“Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah.”
One of the greatest things we can do when we are stressed, anxious, sad, mourning, or just facing a challenging season is to meditate on who exactly our God is. His character, attributes, works, and his work in history with his people ground our confidence and joy as we live as strangers and aliens in this world.
And one of the best places to turn to in the Bible to meditate on God’s character is the book of the Psalms. Whether it is a lament, a song of thanksgiving, praise, or a prayer, the psalms are anchored in who God is and what he has done. Psalm 24 is a great example of this two-fold focus. In this celebratory psalm, possibly written by David when the ark of the covenant was being brought into Jerusalem (2 Sam 6), David extols the greatness of God and praises four wonderful truths about God that we can meditate on:
1. He is a Sovereign Lord (vv. 1-2): “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” The good, the bad and the ugly; God is sovereign over all of it. How comforting a thought, that all things belong to Him who is faithful, righteous, and good. When we are going through a challenging season, we need to be reminded that what is happening to us or around us is not occurring randomly or without purpose. God has ordained the events in our lives for a purpose and for our good (Rom 8:28).
2. He has a People with Definable Characteristics (vv. 3-6): David asks, “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?” (v. 3). In other words, who are those who will and can dwell with God? Who are the citizens of his holy kingdom who receive blessing and righteousness?
First, they are not his people because of these characteristics. Rather, they have these characteristics because they are his people. They have been transformed by his grace through Christ and become more defined by these traits as they seek his face. They are people with clean hands, pure hearts, whose souls are not lifted up to what is false, and who avoid making empty promises. Inwardly and outwardly they reflect a life that has been redeemed from the bondage to sin. As we meditate on who we are in Christ, that we are God’s people and that he is molding us into the very image of his Son, we are encouraged by the loving hand of God working in our lives and instructed on how we should be facing our problems.
3. He is a Mighty God (vv. 7-8): “Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!” In the latter portion of the psalm, David is painting a picture of a watchman on the wall of the royal city who sees in the distance his king with his armies returning after a battle. Upon seeing his king, he shouts to the doorman to open the gates so that the king can enter his city and sit on his throne. To this shout the doorman asks, “Who is this King of glory?” And the response, “He is the Lord, strong and mighty! Mighty in battle! Our God is not a weak king who rules ineffectually. He has a strong arm, a powerful right hand, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power (Ps 89:13; Heb 1:3). Our popular culture presents Satan and evil as powerful forces throughout the world, yet those things and beings pose no threat to the Lord who, “is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God” (Deut 10:17). No evil deed, no cosmic force of malevolence, not even Satan himself can halt or stop His will, let alone harm him, which brings us to our last thought to meditate on.
4. He is a Victorious King (vv. 9-10): “Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah.” David doesn’t paint a picture here of a defeated king returning to his city with his tail tucked between his legs. He is a glorious, victorious King returning to his city triumphantly after decisively defeating his enemies. The Lord of hosts enters into his city followed by his victorious army. This is a picture of the victory of Christ after he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where he sat down in victory on His throne at the right hand of God when God the Father “highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11). What a thought to meditate on: God has already won the victory through Christ, and through him we also are more than conquerors and are sure “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39). Who is this King of Glory? Jesus Christ our Lord.