“He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:4)
This verse is the answer to two vital questions asked by the psalmist. “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord and who shall stand in his holy place? Basically, these questions are about who can live or abide in the presence of God. We know that God is choosy about who He keeps company with and not everyone can be in His presence. The psalmist is not granting us a wholesale answer but is trying to show the nature of those who can stand with God in His holy place.
There are four parts to his answer. The first is the person must have clean hands. There are a lot of ways one can get metaphorical dirty hands, and none of them are good. People often declare their innocence by saying, “My hands are clean.” Hands that do evil and participate in injustice are dirty hands, and those who do such things are not going to be on the hill with God.
The second is the person must have a pure heart. Pure hearts are an internal result of faithfulness to God, and impure hearts are the internal result of evil thinking. To be in the presence of God in the Holy place requires a renewed heart. Those who want to be there with God must allow Him to change their hearts. Man on his own thinks evil continually, but man with the Holy Spirit living in him has a new heart, a pure heart.
The third is the person who knows truth in his life. The most important truth he must know is who is God. When one lifts their soul to what is false, they are giving themselves to some form of idolatry. You cannot be on God’s Holy hill standing with Him in the Holy place and give any allegiance to any other form of god. It’s all God or not God.
The fourth is the person who speaks and does truth. God hates those who lie and those who bear false testimony. When you consider that God is the fullness of truthfulness and never speaks untruth, it is easy to understand why He feels as He does about falsehood in life and in speech. James reminds us that the tongue is tough to control which is why we need the Holy Spirit guiding us.
Task for Today: Examine your heart as it may tell you about your hands. Your heart will also provide a clue to what is important in your life. The heart knows all about who or what we worship and whether God is our Lord. The heart knows the truth about us and if we are deceitful or not. If you communicate with the Holy Spirit today, He will tell you about your heart. Come to God with clean hands, pure heart, make Him Lord and let Him guide you.