I love the Psalms. They are a beautiful depiction of human emotion and experience. When you read them, you’ll see expressions of joy, excitement, anger, lament, praise, and the list goes on and on. “Come and Lift Your Head Up” is specifically derived from Psalm 24, and I love the call and response nature of this Psalm. Within it, we see four main movements: recognition, response, invitation, and praise.
First, recognition: David recognizes God as creator, sustainer, and the giver of life and all things. The Psalm begins with, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” It’s the recognition that God is the Master Creator, and creation is His masterpiece. But David doesn’t end there – recognition always prompts a response. So David asks the question, “who can ascend the hill of the Lord?” He responds, “the one with clean hands and a pure heart.” And what do they receive? “Blessing from the Lord and vindication from Yahweh.” David envisions a pure, holy, and set apart church. Also, to the Jewish imagination, he brings to mind the hill of Zion, where the temple was built, and this typified the church, both visible and invisible. When the people attended the temple, the holy place, their minds were set on heavenly things. Therefore, in this journey to the temple, we should be led to consider heavenly things ourselves.
The third movement in this Psalm is invitation. And with God, there is always an invitation. David continues with the temple language with these invites. “Lift your head up, O gates! Be lifted up, ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in!” Do we find ourselves ready to receive the King of Glory today? Are we making straight the path for the Lord? No longer is the temple our one sacred meeting space with Yahweh, but through Christ, we have become living temples that house the Holy Spirit of God and embody the Kingdom of God, here on earth. David prompts us, “Are you ready to receive?” He continues asking, “Who is this King of glory?” The kind of King who would stoop down to acquaint Himself with humanity; to show us the way, truth, and the life; and to come, seek, and save the lost. The answer is ready for us: it is Yahweh Himself. He is Jehovah, our righteousness, our all-sufficient Savior, if we give Him entrance and are willing to receive.
Lastly, we are invited to pause and praise twice in this Psalm. The word selah appears in 71 psalms, but only in two books in all of scripture, Psalm and Habakkuk. In Hebrew, the word selah mostly encompasses these meanings— “to praise,” “lift up,” or “pause.” When we consider all of the uses in the various psalms and three verses in Habakkuk, we see how selah could mean “to pause and praise.” Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3 inspires the reader to pause and praise God for His mercy, power, sustaining grace, and sufficiency. And this rings true throughout the psalms as well.
So, this is what I would like to do in this devotional time together. I would love to just read Psalm 24 over you. It’s only ten verses. If you’re in the car, maybe you’re in the middle of traffic, I’d like to ask you to take a moment and allow your car to be a holy space where the word of the Lord is read over you. If you’re at home, I’d like to invite you to stop multitasking for just a moment. Take a minute to be seated, feel your feet flat on the floor, and allow the word of the Lord to be read over you. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, we have a moment now to selah, to pause and praise the Lord for who He is, for what He’s done, and for what He will continue to do in our lives.