Tag Archive for Psalm 99

Psalm 99: How Does Holy God Respond to Sin?

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Psalm 99:8; Exodus 33:18-20; 34:5-7

When Psalm 99 says that God was “a forgiving God to them, and yet an avenger of their evil deeds” (v.8, NASB), it is affirming what God repeatedly emphasizes about Himself. He gladly, eagerly, lovingly forgives the sins of those who confess and turn away from their sin. But in His holiness, He will not simply overlook sin. God punishes those who do wrong.

Joshua warned the children of Israel about this when they chose to renew their covenant with God. Read Joshua 24:15-21.

When Moses asked God that he might know Him better, God revealed Himself both visually and verbally. As He passed by Moses, this is how He summarized Himself:

“The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” (Exodus 34:6-7, NASB)

Many in the world today think that because God is loving, He won’t punish us. Sometimes they even suggest that if God is so forgiving, why doesn’t He just forgive what we do, without all the demanding and threatening? They want a God who will let them continue to live as they please.

But remember what sin is:

  1. Sin is a deadly disease. Our loving God cannot simply ignore it. It separates His loved ones from their only source of life and peace. God will completely cure all those who allow Him.
  1. Sin is relational. It is a broken relationship with the Living God, and He longs to restore that relationship. But like any relationship, our relationship with God has two sides. God cannot repair our relationship with Him unless we are willing and participate. Unless the relationship is repaired, forgiving past sins does no good. It’s like taking an antidote for a deadly poison, then continuing to drink a big cup of that poison for every meal. The antidote is useless. The deadly danger is still flowing through our system until we turn away from its cause.

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?