Scripture reading – Psalm 99

 

The focus on the LORD’s Second Coming and His reign on the earth continues in Psalm 99 (a topic that is the subject of Psalms 93-100). As the name implied, the psalms were songs of worship and praise to the LORD. Sincere believers have cherished them for millennia, and they continue to be the focus of worship, prayer, praise, and meditation for people around the world.

 

Some psalms commemorate special events in Israel’s history; many are deeply personal for their authors. Especially in the life of King David, we have been granted an audience into his genuinely moving times of sorrow and joy, conviction and repentance, distress and thanksgiving. Those themes continue to resonate in the hearts of believers 3,000 years later. I suggest Psalm 99 be considered with four major themes.

Psalm 99

 

The LORD Reigneth. (Psalm 99:1)

 

The psalm commences with an indisputable truth: “The LORD reigneth” (Psalm 99:1a). That statement is the foundation of all that follows in the psalm. The LORD is King of heaven and earth and Sovereign of creation. The people of the earth, therefore, should tremble with fear and reverence (Psalm 99:1b). The LORD sitting “between the cherubims” reminds us of the Ark of God and its Mercy Seat upon which two cherubim were fashioned, representing God’s heavenly throne in the Tabernacle (Psalm 99:1c; Exodus 25:18-22).

 The LORD is Great. (Psalm 99:2-5)

 

Consider the majesty of God: “The LORD is great in Zion” (the mount upon which Jerusalem is built, and where He will reign during His millennial kingdom, Psalm 99:2a). He is above all nations and people (99:2b). His name is “great and terrible; for it is holy” (Psalm 99:3). Because the name of the LORD is holy, it is not to be taken in vain (Exodus 20:7).

 

Also, the LORD is mighty and “loveth judgment” (Psalm 99:4a). He is just, fair, honest, and righteous (Psalm 99:4b). He is holy, and there is none like Him. Let all who believe exalt the LORD and fall at his feet (Psalm 99:5).

The LORD is to Be Adored for What He has Done. (Psalm 99:6-9)

 

While the focus of the first five verses has been upon the LORD’s person, Psalm 99:6-9 turned the worshippers’ attention to His works. The psalmist wrote of three men who worshipped, obeyed, and served the LORD (Psalm 99:6).

 

Moses and Aaron were identified as priests, and named with them was the prophet Samuel. Those faithful servants of the LORD called upon Him as LORD, “and He answered them” (Psalm 99:6; Exodus 33:17; 1 Samuel 8:7). He “spake unto them (Moses and Aaron) in the cloudy pillar: They kept his testimonies [laws and commandments], and the ordinance [statutes] that he gave them” (Psalm 99:7).

 

The “cloudy pillar” (Exodus 33:9-10; Nehemiah 9:12) was a visible reminder of the LORD’s presence with Israel when that nation wandered in the wilderness for forty years. We are reminded that God is merciful and just, for Moses and Aaron faced the consequences of their sins and were not permitted to enter the Promised Land (Psalm 99:8).

 “The LORD our God is Holy.” (Psalm 99:9)

 

Psalm 99 concludes with an exhortation to all who love the LORD: “9Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill [Zion; the setting of the Temple and sacrifices]; For the Lord our God is holy” (Psalm 99:9).

Closing thoughts –

 

Aaron murmured against Moses and fashioned a golden calf when the people rebelled (Exodus 32:4, 8, 19).  Yet, they “called upon the LORD, and He answered” them (Psalm 99:6). Moses disobeyed the LORD and struck the rock in anger when the people were thirsty (Numbers 20:2-12), and though his sin prevented him from entering Canaan, the LORD forgave him (Psalm 99:6, 8).

 

Psalm 99 reminds us that private and congregational worship is to be a central focus of all believers. The LORD is holy, yet He loves us despite our sins and failures. It is comforting to believers that the LORD hears and answers prayers despite our failures. Why? Because our LORD is merciful, loving, and longsuffering!

 

Is He your God?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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