The Psalmist in this one makes an interesting assumption in this piece. Namely that to be with the Lord in His temple is a desirable place to be. He can back that up, however, by saying that those who want to be there are blessed and are recipients of good stuff from the God who saves.
That established, there is the small matter of the criteria of those who can get to be with the Lord in His holy place. This is where things get really interesting. Notice carefully these requirements: Clean Hands; Pure Heart; Not Lifting Up His Soul To What Is False; Swear Deceitfully
Those may appear to be reasonable standards to engage with a holy and a righteous God who in His tender mercies has made the whole world and given them for our benefit and enjoyment. It may well be reasonable, but how many of us can actually live up to those standards?
The blessings are really there to be enjoyed and God is inviting us to engage with Him, but there are conditions to truly enjoying His presence. The good news is, however, that even if we can honestly admit to some failings in some areas, it’s not a hopeless cause. He isn’t kicking us out on that basis. Oh no. In His loving kindness He also invites us to clean our hands and purify our hearts. Recognise that often we are preferring to go with what is false. We hold onto the bitterness even though the truth is that there’s no good in holding onto it. We hold onto the malice even though the truth is that there’s no good in holding onto it.
We can recognise it and then ask for help to clean ourselves from it. Bring it out to the light because we prefer to enjoy the blessings to be discovered in the presence of the Lord. That would be better for us.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden