6Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the Lord, and he answered them.
7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; they kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them.
8 O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy! Psalm 99:6-9
We recognized from the beginning of this Psalm in verses 1-8 that the LORD reigns! The throne upon which he sits, the “cherubim” (verse 1) are fearsome beings described in detail by the prophet Ezekiel in chapters 1, 10-11. Verses 3 and 5 of this Psalm end with the statement “Holy is He,” as the opening verses establish the supremacy of God and His love of justice and righteousness.
As we continue today with verses 6-9, we see that the Psalmist now gives examples from Israel’s past great men of faith. Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, those who had in the past called on the Lord (the one who reigns and makes the earth quake in verse 1) and He answered their prayers. Though they clearly had their faults, He was a “forgiving God,” an “avenger of their wrongdoings.” (verse 8) We know from scripture that they stumbled in ways that had unchangeable consequences. God still forgave them. For instance, Moses angered God so much at one point that it cost him being able to cross into the Promised Land. Sin has consequences. But we also know he was forgiven. We see him 1500 years later with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17.
Our Psalmist then brings the Psalm to a close encouraging the reader to “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!” (verse 9) Note the difference? He went from “Holy is He” in 99:3 and 5 to “LORD our God” twice in verse 9. Why is this noteworthy? Having established the supremacy of the LORD, the God who reigns enthroned upon His fearsome cherubim, one would tend to think He is too far away, too set apart, saying “Holy is He.” These mighty men of God obeyed God, but were also human. They had their failings just like you and me. Their wrongdoings had consequences (just as ours do), but they were still heard by God and received answers from Him who makes the “earth quake.”
This Psalmist brings it in even closer, saying to the people, “Exalt the LORD OUR God…for the LORD OUR God is holy!” (verse 9) This same LORD who heard and answered these mighty men will hear and answer you! Why? Because He’s OUR God! Yours and mine, along with Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. This truth is so important that Jesus drove it home when He told His disciples to pray to God saying, “Our Father.” No longer to be considered a far-away impersonal being only approached through priests or prophets, but as scripture states, 14“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, buy whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:14-15)
Yes, the LORD will punish wrongdoing. Yes, He disciplines those He loves. But as scripture says, 8“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)
Prayer for Today: Father, thank You for being a loving and personal Savior and Lord, a God who hears and is willing to answer prayer. Lord, reveal in me any unconfessed sin or areas in my life that hinder my relationship with You. Show me my wrongdoings that I might receive forgiveness and restoration in Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen!