Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?…
High up among some lofty mountains you may at some time have been surprised and delighted by the sudden and unlooked for discovery of a crystal-like lake, nestling cosily amid giant cliffs, or hemmed in and well-nigh hidden from you by a forest of solemn and majestic pines or cedars. By day its placid surface reflected with dazzling splendour the sun's effulgence; while in the night the lovelier and more subdued glories of the moon and stars were so clearly reflected that the lake seemed transformed into a crystal setting which held these shining, jewels. In like manner is the Psalmist's assertion of the text but the reflection of that which has ever been in the mind of the Creator, and which later on was enunciated by the God-man in the beatitude, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." But why such stress upon this virtue of purity? Because —
I. IMPURITY IS THE SIN GOD MOST HATES. In proof, see what brought on the Flood, the destruction of Sodom, and the most terrible punishments which came on God's people. In the history of nations purity, preeminence, and power go together. Let a nation throw down the statue of Purity and it sounds its own death-knell.
II. A PURE HEART PURIFIES ALL THAT IT APPROACHES. It is so even with the most ferocious natures, and so it is with human beings. A corrupt heart draws out in an hour all that is bad in us; a spiritual one brings out, and draws to itself, all that is best and purest. Such was Christ. He stood in the world the tight of the world, to which all rays of light gradually gathered. He stood in the presence of impurity, and men became pure.
III. WE WHO ARE GOD'S CHILDREN MUST SEEK TO BECOME AND TO BE LIKE HIM. As light can have no fellowship with darkness, so can there be no fellowship between us and Him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. Impurity has on the spiritual man precisely the same effect that paralysis has on the physical man. The sin of impurity severs us from Christ.
IV. HOW MAY WE WIN THIS PURITY OF HEART? We would say —
1. Stand out firmly against evil thoughts and imaginations. A man's heart may become so foul that purity refuses any longer to be its guest. Then Satan has won the battle.
2. Be careful as to the influence of your companions.
3. Also be careful as to what you read. Books often blunt the moral sense. Dwell often upon the spotless purity of the Creator, and of the Master while upon earth. Pray daily for grace and power to hate everything that can take away from the whiteness and cleanness of your soul, and to guard against it.
Parallel VersesKJV: Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?