross and was not by anything they could do.
It is wonderful to know we don’t have to depend on our own goodness. Scripture tells us what our good works are.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6 NIV
Who is Our Protector?
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:1-4 NIV
Psalm 24 talks in the later part of the chapter about the strength of God. We think and talk about His strength but when we are overcome with trials, we forget where our strength lies.
The same God who created the universe and presented us with a Savior is our protector. He is waiting to hear from us.
Who is Our Focus?
The verses of Psalm 24 are to bring focus on the God of the universe. We are to meditate on who God really is.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV
Who is God in our life? Does He take center stage?
In Matthew 6:24, we are asked who do we serve? Words are not minced here. We either love the one or HATE the other. How important is this to God?
Psalm 24 Concluding Thoughts
Psalm 24 was a song written by David and set to music. It was a joyous occasion of a man who truly loved and honored God.
If David was overwhelmed by the presence of God in the ark of the covenant, how much more should we be having the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to strengthen and teach us.
The psalm is written for a praiseworthy God and talks of His glory, creativeness, and protection. It points us to worship Him in purity and love.
- Summary of the Book of Psalms
- Humble Yourself Before the Lord
- How to Use the Inductive Bible Study Method
- Parable of the Soils
Meet the Author
Jackie writes at From Loss to Hope by God’s Word where she seeks to encourage women who are going through tough times to find hope and strength in Jesus.