05: 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. Psalm 24:3-4
I have been reading this verse a lot recently, well to be honest the whole Psalm. I love not only the format of this Psalm and it’s question and answer bit at the end, but that it makes me think about the reverence of God.
I think ‘reverence’ or fear of God is something that is documented well in the bible and for me personally it isn’t something I really grew up understanding as a Christian.
Often the idea of us ‘fearing’ God can sort of translate in a weird way as this father figure in heaven who wags his finger at our sin and is disappointed in us. ‘Tut tut you sinner, you’re back again’ …and so on.
But that doesn’t fit when you also have this picture of God welcoming us into his presence as Abba father! Compare this then to my relationship with my children, it’s the best reference point I have and perhaps you can resonate with it.
It’s like me letting my kids call me daddy and me being willing to make supreme sacrifices for them because I love them so much, but then in an instant the wagging finger comes out and they suddenly feel condemned in my presence. ‘You shall fear me!’ Doesn’t seem to work does it.
For me then it is better captured in the life of someone like Elijah. When he came out of his cave in 1 Kings, the presence of God was there. Elijah covered his face as he felt just a fraction of the sheer magnitude and awe of God’s presence. If he had seen more of Gods face and splendour it would have dissolved him where he stood! But, the key thing for me here is that Elijah, face covered, had a pinnacle moment here, not a feeling of condemnation and shame but of repurposing and reenergising in the awe and reverence of God.
So then, who can ascend the mountain of God? Well, we can. The mountain top experience with God will change us. When our lives come into connection with even a sliver of his holiness we are changed, but he does welcome us. How? Because Jesus has opened the way, only then can we climb that mountain, only then can we be in that place. We stand with clean hands and heart because the life and blood of Jesus has put the record straight, and opened a way for us. I don’t know about you but that fills me with awe and reverence, fear even, but I also feel bold to approach. Thank you Jesus!
Image Credit: Ben White