Lift up your heads, O gates!

Psalm 24

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Lift up your heads, O gates!
Psalm 24

The Golden Gate, as it is called in Christian literature, is the oldest of the current gates in Jerusalem's Old City Walls. According to Jewish tradition, the Shekhinah (Divine Presence) used to appear through this gate, and will appear again when the Messiah comes (Ezekiel 44:1-3) and a new gate replaces the present one; that is why Jews used to pray for mercy at the former gate at this location. Hence the name Sha'ar Harachamim the Gate of Mercy.

Picture courtesy of www.crystalinks.com

Gates are very important. David speaks about them here in Psalm 24, and Jesus spoke about them also. Gates are used for security and protection, to keep wanted things in, and unwanted things out. But back in ancient times and in Jesus time, gates had far more signifigance than we realise today. City gates were places of central activity in biblical times. It was at the city gates that important business transactions were made, it was the location of the courts of justice where judgements were made, and public announcements were made. Accordingly, it is natural that the Bible frequently speaks of “sitting in the gate” it is the equivilent of a "courtroom sitting". That's probably why in Proverbs, 'wisdom at the gateways of the city, makes her speech.'

The first mention in the Bible of City gates is in Genesis 19:1 It was at the gate of Sodom that Abraham’s nephew, Lot, greeted the angelic visitors to his city. In the book of Ruth, Boaz officially claimed the position of kinsman-redeemer to her by meeting with the city elders at the gate of Bethlehem. There, the legal matters related to his marriage to Ruth were settled. Just as today we must go to the courthouse to get a marriage licence. Their decendant King David, governed from the City Gate. After the death of his son Absalom, the king’s appearance at the gate signaled that the mourning was over, and the king was once again attending to the business of governing (2 Samuel 19:8-10). The same was true even for other cultures at the time, the book of Esther speaks of a plot against the King being planned at the 'King's gate'.

To control the gates of one’s enemies was to conquer their city. Part of Abraham’s blessing from the Lord was the promise that “your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies” (Genesis 22:17). That has been passed down to us also as God's children. Through Christ Jesus we have victory over ancient "Gates", long-standing problems in our lives and family, Gates and doorways that the enemy has used, when you are dealing with ancient gates (generational inherited problems), you have to exercise the spiritual power and authority you have in Christ Jesus. You have to command them to give way. The words of Psalm 24 are a command to the enemy, "Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in."

As I said earlier Jesus talked about gates. He talked about the narrow and wide gates, one leading to life and the other to destruction. He also said that "the gates of Hades (the power of death) would not prevail against his Church. But most importantly of all, "I am the Gate for the Sheep". Jesus opens the gates of heaven for us. I will leave you with a thought for the day, which believe it or not comes from actor, Jim Carrey and I think he gets this one right.

"We either go through the gate of vengeance...or we go through the gate of forgiveness which leads to grace."