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Psalms of the Sons of Korah (Gatekeepers) 15 and 24 (why David wants the Temple)

I am attempting to read through the Bible chronologically and am in the Old Testament in I Chronicles. David has collected the materials and local for Solomon to build the Temple of God and now he is organizing the Temple workers, the Levites. He breaks those into four groups, the priests, the musicians, the gatekeepers, and the officials.

I have already written posts on how the Levites were organized, and specifically about the priest, musicians, and gatekeepers. The NIV Chronological Bible now includes several Psalms that are either noted as by the Sons of Korah (one of two "gatekeeper" families) or about requirements for entry into the Temple.

Psalm 15

A Psalm of David

This Psalm asks ho would be able to live in God's tent or His Holy mountain. Then goes on to describe a person who is blameless, righteous, and seemingly perfect. Truthful, does right, does not do wrong. Loves right; despises wrong.

Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

Psalm 15:5b

While this is how we are supposed to live; even with this short list, I imagine only Jesus qualifies. Which makes sense since it says that they will not be shaken. It is the goal though. We're told this is the requirement to dwell in His Tent.

Psalm 15 Wiersbe Commentary

Wiersbe has a couple of additional observations.

  • He writes that it is a description of one who has faith in the Savior, not a prescription of how to live. In other words, these traits show up because of the work the Holy Spirit is doing inside if a believer; not of our own strength of character.
  • Wiersbe organizes these traits into three categories:
    • Seeking God's presence: He uses v 1 for evidence. I think wanting to be in God's presence is a logical requirement; but can't totally see if this is what he means. David hasn't started the list of requirements yet; so it's a bit of a stretch for me.
    • Obeying God's precepts: v. 3-5. Obedience through our character, behavior, and words. Blameless doesn't mean sinless.
    • Trusting God's promise: v. 5. Wiersbe counts this as a requirement. I see it as a promised result. If you have the character, behavior, and speech from the Lord- nothing is going to shake your firm foundation. You can only be that kind of person in the Lord; so you do have that foundation and need not fear.

Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

Psalm 15: 5

Wiersbe references the author of Hebrews making a similar point in Hebrews 12:

26. And His voice shook the earth them but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven."

27. And this expression, 'yet once more', denotes the removing of those things that can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things that cannot be shaken may remain.

28. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

29. for our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12: 26-29

How powerful an image of our mighty God. Amen.

Psalm 24

Of David. A Psalm.

David establishes that the whole world belongs to God. He made it. It's His.

Then David asks who ascend God's mountain or stand in His holy place. Like Psalm 15, setting the requirements to be with God, such as Moses on the mountain top or with God in His designated place in the tabernacle in the Temple David hopes to help build for Him.

David provides the answer: "The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god."

That's interesting. The sentence starts off similar to Psalm 15. I assumed we were starting another list of behaviors the candidate to enter should display. And it does do that; but only two-- No idols; no false gods.

In avoiding idols and avoiding false gods, which we can only do with His help, we keep our focus on Him--which makes the clean hands and pure heart an option.

Then in verse 5, David announces the reward for the clean hands and pure heart- blessing and vindication from the Lord.

Verses 7-10 feel almost like another Psalm. It reads like a song; whereas the first part felt more like a proverb. David cries for the gates/ancient doors be lifted up so the King of Glory could come in.

To me, when I read those verses I truly understand David's obsessive passion for building the Temple. He knew the stories of old of God's physical presence among His people. This had been missing since the people went their own way and "did what was right in their own eyes".

David had seen God's miracles time and again. He knew God in a unique way; but in this Psalm I read about a man who wants to make a place for God's glory to rest again for the whole nation.

Wow. That's really cool.

I doubt that I ever would have seen that if I had read it in a vacuum in the Psalms.

Psalm 24 Wiersbe Commentary

Wiersbe writes:

  • Most commentaries believe he wrote this to celebrate the Ark's journey to Jerusalem.
  • It's an antiphonal psalm, meaning that there is a call an response from two groups or singers. One asking questions; one giving the response.
  • Some think this is referring to Jesus' Ascension and then the second is Jesus' return. (Jesus is the King of Glory)
  • The gate in Jerusalem opened out, not up. So Lift your heads; you gates...has a different meaning.
    • Wiersbe thinks, and says others agree, that it means- swing wide the doors- give a hearty welcome. This include evidence related to Jesus being rejected when He entered Jerusalem on Palm
    • But to me, Jerusalem was the City of David...he knew how the gates worked. and I don't know if he would call Jerusalem "ancient". They weren't the first ones there; but ancient seems like he referring to some other gates and doors entirely.
    • My NIV bible says the ancient doors refers to heaven. And this is also slightly supported by the Blue Letter Bible definition (4th of 4) for gates is heaven.
    • It could mean the temple?
  • Christians are of three worlds:
    • God's creation around us.
    • God's new creation within us
    • The World to come with Jesus' return.

Amen to that!

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