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Psalm 99 – God Is Holy

Andy Yung

Psalm 99:1-9 NIV

This is a psalm that praises the holiness of God. ‘Holy’ means ‘set apart’, ‘separate’.

Vs. 1-3

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.

His greatness should inspire reverent fear, “let the nations tremble... let the earth shake.” Everyone in all nations should praise Him.

God is holy because His name is “great and awesome”. God’s names encompass the characters of God, and are not merely names that we use to address Him. When we praise the names of God, we should thus think about the benefits of God and how good God has been to us. The characters of God are what sets Him apart and makes Him holy. No one is like God; His characters are so different from everyone, so awesome that the angels in heaven would call God, “Holy, holy, holy...” (Isaiah 6:3).

Vs. 4-5

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.

God’s mightiness and justice set Him apart. We can see God’s justice in Jacob’s life. He didn’t start out right, as he was a deceiver. But he changed as he allowed God to work in his life.

Although Jacob deceived his father Isaac into giving his wealth to him, he didn’t get to inherit it, as he had to run for his life out of fear for his brother Esau. God made sure Jacob didn’t receive what he tried to cheat from his brother. Instead, God helped Jacob to grow through a difficult time with his uncle Laban. In the end, God gave Jacob something far better, fulfilling the promise He gave Abraham through Jacob – Jacob was renamed Israel and from him came the 12 tribes of Israel. God is holy.

Vs. 6-7

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.

God spoke to the anointed priests then, and He speaks to us directly now. Have we heard of any other gods who speak to their people? None. The many so-called gods of stone, metal and wood are not able to communicate with their worshippers. When we pray to God, we will hear Him. God is holy.

Vs. 8-9

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.

God is a forgiving God, but He also punishes the misdeeds of His people. This sets God apart from other so-called gods. We can come before God clean because we know that God knows. There is no need to hide.

Some think that if God were a forgiving God, then He would not punish. Can a forgiving God also be a punishing God? God can be both. He forgives and He punishes. For Christians, we can be confident even when we are punished for our misdeeds because we know that God also forgives us. Think about it, we’ve escaped the ultimate punishment of death, Hell, because of Jesus Christ. God is awesome! God is Holy indeed.

Andy Yung

Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit. Andy joined the Central Christian Church in 1990.

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