Who is this King of Glory?

ps-24

photo by sixsteps

Of David. A psalm. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.Selah Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.Selah” (Psalm 24, NIV)

I loved reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy and enjoyed it even more when leavingtheshireable to see the movies.  As I read this Psalm this morning I flashed back to them and the mixed emotions of the hobbits in the midst of the battle.  They longed for the comfort and security of their ‘shire’.  Within the shire they were free from worries with a sort of childlike innocence, unaware of the impending conflict around them.  As followers of Christ, we have a similar desire.  God has brought us close to Him through Christ.  Formerly, we did not have clean hands nor pure hearts and we were literally at war with God, seeking after many idols and making idols of ourselves.  But through Christ’s sacrifice, we were washed clean, purified, and brought close to dwell with the One true living God.  Our desire is to simply stay with Him on His mountain, experiencing again that childlike innocence free from worry – and He does provide that.  But there is much more to following.

Psalm 24 also speaks of this King of Glory, the one that lifts our heads, as being mighty in battle, yes mighty in battle.  It speaks of Ancient Gates being lifted up.  I first think of the gates of my own heart allowing Christ’s love to come in to dwell and save me.  But I think it is as much a call to go out into the field of battle with Him.

I have wrestled with this tension between the two greatly.  Especially as I write these posts.  Even within my own soul I feel this dual reality happening.  I see so much darkness on the horizon for our nation and I truly expect increasing antagonism and real persecution in the future for those who stand up and follow Christ.  At the same time, I feel tremendous excitement and encouragement by what I sense God doing within my heart and what I therefore anticipate Him doing within His church.

Just as those hobbits were faced with unpleasant circumstance, so they chose to go out into the battle rather than retreat to the shire.  They could not fully comprehend the difficulties they would face, but realized that they and many others would lose all if they did not risk all.  In the end of course, they completed their perilous journey victoriously.

Some preachers would tell proclaim peace and safety, that the church needn’t worry about such trials and tribulations, and that we’ll be out of here before the real battle.  That would be great!  But, I’m not one of them.  No, the hope that seems quite clear in the Scriptures, is not that we will be spared tribulation, but that we will be sustained through tribulation and on the other side emerge victorious alongside our Mighty King of Glory.

To those who have not yet trusted in Christ, it is time to open the gates and let Him come into your heart – that He might cleanse you and bring you to His holy mountain.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

For those who know Him and have seen Him on His holy mountain, it is time to follow Him down the mountain.  It is time to storm the gates of hell, following our Mighty King of Glory, into the battle to set the captives free reclaiming them for our King.

Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.

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