May 6: Psalm 99

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May 6: Psalm 99

God’s holiness enthroned and encountered

Short meter 66.86                    Terra Beata (This is My Father’s World), p. 10

The Lord is King indeed! Let nations quake and fear!

He sits above the cherubim; the earth cannot draw near.

The Lord in Zion reigns, exalted over all;

Let nations praise His awesome name, most holy over all.

The power of the King delights in equity;

In Jacob You establish law, and rule most righteously.

Exalt the Lord our God, bow at His holy hill!

And at His footstool worship Him, forever holy still.

For Moses was His priest, and Aaron, too, did serve,

And Samuel was among those, too, who called upon the Lord.

God did receive their cry; He spoke from out the cloud;

His testimonies they obeyed, within His laws were found.

O Lord our God, You heard, and answer gave to them;

Were a forgiving God to them, and yet their deeds avenged.

Exalt the Lord our God, bow at His holy hill!

Behold, He is the Holy One, forever holy still.

Psalm 99 is among those psalms that speak of the Lord’s symbolic enthronement in that holy place of the “mercy seat” atop the Ark of the Covenant, overshadowed by the wings of the cherubim, behind the veil, within the Holy of Holies: “The Lord is King, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!” The psalm warns that the praise and adoration of God may not be separated from the doing of His will in holy obedience. As we read with regard to His three ancient servants, “They kept His testimonies, and the statute that He gave them.” The psalm likewise speaks of God’s reproving and forgiving the failings of these servants: “You were gracious to them, a forgiving God to them, and yet an avenger of their misdeeds.” The true Holy of Holies, however, that to which we ourselves draw near, is in “the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation (Heb. 9:11). The true “mercy seat” where God meets us is Christ our Lord. For us, to worship in the name of Jesus means to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). (Reardon, p. 195-196)

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