1 The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.
2 Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. 3 Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy. 4 The King is mighty, he loves justice—you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right.
5 Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy.
6 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. 7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them. 8 O LORD our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds.
9 Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy.
Psalm 99 – God’s amazing character
(Verses 1-4) God’s amazing character has many aspects. He is eternal, all knowing, everywhere, Self-revealing, almighty, righteous, just, merciful, loving, gracious, forgiving, judging, long-suffering, and creating. But Psalm 99 emphasises He is ’awesome’ and ‘holy’. ‘The LORD reigns.’ That fact should cause all ‘nations’ to ‘tremble.’ Powerful nations can become arrogant and over-confident. When most powerful they can easily forget that other ‘impregnable’ nations once held that ‘top spot’ but fell from it. Proverbs 14:34 says, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people’. Almighty God who reigns and judges is ‘awesome’. He has unlimited power, strength and knowledge. He is ‘holy’, hates all sin and will punish it. The ‘great’ LORD in Zion is the Judge of all nations and people everywhere. All will be judged for sins against Him, unless they confess their sin, turn from it, and cast themselves on God’s mercy by asking the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive and lead them in His wisdom, holiness, and love. Only then can they, or we, ‘praise [His] great and awesome name’ and live holy lives, knowing that ‘He is holy’. If you turn to Jesus, God sends His Holy Spirit to live in you and His holy word, the Bible, to guide and help you to live a holy life for God. You will be blessed. From then on ‘your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.’ (1 Corinthians 15:19-20)
(Verse 5) Verses 5 and 9 are similar. ‘Exalt’ and ‘worship’ ‘the LORD our God’ because ‘He is holy’. God asks His people to praise Him both ‘at His footstool’ and ‘at His holy mountain’. Mount Zion’s temple was His ‘footstool’ for His people. All thrones of Israel’s kings had footstools on which their subjects knelt before them. Now the Lord Jesus, our King of kings, chooses believers’ hearts as His footstools. Worship only Him there – no-one else and nothing else!
(Verses 6-8) Throughout Israel’s history, His people have ‘called on the LORD and He answered them.’ Leaders who prayed include Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. God gave His Law through Moses. All three were priests. All but Aaron were prophets. The Israelites also prayed, as Moses led them in the desert from Egypt’s slavery to Canaan’s Promised Land. God led them by a pillar of fire at night, and a pillar of cloud by day. He forgave them but also dealt with their sins. In our Christian’s journey through life, God forgives us for eternity, but insists that daily we confess and turn from sins committed en route. We never lose our salvation but can lose fellowship with God through any unconfessed sin.
(Verse 9) Remember always to ‘exalt’ and worship’ your awesome and holy Saviour God. Follow Him each day in holiness.