MIDWEEK ADVENT I – DEC. 4, 2013
TEXT: PSALM 24
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


PSALM 24 - A beautiful Old Testament Advent hymn.  It honors the Lord who will come to His temple.  The prophet Malachi wrote – “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.  And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple… In this season we are alert to the voice of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Advent of Christ in the flesh – the One who proclaimed His body to be the very temple of God.


Psalm 24 is described as a Psalm of procession – a liturgical psalm perhaps sung as ascent was made to the tabernacle and later to the temple.  Some see its composition for the return of the Ark of the Covenant to the tabernacle after the Philistines had captured it (2 Samuel 6:12-15).  But would Almighty God locate Himself to be worshipped is such space and place as tabernacle and temple?


The God confessed in this Psalm is not a fabricated idol at a distance – who lets things happen by accident.  The earth is the LORD’s (that is Yahweh’s) and the fullness thereof (all that fills it), the world and those who dwell therein (this includes us – we are not autonomous, free-standing entities).  The earth is the LORD’s – not ours – who are so little our own masters and yet easily consider ourselves Lords over so much.  On the third day of creation Yahweh separated the dry land from the sea.  On the 6th day He created man as the crown of His handiwork.  The earth is the LORD’s…and those who dwell therein.  Yet He who is High and lifted up – He who is holy – located His presence in a holy place.













MIDWEEK ADVENT I – DEC. 4, 2013
TEXT: PSALM 24
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


PSALM 24 - A beautiful Old Testament Advent hymn.  It honors the Lord who will come to His temple.  The prophet Malachi wrote – “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.  And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple… In this season we are alert to the voice of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Advent of Christ in the flesh – the One who proclaimed His body to be the very temple of God.


Psalm 24 is described as a Psalm of procession – a liturgical psalm perhaps sung as ascent was made to the tabernacle and later to the temple.  Some see its composition for the return of the Ark of the Covenant to the tabernacle after the Philistines had captured it (2 Samuel 6:12-15).  But would Almighty God locate Himself to be worshipped is such space and place as tabernacle and temple?


The God confessed in this Psalm is not a fabricated idol at a distance – who lets things happen by accident.  The earth is the LORD’s (that is Yahweh’s) and the fullness thereof (all that fills it), the world and those who dwell therein (this includes us – we are not autonomous, free-standing entities).  The earth is the LORD’s – not ours – who are so little our own masters and yet easily consider ourselves Lords over so much.  On the third day of creation Yahweh separated the dry land from the sea.  On the 6th day He created man as the crown of His handiwork.  The earth is the LORD’s…and those who dwell therein.  Yet He who is High and lifted up – He who is holy – located His presence in a holy place.


Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?  And who shall stand in his holy place?  The requirements to approach and remain in God’s presence are both external (He who has clean hands) and internal.  (and a pure heart), who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  Total purity is needed to enter and to stand in His holy place.  The life of one who does so cannot be lifted up or dedicated to worshiping that which is false.


He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.  Notice that this blessing – this righteousness - is received – not taken – not earned.  This is blessing based on mercy.  This is righteousness based upon the God of salvation – not the goal of self-righteousness of any kind.  Indeed, this is the name by which he will be called – The Lord is our righteousness.  Those who seek the God of salvation seek the face of the God of Jacob.  They look for and inquire after Him who has already sought them and given them first place – His place - even as He gave the inheritance to Jacob who was born last.  Unbelievers do not seek Him.  Those who receive blessing and righteousness from Him do seek Him – through the hearing of His Word and calling on Him in prayer.


Lift up your heads, O gates!  And be lifted up, O 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!  The exhortation and the question intensify as they come again.  Lift up your heads, O gates!  And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is this King of glory?  The LORD mighty in battle was the first reply.  The second reply reveals the reason for His might in battle.  The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!


Three times “the LORD” rings out in answer to the question Who is this King of glory?  But then the LORD of creation is three in one.  This King of glory is the LORD of hosts – the LORD of angel armies – the LORD of “Sabaoth” as we sing in the Sanctus.  If it is this glorious King that is ascending to stand in the holy place then why the repeated question – Who is this King of glory? 


It is because no human being had ever passed through the heavenly gates.  It is because God the Son had located His presence in the human flesh to Advent among us – to come among us dying sinners.  It is because as true man His appearance was without glory or honor.  There is gracious and astounding substance behind the question, Who is this King of glory? 


As worshippers journeyed to the tabernacle and approached Jerusalem’s gates they might call for them to be opened.  But here the gates themselves are personified!  Here the heavenly gates themselves are called upon to lift up their heads – to enlarge themselves to welcome this king.  Who is this King of glory?  The LORD…mighty in battle.  It was a battle with death to the death.  This King conquered death by dying!  His Advent in the flesh took the LORD of hosts down to hell and the grave.  But His might in battle shone forth even there.  He burst the bonds of death and now the battle’s outcome is decided!  The victory remains with life!  Now man is taken up into heaven. Now the way lies open from earth to heaven.  Who is this King of glory?  The LORD of hosts (of Sabaoth – of angel armies) He is the King of glory – and He has swept the field. 


His heavenly glorification is not an afterthought to our redemption.  His heavenly glorification is an essential component of the very sacrifice of the cross.  What is recorded here is fundamental to our LORD’s Priesthood and His intercession for us.  But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come…he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption…For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf (Hebrews 9:11, 12, 24).


Who is this King of glory?  The man whose glory was His sacrificial death on Calvary!  He is the Lamb who opens and no one shuts (Revelation 3:8).  Man is now taken up to heaven and stands in the holy place.  He has clean hands and a pure heart.  He does not speak deceitfully.  All that He has won and received – He has spoken to you – giving you clean hands and a pure heart – washing you with water and His word - and carrying you with Him into the holy place.  “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men” (Ephesians 4:8).


Now is the season of Advent – you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep.  For salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  Now is the season of Advent – of remembering and rejoicing in His first coming and the gifts He came to win.  Now is the season of Advent – of receiving the blessing and righteousness the King of glory continues to bring where He has promised.  Now is the season of Advent – of joyful repentance in anticipation of His coming again in glory.  So then, let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.


Lift up your heads, O gates!  And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  The Church Father Jerome said that the thief on the cross was the first to pass through these heavenly gates with the LORD – noting also Peter and Paul and the apostles and martyrs.  Indeed all the faithful who receive His blessing and righteousness so enter with the King.


Who is this King of glory?  The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle!  Lift up your head, O gates!  And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Perhaps the Psalmist’s cry reflects well the Advet cry of Isaiah – “Prepare ye the way of the LORD.”  Beloved - if gates are personified and exhorted to be in joyful, uplifted, readiness for His coming – how much more should we rejoice in the Advent of our King - the Lord of hosts!  In His Name,  AMEN.

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