Psalm 24: 3-6
"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. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob."
At first these verses hearken back to when the Israelites had to stay back from the mountain while Moses was up with God. Moses returned to find the people with dirty hands and impure hearts for they had created an idol and were worshiping it. God knew the people would mess up and not be in the right place to stand in His holy place.
After remembering this historical perspective, then I turn to myself. Can I ascend? Can I stand in His holy place?
The qualifications are given for the one who might ascend and stand.
First, the one with clean hands. Does this mean literally washing my hands to be accepted? No. I believe this is a reference to what I have done. Have I soiled my hands by doing things contrary to God's instructions? I must do those things God wants me to do and stay away from doing the things He tells me not to do. Such things come to mind as taking care of people around me but refraining from gaining for success only.
Next, a pure heart is needed. This becomes even more difficult, for now I have to examine my thoughts and motives, not just my actions. Have I held ill will against another? Do I harbor bitterness or envy? These will keep me from standing in His holy place because God knows. Others may only be able to see what my hands do or do not do. But God sees my true motives.
Then, I mustn't trust in an idol. Some take this literally and exclaim readily that they are okay in this area. But what about the idols of career or even family or friends we hold in higher regard than God. An idol is anything that becomes more important than God. This takes careful examination.
Also I can't give any credence to any other person or thing that might take the place of the One True God.
Thus if I can have clean hands and a pure heart and a total loyalty to God, I can stand in His holy place and ascend His mountain. This makes me think about worship. When was the last time I just entered worship without considering if I was actually prepared? Whew. I won't start confessing here. But I am guilty of just approaching Him without examining my readiness.
When I do come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart, I will receive His blessings. I like the sound of that. And to add to that - Notice it says that such is the generation who seeks the Lord. Let's face it. If I am practicing getting clean and pure before worshiping my Lord, I will in turn lead my family to do the same. This will bring blessing upon my family - this generation.
Lord, help me to approach you with clean hands and a pure heart, leading those I have influence over to do the same. And let your blessings encourage me to continue to prepare when I worship You.