The Beauty of Holiness
My Maker and my God, fill me with Your insights; keep me true to them, all the way, to the very end.
Read PSALM 99
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 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
This psalm focuses on the holiness of God (3,7,9), which involves both his pardon of the sinner and his punishment of sin (8).
For Paul and Barnabas, this psalm would have encapsulated their feelings at the end of their first missionary journey. God had called them to minister to the nations and they had gone at his command. Their testimony was of how God had used them and had protected them, so all the glory was rightly his. The psalmist wants the focus of worship to be on the living God, Lord of the nations, who is worthy of our praise.
In particular the psalmist stresses the holiness of God, which finds expression in his desire for justice and right living. To give focus to their worship, he reminds the people of those whom God has raised up to service as leaders, priests and prophets. There was Moses, through whom the Law was given at Mount Sinai. Aaron, his brother, was the first high priest, who instructed them in worship in the tabernacle. Samuel, generations later, set up the school of the prophets and himself called people back to the Law. These men had key roles in establishing the fact that, in Israel, the Lord was their King. His word was to be heard and acted upon.
Of course, however willing the people were, human nature is such that they would not always do what God required. In those situations there were two consequences, because of who God is. They would be punished, either directly by God, or by him simply letting them discover for themselves the outcome of their choices. However, when they turned to him in repentance and cried to him in prayer, he was also discovered to be a forgiving God. That truth should reinforce our desire to worship him, for God is not only to be feared but also to be loved; and he still is today.
Let the light of God show up any darkness in your life and then let him cleanse you so that you can enjoy his love today, forgiven and accepted.
Holy One, You are the One who can keep me from falling. Your strength knows no limits. Fill again my spiritual reserves so that I will endure for You.
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