Psalm 24 Sermon From September 2013 Prayer Service “LORD of hosts”
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Wednesday September 4th 2013: Season of Pentecost, Psalm 24.
The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for He has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in His holy place?
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.
He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of His salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek Him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O 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, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory!
(Psalm 24 ESV)
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. Last month we had Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want." It was the beginning of this series of Psalms, Psalm 23 to Psalm 28, which have this theme of Shepherd worked into them. All these Psalms "deal in some way with God's protective shepherding of His people." In Psalm 23 we also looked at the fact that God is the Shepherd King of Israel and King David is under God's Kingship. This is just one of the reasons why we confess that Jesus is "King of kings and LORD of lords." Psalm 24 doesn't specifically use the word Shepherd but Psalm 24 points to this protective shepherding of God's people when God is referred to as "The LORD of hosts."
Consider the work of the shepherd as he protects his flock. To be effective he must be in their midst, he must work to keep the sheep from becoming separated from the flock, he must seek out any sheep that have strayed away from the flock, and he must spring into action to defend the flock when the flock is in danger. David knew this from personal experience. When David was still a shepherd boy David said to King Saul, “Let no man's heart fail because of [Goliath]. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And [King] Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
King Saul as the under shepherd King of Israel, as under shepherd of the Good Shepherd the true King of Israel, Saul should have been the one to trust God and spring into action and go against that lion, that bear Goliath who defied the armies of the living God, who defied the hosts of God; but alas it was young David who did. David understood that the hosts for whom God was the LORD of hosts were not comprised only of the armies of God's heavenly angles, it was not comprised only of the stars of the heavens, no, David understood that the hosts for whom God was the Lord of hosts also included the armies of Israel, the women and children, the old and the young, all the people of Israel, and more than that, it includes everyone and everything, because the true Shepherd King, who is God, is Shepherd over all. This is why Psalm 24 begins with David saying, "the earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein," from these words we know that it is all under God's Shepherding and when Goliath defied the armies of the living God, he defied everything God had vowed to protect. Is Goliath alone in defying everything God vows to protect or are there others with this same spirit of defiance?
In John's Gospel Jesus says, "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." This is the kind of King of kings and LORD of lords you have. In Jesus you have a protective Shepherd who stands for you against all your enemies and through Christ Jesus God the Father "[equips] you with everything good [for doing His will, so that He'll]", [work in you] that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." As the Good Shepherd of the flock, Jesus is the LORD of hosts, He is the King over all.
Just as David walked out into the field of battle against Goliath, that bear, that lion who defied the armies of the living God, Jesus ascends the hill of the skull, Golgotha against the enemies of Sin, Death, the World and the Devil: Enemies who in the pursuit of your destruction have defied the living God. Our Good Shepherd, Jesus, didn't have five smooth stones tucked into a pouch or a sling in His hand, our LORD of hosts, Jesus, had three hard nails driven into His flesh on the cross. When David sings, "Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?" the answer is Jesus! When David sings, "And who shall stand in [God's] holy place?" the answer is Jesus! Jesus is the one "who has clean hands and a pure heart," Jesus is the one "who does not lift up His soul to what is false" Jesus is the one who "does not swear deceitfully." Perfect in every way Jesus, receives blessings from the LORD and righteousness from the God of His salvation. And it is Jesus who now gives this righteousness to you, He gives it to His whole army, to everyone who is found in the hosts of heaven, including you and all people who have the gift of faith. This is why David says that "those who seek Him," those "who seek the face of the God of Jacob, " have this righteousness. Because the King is righteous, His army is righteous, and you are part of His army, you therefore are righteous too.
We think of an army as something that protects a King, in Christianity it is the LORD of hosts, Jesus who protects His Army. He sets His face like flint, He rides into battle, palm branches and coats lining His way toward the cross. On Palm Sunday we often sing "Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates," and Psalm 24 is the Psalm where these prophetic words can be found. "Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? [It is Jesus the Christ]The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!" At the cross Jesus swallows up Death in victory. And we say! “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” [We know the victory won for us, we know that even though] "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law,' [that it's] "God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." By faith we confess this, and hold this as our hope, knowing that in our baptism we stand victorious with Jesus; that sin, death, the devil and the world are overcome by the LORD of hosts, that "everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" You "lay hold of, and believe, the Scriptures and the Gospel" when you, by the grace of God, receive and make this victory your own, this forgiveness your own.
So here you are deep into Psalm 24, a soldier in the army of the LORD of hosts, you have your military issue armor (the Armor of God) and you have your daily bread, the rations, given by the King of kings, His very Body and Blood and you have been told of the victory that has already been won, and yet you look around and you see that this army is not impressive by the worlds standards. It's full of the weak, and the poor, the sick and the lame, people stretched out on their death beds; there are sinners everywhere and it reeks of hypocrisy and those are just the others. When you look at yourself you are horrified by what you see and you think there is no way I can be a part of the hosts of heaven. You see what the world sees; yet the LORD of hosts, your commander, Jesus says, "take heart; I have overcome the world.” He says, "in the world you will have tribulation," but in Me you will have peace. This rag tag troop, this army ridiculed by the world, this hard lot of ruffians are forgiven sinners. You are forgiven by Jesus. Say it, "Jesus has shepherded me into His flock, and He protects me there." Yes, in Him you have the victory, for He is the King of Glory and His glory is in the cross, the thing that looks like defeat, that stands on the hill, the hill that no longer belongs to the enemy, the hill that now belongs to the Lord. This victory is the heart of His Supper, this victory which Jesus asks me to eat and drink, His very Body and Blood given and shed for me at His crucifixion is a treasure beyond price, "in fact, it is the very same treasure that is appointed for me against sin, death and every disaster."
Outside the camp, outside the perimeter of the Lord of hosts encampment there are no enemies left for you; for you dear Christian they have all been defeated: David saw this, and David sings this with trust, knowing that Goliath, while fierce in appearance, is truly but a little adversary and God triumphed over Him; therefore David confesses the LORD to be strong and mighty, to be mighty in battle, because God is triumphant over more than Goliath, over more than a lion, over more than a bear, He has triumphed over all, even over my sin which is so great. Now with your sin lying dead in the dust, now with you in your baptism raised up to newness of life, sing with David this Hymn of praise, sing with David Psalm 24. Your Shepherd has you, your Shepherd protects you, your Shepherd is leading you home. He is the LORD of hosts, He is Christ Jesus, the LORD. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 A Commentary on Psalms 1-72, Northwestern Publishing House 2004, John F. Burg, pg 290.
 Revelation 19:16
 1 Samuel 17:32-37
 1 Kings 22:19
 Deuteronomy 4:19
 John 10:11
 Hebrews 13:21
 American Edition Luther's Works, The Catholic Epistles, Volume 30, Concordia Publishing House, pg 71.
 Lutheran Service Book, Concordia Publishing House, "Onward, Christian Soldiers," 662.
 Ephesians 6:12 "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
 John 18:36
 John 19:17
 1 Samuel 17:40 "Then [David] took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine [Goliath]."
 Colossians 2:13-14
 Hebrews 4:14-16
 Hebrews 7:26-28
 Ephesians 1:20-23
 Romans 4
 Isaiah 50:7
 Mark 11:1-11
 Lutheran Service Book, Concordia Publishing House, "Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates," 341.
 Isaiah 25:6-8
 1 Corinthians 15:54-56
 1 John 5:4-5
 Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, Large Catechism, Part V. The Sacrament of the Altar, Concordia Publishing House, 626.
 Ephesians 6:10-20
 Matthew 11:28
 John 16:33
 Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 626.
 Romans 6:4