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"Clean Hands And A Pure Heart"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Psalm 24 embodies the liturgy for Jehovah's entrance into the Temple. The first two verses are a quiet affirmation of faith, acknowledging God's universal dominion. The next four verses are a liturgy for those who come to worship in Jerusalem, the holy place. In them the need for purity is emphasized: the worshiper must be clean physically and spiritually, he must be humble, and honesty is required of him. Such a person will receive the blessing of the Lord. The serene faith in these lines echoes that in Psalm 23 and is a reflection of the same deep religious feeling. The liturgy ends with a verse stating that the people are spiritually ready to enter the temple. Here there is a gathering sense of anticipation, of a pause before the next act in this sacred drama. The last four verses fulfill that expectation; they celebrate the entrance of Jehovah, as symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant, into the Temple. It is carried in by a procession; members of the procession are singing praises to the Lord, who will be present in the Temple so long as the Ark remains there. This jubilant hymn is a demand that the gates of the Temple may be opened so that the Lord can enter. In accordance with custom, the demand is made twice; twice the identity of "this King of glory" is demanded in return; and twice there is the joyous reply that this King is none other than Jehovah. This brief hymn of four verses is one of the most majestic passages in Scripture; Handel drew upon it for some of the exalted portions of his Messiah, giving it music which, in dignity and grandeur, is worthy of it.

The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof;...

(The entire section is 465 words.)