Psalms 24–26: The King of Glory & His Goodness

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 9: Wednesday

Lift up your heads, O gates,
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Psalms 24:7 LSB

Wednesday’s Bible reading is Psalms 24–26. These psalms repeat some of David’s recur­ring themes: his understanding and praise of who God is in His sovereignty and glory as Creator, and in His personal care and help for His children, as well as David’s integrity, need for deliverance and pardon, and his trust in God’s compassion and love.

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?
Yahweh strong and mighty,
Yahweh mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift
yourselves up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is He, this King of glory?
Yahweh of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah.
Psalms 24:7–10 LSB

Psalm 24 is a triumphant psalm about the King of Glory: Yahweh the sovereign Creator; Yahweh strong and mighty, mighty in battle; Yahweh of hosts. M’Caw and Motyer write:

“The great occasion in David’s life when he brought the ark of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom to the recently captured city of the Jebusites was joyfully celebrated by several chants and psalms (2 Sa. 6; 1 Ch. 15:16–23). This psalm may well have been composed for this occasion, or possibly for one of its anniversaries. The psalm was greater than the occasion, and has generally been interpreted as prophetic of Christ’s ascension after victory over death and sin (see v. 8 and cf. Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14, 15) and of His ultimate sovereignty over all (see v. 10 and cf. Rev. 5:11–14; 17:14).”1

When you read the psalms, learn from David’s example as he honestly lays before God his infirmities. As you read also ask God to take away misunderstandings about Him and to enable you to know and to see Him as He is. I find Psalm 25 to be especially helpful to me in this.

Alec Motyer has some wonderful comments on Psalm 25, and I want to interweave his comments with his translation of Psalm 25:6–7, 8, 11, 16.2

“Alongside Psalm 24, Psalm 25 is profoundly comforting. Psalm 24:3–4 is the Old Testament counterpart of Hebrews 12:4. To take our stand in the presence of God, we must be holy as he is. It has always been so. (Lev. 19:2), and always will be so (Rev. 21:27). But, if we are thinking of parallels between Testaments, then the reference in Revelation 21:27 to the Lamb’s book of life is a blessed and comforting recollection of the balancing truths of Psalm 25. The holy God, who insists on his holiness as the standard, is also the forgiving God. This means that he always has other things in mind than just our sinfulness and unworthiness. According to 25:6–7, he can look back over our sin-stained past and forget what he has seen!”3

Remember your compassions, Yahweh,
and your committed loves,
for they are from of old.
The sins of my youth, and my rebellions
do not remember;
according to your committed love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, Yahweh.
Psalms 25:6–7 AM

Motyer has this note about the meaning of compassion and committed love [lovingkindness in many translations].

“‘Compassion’ is love in the heart of God: what he feels towards us; ‘committed love’ is love in the will of God: what he has decided and how he has obligated himself to us. Both words are plural: compassion always is plural; ‘committed love’ frequently so. Plural of amplitude, love in its fulness, divine commitment without reserve.”4

He goes on to say this about God’s compassions, committed loves, and goodness:

“But, compared with what he banishes from mind and memory, three things are permanent; ‘compassion’ (his ‘passionate’ love), his solemnly ‘committed love’, and his ‘goodness’. He never looks at us saving through these three windows’…”5

Good and upright is Yahweh;
therefore he teaches sinners in the way.
Psalms 25:8 AM

“…indeed, says the remarkable verse 8, it is actually because (‘therefore’) he is good and upright that he bothers with sinners so as to lead and teach us. How good is that! Using the great comprehensive word ‘holy’, we rightly tremble at the thought of standing before the holy God, and then, reading 25:8, we can say that it is because he is holy that he bothers!”6

Here are some of John Calvin’s thoughts on Psalm 25:8:

“God is good and upright, he stretches forth his hand to sinners to bring them back again into the way. To attribute to God an uprightness which he may exercise only towards the worthy and the meritorious, is a cold view of his character, and of little advantage to sinners, and yet the world commonly apprehends that God is good in no other sense. How comes it to pass that scarcely one in a hundred applies to himself the mercy of God, if it is not because men limit it to those who are worthy of it?

“Now, on the contrary, it is here said, that God gives proof of his uprightness when he shows to transgressors the way.7

I love that insight from Calvin and the way he takes the psalms and corrects our view of God.

Motyer goes on to say:

“Verse 11 puts the same truth in another way: it is ‘for his name’s sake’—that is to say, becaues he is what he is; because his ‘name’ is an accurate shorthand for his revealed nature, he pardons my iniquity, great as it is.”8

For Your name’s sake, Yahweh,
forgive my iniquity, for it is abundant!
Psalms 25:11 AM

“But look, too, at the matching truth in verse 16.”9

Turn to me and grant me your grace,
for I am on my own and downtrodden.
Psalms 25:16 AM

“In verse 11 we appeal to him on the ground of what he is; in verse 16 we can appeal to him on the ground of what we are, bereft and downtrodden. The recurring thought in Psalm 25 is its encouragement to ‘wait on the Lord’, bringing confidence (v. 3), concentrating on divine teaching (v. 5), summoning to holiness (v. 21).”10

The final psalm for today, Psalm 26, reflects the words of Psalm 1. Here David walks as a man who has learned the paths of God. Here is God work in him in answer to his prayer of Psalm 25 as his life bears the fruit of Psalm 25:4–5, 8–10, 12. Because he walks in integrity, he stands on level ground.

But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
Redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
In the congregations I shall bless Yahweh.
Psalms 26:11-12 LSB

Derek Kidner comments:

“These two verses give a rounded view of a godly man’s profession. Its first element is integrity, i.e., whole-heartedness …and here David shows his will to persist on this path, by his change of tenses from ‘I have walked’ (1) to ‘I (will) walk’ [inferred from 4, 5]…This is loyalty, not self-righteousness, since the second element is deep humility (11b) : a confession of inability to do without help (redeem me) and unfitness to claim it as of right (be gracious). The third element is assurance (12), for no-one pleads (11b) or trusts (1b), in vain.”11

Our God is the King of glory. He is also our God of compassions and committed loves. Because of His goodness He teaches us His ways that we might walk in integrity and stand on level ground.

For a brief overview of the structure and poetry of Psalms see my post, The Five Books of Psalms.
Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Featured photo: View from the Church of the Good Shepherd (Blick aus der Kirche zum Guten Hirten), Lake Tekapo, New Zealand: BgabelGFDL-1.2-or-laterGFDL-1.2-or-later.  (CC BY-SA 3.0). (CC BY-SA 2.5). (CC BY-SA 2.0). (CC BY-SA 1.0).
Church of the Good Shepherd Interior, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand: fightingdreamer. (CC BY-SA 2.0).
1Leslie S. M’Caw and J. T. Motyer, “Psalms,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1970) 466.
2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10Alec Motyer, Psalms By The Day: A New Devotional Translation (Christian Focus Publications Ltd, Ross-shire, Scotland, U.K. 2016) Verses tagged as AM are Alec Motyer’s translation on 64–65, 66, 64, 66, 66, 66, 66, 66.
7John Calvin, Heart Aflame: Daily Readings from Calvin on the Psalms (P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ: 1999) 90.
11Derek Kidner, Psalm 1–72 (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1973) 119–120.

I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.

Copyright ©2011–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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