Scriptures

Psalm 99

Introduction

In this psalm, the psalmist emphasises on the holiness of God three times, Isaiah 6:3, because of His sovereignty over all things. The psalmist encouraged everyone who acknowledges Him as King to worship Him because he alone is sovereign over all His creation.

We don’t know who the author is, however, Jewish tradition accredits Psalms 90-100 to Moses. Other Psalms written by Moses are also found in Exodus 15, and in Deuteronomy 32.

‘The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy. The King is mighty, he loves justice you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right. Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the LORD and he answered them. He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them. LORD our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds. Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy.’ Psalm 99:1-9

The psalmist begins by reminded their audience that the LORD reigns, Psalm 93:1 / Psalm 97:1. He reigns as King and sits enthroned between the cherubim, Exodus 25:18-22 / Exodus 37:7-9.

When the nations acknowledge His reign over all the nations, they tremble in fear at His awesomeness and the earth shakes, Habakkuk 3:6 / Habakkuk 3:10.

Although God is great in Zion, that is, Jerusalem, He is also high above than all the nations. Because God is a mighty King, the nations should praise God’s great and awesome Name and because He is holy, Isaiah 6:3.

God loves justice, and has established equity and He has acted justly and rightly in Jacob. In other words, He is the God of equality in judgment, He judges without respect of persons, judging the righteous on the foundation of His grace. He renders mercy to those who have obediently responded to His grace.

The psalmist encourages the nations to ‘exalt the LORD their God’, that is, because God is all powerful, the nations should humbly bow down and worship Him.

The words, ‘worship at his footstool’, may refer to the ark of the covenant, 1 Chronicles 28:2, it may also refer to Jerusalem itself, Lamentations 2:1, or it may refer to the earth, Isaiah 66:1 / Matthew 5:35 / Acts 7:49.

Notice again the psalmist reminds us that God is indeed a holy God. He is holy in every way and in all He does, Isaiah 6:3 / Revelation 4:8 and there is no darkness in God, 1 John 1:5.

The psalmist speaks of the three great priests of Israel, that is, Moses, Exodus 24:1-18, Aaron, Leviticus 8:1-36 / Exodus 40:18-33, and Samuel. Because they were obedient to His statutes and decrees, God answered the prayers of Moses, Aaron and Samuel.

God spoke to them from the pillar of cloud, Exodus 14:19-20 / Exodus 33:9 / Numbers 12:5. Although to Israel, God was a forgiving God, He still had to punish them for their misdeeds.

Because of their disobedient deeds, the Israelites were condemned to forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Numbers 32:13. Those who were twenty years of age and older at the time of the rebellion, weren’t allowed to enter the Promised Land but died in the wilderness, Numbers 14:29.

Notice that the psalmist once again encourages the nations to ‘exalt the LORD their God’, and once again they encourage the nations to worship Him, and for the third time, they remind the nations that God is a holy God, Isaiah 6:3 / Revelation 4:8.

Conclusion

The psalmist spoke about God’s holiness on three occasions, but there is always the danger that we can be too casual in our approach to God. God’s holiness demands fear, reverence and obedience.

God’s first command to Moses is for him to stay back and remove his sandals, Exodus 3:5-6. God declares that the ground is ‘holy ground’. This is the first occurrence of the word ‘holy’ in the Bible.

As we remember the word, ‘qodesh’ means sacred, dedicated or hallowed. Throughout the Old Testament it presents the idea of separation by God for His purposes. This includes purity as well, especially in the New Testament.

There was nothing inherently ‘holy’ about this piece of ground but God was there and God is inherently holy or transcendent. He cannot be approached except as His direction and with His provision. God’s holiness demands fear, ‘reverence’ and obedience.

Moses’ attitude went from curiosity to fear, Exodus 3:6. Those who come to recognise God’s holiness are driven to their knees with the clear perception of their own un-holiness. When Isaiah looked into the throne room of heaven, he saw angels praising God, Isaiah 6:3-5.

The holiness of God is centre stage at Sinai and in the giving of the law, but it also would play a major role in the Exodus. God’s uniqueness would be clearly demonstrated in the coming plagues, and Israel would be called upon to fear and obey Him.

God said to Moses, ‘Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.’ God is holy and unclean sandals cannot be stomped in and out of His presence. God was telling Moses, ‘This is my house, so take off your dirty shoes before you come any farther.’ For the priests, they understood that they had to wash their hands and feet before they walked into the holy place, Exodus 30:18-21.

In other words, they couldn’t pass farther or serve in the tabernacle, until they bared their feet and washed them in the golden laver. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet He was preparing them for a deeper walk, He was preparing them for the Upper Room experience, He was preparing them for service, John 13:1-15.

We know that Joshua is also told to take off his shoes, in this incident, the commander of the Lord’s army, said to Joshua, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.’ Joshua 5:15.

Putting off the shoe was a token of respect and submission. God’s holiness demands fear, reverence and obedience, 1 Peter 1:15-16.

Go To Psalm 100

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Psalm 37:4

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