As Psalm 23, the Psalm of the Shepherd, gives way to Psalm 24, we move from a meadow of mercy to the throne room of power. Whereas Psalm 23 references the dangerous valleys of a drifting people; Psalm 24 majestically takes us right into the holy royal city. Psalm 23 left us with the hope of dwelling in the house of the Lord forever; Psalm 24 takes us into that house itself.
In its original context, Psalm 24 is a celebration of the coronation or enthronement of Israelâ€™s king. It was likely used in the worship of Godâ€™s covenant people upon the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem to its rightful place in the tabernacle. Some commentators specifically date this Psalm to David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem from Kiriath-Jearim (see 1 Chronicles 13:8). The form of the Psalm involves a two choirs singing in response to each other. One chorus calls upon the gates to lift their heads, and the ancient doors to be open. Some believe this a reference to the temple, but at the time of this Psalm, the temple was not yet built; some have suggested that this refers to the very gates and doors of the city of Jerusalem, which became Godâ€™s holy city, when He chose to dwell in it. But, â€ślift up your heads,â€ť is an idiom for the rejoicing of the godly, so it is likely this is a call to Godâ€™s people, who live within the gates, to rejoice greatly because their king is making his triumphant entry. The repetition of the choirâ€™s refrain, â€śWho is the king of glory?â€ť bears out the importance of the central character to the event. This â€śKing of gloryâ€ť is identified by the second choir as, â€śYahweh, strong and mighty, Yahweh, mighty in battle.â€ť Concluding in verse 10, â€śYahweh Sabaoth, the LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!â€ť Ultimately the Lord God, who is the creator, owner and Lord of heaven and earth, is the King of glory who has come to visit the city of man.
It is not difficult to see that Psalm 24 is a Messianic Psalm in that it pictures the triumphal entry of Christ to usher in His kingdom of victory and glory. As such, it describes the fulfillment to which Palm Sunday points. During the life of Christ about a week before His crucifixion and resurrection, He made a triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. As He made His way down the Mount of Olives, Godâ€™s people worshipped, laying their cloaks and palms in His path. They praised Him as, â€śthe King who comes in the name of the Lordâ€ť (Luke 19:38 quoting from Psalm 118:26). Just like the choir in Psalm 24, the grandeur of the event caused the people of Jerusalem to ask, â€śWho is this?â€ť (Matthew 21:10). But their answer, â€śthe prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galileeâ€ť (Matthew 21:11) fell far short of the answer of the chorus of Psalm 24, â€śThe LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.â€ť A time is coming when Jesus Christ will return in glory, and there will be no doubt as to who He is. More than a prophet from Nazareth riding on a donkey down a dusty road, Christ will come from the heavens, on a white horse, as LORD, Yaweh, the King of kings! And we, His people who have been imputed with His holiness and righteous will lift up our heads and open our doors, to make way for His presence with us. Lord haste the day when our faith will be sight, when the clouds be rolled back like a scroll, when the trumpet will sound, and the Lord will descend!