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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Integrity Leads to Thanksgiving

Psalm 24 is a beautiful hymn of praise that can help prepare our hearts for meaningful national day of Thanksgiving. This psalm of David falls neatly into two parts, both “bookended” with a direction to pause, think about what is being said.

Verses 1-6 form the first section where we come spiraling in from the outer reaches of space, viewing the earth, the world, its seas and rivers. Then we zoom in on one hill among all hills, and one place out of all places. Interestingly, this place is unlike any other because it is called “His holy place.” Though we realize he is speaking of the “Holy of Holies” within The Temple, the most interesting feature is that God is not limited to this one place as it is located on the earth which just so happens to belong to the LORD. The world and all who dwell in it belong to Him as well. He created the earth it’s seas and hills, yet we ask, “who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?” We may as well ask, “What right do I have to be on this planet?”

God wants us to be here and He makes Himself accessible to all who have integrity. Integrity is not “the glue that holds everything together” or “completeness” for that matter. Integrity is cleanliness. Integrity is what we receive from the LORD when we go to Him and admit we are not clean (vv-5-6). When He makes us clean, we answer the question “who shall ascend the hill of the God?” with “I can!” Think about that.

Have you ever been in a large chamber or a cave or perhaps stood on a cliff against a mountain face? One feature of such an arrangement is the echo. This is the picture I get when I consider the next set of verses (7-10). As if we have ascended the hill and stand in His chamber we hear an echo, “lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the king of glory?” This echo has another echo as the King of glory is identified: He is the LORD of hosts, strong and mighty in battle.

What do integrity and an echo have to do with Thanksgiving? Simply this: you and I cannot be in God’s presence unless He first extends and we receive His integrity. He extends Himself in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty for our sin and rose again three days later. When we by faith seek after Him and have His righteousness applied to us, we are blessed to receive access to the throne room of God. Think about that and give thanks!

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