We had a gate growing up. I didn’t realize what an important symbol that heavy metal port was at the time. It was painted various colors at various times. Mum would holler, “go get the gate,” and one of us kids would jump at it. I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me and ground to a halt once I got to it, my heart pounding from the sprint. I would stand on tip-toe and press my body against the sun-warmed metal, a curious, eager eye-ball peeking through the opening I could barely reach, to see who was there.
There were two gates, but most cars fit through just one. Fumbling with the lock and chain was like trying to release a toy from a playful dog’s mouth when he wants you to throw it but also wants you to work at getting it from him. I would finally wrangle the heavy, clanging chain free, being careful not to pinch my fingers in it. I’d lead the huge contraption slowly with the heavy, chain leash as it swung open, always wary lest it bit you in the ankle. If you let it swing on its own it would bang against its end with such momentum that it bounce back and knock you right to the ground.
Opening the grand gate thus provided this dramatic revealing, as it were, of the guest. First, you’d see them through the tiny peephole in the gate, then you’d glance at them when you first freed the chain and the gate started to swing open. Each step to took disclosed more and more. They would smile and wave from their car and carefully inch their way through the opening. If it was a nice person, they’d step on their squeaking brakes and clear off the clutter from their front seat while you locked the gate and let you hop in for a short a ride to the house, saving you a walk back, and as a thank you token.
Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Psalm 24:7
This puzzling line has been interpreted many ways. Here’s my take. The head of anything or anyone is the top part, the highest. In it are functions of thought as well as perception. This is in keeping with the theme of ascension from earlier in the chapter– we are dealing with matters of primacy – what’s the highest, the best, the most important?
Hebrew views the heart as the center and repository of man of his thoughts. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” Pr. 27:3. It is the highest, noblest organ. It is a wellspring so deep it is unfathomable. We could say that the word picture in Psalm 24 paints the heart as our ‘gate.’ Gates speak of security and access. Our hearts are the access points to our lives. We “allow” people into our hearts.
Psalm 24 therefore calls us to lift up the heart for examination. We are also to lift it up to provide entry. We are to ‘lift’ it up because left to itself, it becomes darker and darker, lower and lower. This gate of our lives is the access point for the Creator, Master and Savior. What a thought, that though the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it as we saw earlier in the chapter, this small gate can bar him entry.
It is no peon that desires entrance into your gates. It is nobility. It is none other than the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, hallelujah! He desires you. He desires access into your heart and therefore your life. He wants to come in and dine with you. He wants to spend today with you. He wants to spend eternity with you. Jump for joy. May your heart and mine afford the King of glory a very grand entrance. Put on a party and go get the gate!
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. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory. Ps 24:8-10