# 103 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 24. The universe looks as if it knew we were coming!

From a scene of “green pastures”, “quiet waters” and “valleys” in the previous psalm, we move now to “the mountain of the Lord” and a city with “gates” and “ancient doors” in Psalm 24. David, the shepherd boy tending his sheep in the pasturelands of Israel has become David, the King of Israel and has conquered Jerusalem where God, the “Shepherd” is now welcomed, acknowledged as Creator and referred to as “the Lord…the King of Glory…the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle…the Lord Almighty.”

Psalm 24

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 on the seas     and established it on the waters.

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.

Lift up your heads, 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, you gates;     lift them up, you ancient doors,     that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King of glory?     The Lord Almighty—     he is the King of glory.

Just as Psalm 23 had its context as mentioned above, so does Psalm 24. Many commentaries suggest that this psalm could have been written for the occasion when the victorious Israelite army was returning to Jerusalem after fighting against an enemy. “Thus, the psalm praises God the Warrior who has given his people victory over their enemy.” (Longman) More specifically, some suggest that the story of David bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6) could have been the context for this psalm.

Whatever the context it has lots to teach us even from the very first words:

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,     the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas     and established it on the waters.

As Longman says, “The psalmist begins with a hearty affirmation that everything animate and inanimate, belongs to the Lord. He owns everything and everyone, and everything and everyone are completely dependent on him…He has authority over all.”  (see references # 30)

As Genesis 1 says:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…vegetation…trees…sea creatures…birds…wild animals…livestock…man and woman.”

Then John in his Gospel adds:

“Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.” (1:3)

Having spent some time recently talking to a friend, who calls himself a “skeptic”, I realize that it takes quite a bit of “faith” on his part to “believe” what he says concerning the world around him and what life is (or isn’t) all about. Frankly, just believing in God as Creator, the  Giver and Sustainer of life is not as complex as some of the things my friend “believes”! And certainly, as we consider the peoples of the world around us, he is really in a small minority who reject the reality of the supernatural and of God.

In his book, “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller, the author has a chapter titled “The Clues of God”. In this chapter he writes, among other things, concerning the “Big Bang Theory”, which he terms the “mysterious bang”, and then quotes scientist Francis Collins:

“We have this very solid conclusion that the universe had an origin, the Big Bang. Fifteen billion years ago, the universe began with an unimaginable bright flash of energy from an infinitesimally small point. That implies that before that, there was nothing. I can’t imagine how nature, in this case the universe, would have created itself. And the very fact that the universe had a beginning implies that someone was able to begin it. And it seems to me that had to be outside of nature.”

Keller then goes on to mention yet another fascinating fact about the universe which he calls the “cosmic welcome mat”. He writes concerning the “perfect calibration” of the universe, of “values that together fall into an extremely narrow range”. He concludes that “the probability of this perfect calibration happening by chance is so tiny as to be statistically negligible.” He follows this by another quote by Francis Collins:

“When you look from the perspective of a scientist at the universe, it looks as if it knew we were coming. There are 15 constants…that have precise values. If any one of these constants were off by even one part in a million, or in some cases, one part in a million million, the universe could not have actually come to the point where we see it. Matter would not have been able to coalesce [combine], there would have been no galaxy, stars, planets or people.”

And then Keller writes concerning the “regularity of nature”:

“As a proof for the existence of God, the regularity of nature is inescapable…There have been many scholars in the last decades who have argued that modern science arose in its most sustained form out of Christian civilization because of its belief in an all-powerful God who created and sustains an orderly universe.”

(Timothy Keller The Reason for God – Belief in an Age of Scepticism Hodder & Stoughton 2008)

Creator God, what an amazing universe we live in, and it all belongs to you. May we live our daily lives in the knowledge of this truth seeking to bring glory to you. Thank you that you also created us for yourself. May we make the purpose and passion of our lives all about knowing, serving and delighting in you and all that you have made. Amen.

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