>Holy God, Psalm 99

>Do you feel that the world is out of control? Does it seem as if injustice triumphs?

Read Psalm 99!

This psalm is a great antidote for worldly overload. It’s a reminder of God’s faithfulness throughout his dealings with his covenant people. And it emphasizes God’s supreme holiness.

The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The LORD is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples
(verses 1-2).

It may seem as if earthquakes are random natural events, but even these events in nature are under God’s control. This Psalm makes it sound as if the earth itself trembles at the majesty of God. Because God reigns as the Most High over all creation, all people are called to praise him (verse 3):

Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!

God is not only powerful and holy, he is also just.

The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob

The name “Jacob” can be considered as a synonym for “Israel” or the peole of God in all times and all places. But its use here is interesting since Jacob means “deceiver” and Jacob’s early years were not characterized by “justice” or “equity” or “righteousness.” God is the covenant God of Jacob; however, and he loves justice. He has established equity and executed justice and righteousness to his people and through his sinful servant Jacob.

Verse 5 is a rousing call to exalt the Lord and worship our holy God:

Exalt the LORD our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!

The psalm then reminds us of God’s covenantal relationship with his people during Old Testament days:

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the LORD, and he answered them.
In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them

God’s glory was present in the pillar of cloud during Israel’s wanderings in the desert. His people called on his name and he answered them; he gave them statutes and they obeyed him. No Old Testament patriarchs or New Testament saints obeyed God perfectly, but God forgave their sins. Sin is rarely without consequences; however, and all sin must be paid for–either by ourselves or by another (Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 12).

O LORD our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings

How should we respond to our righteous and holy God who hates sin, but provided salvation through the perfect atonement of his Son? We should exalt his name and fall on our face in worship (verse 9):

Exalt the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy!

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!


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