Unit 23: Day 1, Psalms, Part 2

    “Unit 23: Day 1, Psalms, Part 2,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)

    “Unit 23: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide

    Unit 23: Day 1

    Psalms, Part 2


    This is the second of three lessons on the book of Psalms and focuses on Psalms 24, 33, and 51. Psalm 24 teaches what we must do to be worthy to enter the Lord’s house and dwell in His presence eternally, Psalm 33 declares that the earth is full of the Lord’s goodness, and Psalm 51 contains David’s pleas for forgiveness of his sins.

    Psalm 24

    The Psalmist teaches what we must do to dwell in the Lord’s presence

    What requirements must be met in order to do the following: watch a movie in a movie theater, enter an office building that has a security system, attend a professional sporting event, and attend a prestigious university? Why do you think there are requirements for entering these or other places?

    Read Psalm 24:3, and identify another place we can enter only after we have met certain qualifications.

    The phrases “the hill of the Lord” and “his holy place” refer to the temple in Jerusalem, which was built on top of a hill. These phrases can also refer to any of the Lord’s temples as well as to the Lord’s presence. The temple is the Lord’s house, where He visits and where His presence can be felt.

    Read Psalm 24:4–5, looking for what we need to have to qualify to worship in the Lord’s house and be prepared to dwell in His presence. (Psalm 24:3–4 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)

    From what you learn in Psalm 24:4, complete the following principle: To be worthy to worship in the Lord’s house and be prepared to dwell in God’s presence, we must have and .

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. What do you think it means to have clean hands?

      2. What does it mean to have a pure heart?

      3. What unrighteous influences make it difficult for us to have clean hands and a pure heart?

    Although it may be difficult for us to keep our hands clean and our hearts pure because of the evil influences that often surround us, it is possible to do so because of the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Elder David A. Bednar

    As you read the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, find and mark phrases that teach about the Savior’s role in helping us to have clean hands and a pure heart: “Let me suggest that hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior’s Atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All of our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us” (“Clean Hands and a Pure Heart,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 82).

    Read Psalm 24:3–5 again, and then read Matthew 5:8.

    In this beatitude given by the Savior, what is implied regarding the ultimate blessing that can come to those who live worthy to worship in the Lord’s temple in consistent purity and righteousness? Ponder how well you are meeting the Lord’s requirements to enter His temple and ultimately dwell in His presence. Make a commitment to do whatever is necessary for you to be able to stand before the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart.

    scripture mastery icon
    Scripture Mastery—Psalm 24:3–4

    1. journal icon
      Work on your own or with a family member or friend to memorize Psalm 24:3–4. Then recite it to someone in your family, and explain what it means. In your scripture study journal, write about how your family member responded to your explanation.

    Psalm 33

    The earth is full of the Lord’s goodness

    Think of a time when you have been in awe of the beauty or enormity of God’s amazing creations.

    mountain reflected in river

    Part of Psalm 33 is a song praising the Lord for His power and goodness, which are manifest in His creations. Read Psalm 33:1–3, looking for what the writer of this psalm wants us to do.

    Read Psalm 33:4–9, looking for why the people of the earth should praise and sing to the Lord.

    Notice the phrases “fear the Lord” and “stand in awe of him” in verse 8. To “fear” the Lord in this context means to respect or revere Him and His power. To “stand in awe of him” means to be amazed or overwhelmed, to praise, and to admire Him and His creations.

    One principle we could identify from these verses is that pondering about the Lord and His creations can lead us to praise and revere Him.

    Take a few minutes to ponder about the Lord and what He has created for you.

    1. journal icon
      Select one of the following hymns and songs to read or listen to: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (Hymns, no. 72), “For the Beauty of the Earth” (Hymns, no. 92), “I Thank Thee, Dear Father” (Children’s Songbook [2002], 7), or “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, 228–29). (You can access these hymns and songs online at Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. What did the hymn or song you chose teach you about God and His creations?

      2. Why are you thankful for the Lord and His creations? List a few creations that are particularly amazing to you.

    Psalm 51

    David pleads for forgiveness and the Lord’s help

    In the following chart, list some of the righteous things David did in his life. Then list some of the sinful things David did in his life.

    Righteous actions of David

    Sinful actions of David

    Imagine how David may have felt about his sins involving Bathsheba and Uriah. His sincere remorse for these sins is recorded in Psalm 51. Although David “hath fallen from his exaltation” because he planned the death of Uriah (D&C 132:39), he received a promise that his soul would not be left in hell (see Psalm 16:8–10; Acts 2:25–27). David’s humility and heartfelt desire to be restored to God’s grace and acceptance are examples of true principles of repentance (see Bible Dictionary, “David”). As you study Psalm 51, consider what lessons you can learn about repentance and about the Lord from David’s pleas for forgiveness.

    Read Psalm 51, looking for words and phrases that describe David’s humility and desire to repent and receive forgiveness for his sins. You may want to mark what you find.

    Read Psalm 51:10–12, and ponder on these words of David’s plea and how they can be shared by anyone who has sinned and sincerely desires to repent.

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. What truths can we learn from Psalm 51?

      2. What does it mean to offer the Savior “a broken and a contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17)?

    Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy taught about having a broken heart and a contrite spirit:

    Elder Bruce D. Porter

    “The Savior’s perfect submission to the Eternal Father is the very essence of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Christ’s example teaches us that a broken heart is an eternal attribute of godliness. When our hearts are broken, we are completely open to the Spirit of God and recognize our dependence on Him for all that we have and all that we are. …

    “A broken heart and a contrite spirit are also preconditions to repentance. …

    “… Those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit are willing to do anything and everything that God asks of them, without resistance or resentment. We cease doing things our way and learn to do them God’s way instead. In such a condition of submissiveness, the Atonement can take effect and true repentance can occur” (“A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 32).

    1. journal icon
      In your scripture study journal, write some things you can do to gain and maintain a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

    If we acknowledge our sins and offer the Savior a broken heart and contrite spirit, then He can make us clean. Think about what you will do to offer the Lord a broken heart and a contrite spirit. As you make this offering as part of your repentance process, you can have confidence to turn to the Lord to seek forgiveness of your sins and help with your troubles.

    1. journal icon
      Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

      I have studied the Psalms, Part 2 lesson and read the assigned psalms and completed it on (date).

      Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: