Psalm 99: The Lord Reigns

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Psalm 99

Remember that our God is holy, separate, and apart from us in two senses:

  • He is transcendent. He is an almighty, all-wise spirit being who is “wholly other” than this physical universe He has created. He is above us and our world in character, quality, and authority.
  • He is pure. He is separate from us morally, totally untainted by our sinfulness. He is perfect, above all weakness and impurity.

These two aspects of God’s holiness are brought together in Psalm 99. It pictures God as King – not just a king, or even a great king, but as the sovereign King over all the earth. He is transcendent: both the earth and all its peoples tremble in His presence (v.1).

His throne is above the cherubim (v.1). The immediate image is perhaps the mercy seat, the lid of the ark of the covenant, which was in the Holy of Holies in the temple. It was in “Zion,” a poetic name for the temple mount, considered God’s dwelling place on earth. But the image is actually more vast than that. Cherubim were winged creatures that suggest the power and mobility of God. Our transcendent God’s throne is not an earthly one, but is the mighty, winged creatures of heaven itself.

He is not a local god or a national god, but the sovereign God, king over all the earth. All peoples of every nation are called to worship Him.

He is exalted above all the peoples (v.2). He is high and lifted up, and our only logical response to His greatness is to exalt Him and worship Him (vv.5, 9). We worship at His footstool (v.5), for how could we but humble ourselves before such a magnificent Being?

Consider this: How do you respond to God day by day? How could you respond to Him in a way more appropriate to who He is? One of the keys to stability through life’s ups and downs is to remember who He is. On days when you are prone to anxiety, how could you remind yourself about the sovereign love, wisdom, and power of the God you trust?

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