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Summary: The holy God reveals Himself first to Zion, and to the ends of the earth.

THE AWESOMENESS AND NEARNESS OF GOD

Psalm 99

The kingship of the LORD is awesome: it makes the people (or peoples) to “tremble” at His presence (Psalm 99:1). He is totally ‘other’ - dwelling between the cherubim, enthroned in heaven. He created all things, and even the earth “shakes” at his presence!

There is a correlation between the concept of the LORD dwelling “between the cherubim” (Psalm 99:1), and the LORD being great “in Zion” (Psalm 99:2). The ‘mercy seat’ in the Temple was adorned with cherubim. This awesome God - who is “high above all peoples” - has revealed Himself to Zion. It is therefore incumbent upon all peoples to acknowledge Him (Psalm 99:3).

Psalm 99 provides us with a threefold refrain: His name is holy (Psalm 99:3); He is holy (Psalm 99:5); the LORD our God is holy (Psalm 99:9). This is echoed throughout Scripture (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). Yet the reign of the LORD is manifested not through the wielding of His power: but through the establishment of impartiality (Acts 10:34-35); justice (Genesis 18:25); and righteousness (Psalm 99:4).

In the Hebrew language the word for “holy” carries with it not only the meaning of ‘being set apart’ - but also the idea of betrothal. Thus the transcendence of God becomes immanent as he reveals Himself first to Zion (Psalm 99:2), and then through them to the peoples of the earth. The duty of God’s people has always been to “proclaim” the LORD, and “worship” at His footstool (Psalm 99:5).

Moses, Aaron and Samuel were priests who knew the joy of answered prayer (Psalm 99:6). We can have access to the living God, even today, when we make our approaches through the blood of Jesus.

The cloudy pillar (Psalm 99:7) no doubt represents another aspect of the awesomeness of God. He speaks, and we must obey. It also represents His nearness. We speak, and He answers (Psalm 99:8).

He is “the God who forgives” - but still must take vengeance upon wrongdoing (Psalm 99:8). Our sins are avenged in the sacrifice of His ‘beloved Son’ (Luke 9:35) - and He purifies us through the blood of His Chosen. Thus He is ‘both just, and the justifier of all who have faith in Jesus’ (Romans 3:26).

Worshiping “in His holy hill” (Psalm 99:9) is synonymous with worshiping “at His footstool” (Psalm 99:5). Zion is both His footstool and His holy hill. Again we are reminded of our duty of proclamation and worship (Psalm 99:9).

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