Psalm 99:  Worship at His Holy Hill

Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.  Psalm 99:9

 

In Praise of God’s Holiness and Forgiveness

 

Psalm 99, the last of a set of royal psalms that began with Ps. 93, praises God as the King of His people.  The psalmist calls al humankind to exalt God because He is holy and because He forgives those who call on Him.  God’s holiness.  “Holy” is a technical term.  The major emphasis in the concept of holiness is to make a sharp distinction between that which is secular and what is sacred.

99:1, 2 The cherubim are the angels most closely related to the glory of God.  Two gold cherubim graced the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:18-22).  Let the earth be moved:  Since God is the great King, the stability of the earth depends on Him; He can shake the world to demonstrate His power over it.  Great in Zion: The holy temple in Jerusalem was the earthly structure for God’s heavenly presence.  But His reign extends throughout the entire world.

1  The Lord reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! 2  The Lord is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples.

99:2 awesome name:  The name of God is a blessing and comfort; it also evokes awe and wonder.  Holy means to be “distant” or “distinct from.”  This is the principal Hebrew word used to describe the transcendence of God (113:4-6).

3  Let them praise Your great and awesome name– He is holy 4  The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

99:5 The footstool of the Lord is sometimes said to be the earth (Is. 66:1); but more specifically, Zion is the Lord’s footstool (132:7; Is. 60:13).  When the Israelites came to the temple in Jerusalem to worship, they pictured themselves as being at the feet of the creator.

5  Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His footstool– He is holy.

99:6 The psalmist worshiped God by recalling His saving acts to their predecessors.  Moses is mentioned by name in the Psalms several times, as is Aaron.  This psalm is the only one to mention Samuel by name.  He answered:  The inference is clear – the Lord heard their prayers and did not remain silent.  Since God answered the prayers of our ancestors, surely He will continue to answer the prayers of those who call upon Him.

6  Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them. 7  He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar; They kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them. 8  You answered them, O Lord our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, Though You took vengeance on their deeds.

99:9 His holy hill:  As in 2:6, the site of Zion is “holy” because of the presence of the Lord.  This holy hill is also His “footstool.”

9  Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.

** God is holy.  He is distant and distinct.  He transcends everything we know.  Yet, He is so near to those who call on Him. He can and did cover the gap between Him and us.  Immanuel.


The LORD’s Faithfulness to Israel

99 3  Let them praise Your great and awesome name– He is holy. 4  The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. 5  Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His footstool– He is holy. 6  Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them. 7  He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar; They kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them. 8  You answered them, O Lord our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, Though You took vengeance on their deeds. 9  Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.