Psalm 99 (NRSV)
Verse 1The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
Verse 2The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples.
Verse 3Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he!
Verse 4Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Verse 5Extol the Lord our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!
Verse 6Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the Lord, and he answered them.
Verse 7He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them.
Verse 8O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Verse 9Extol the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy.
This psalm about God's holiness remembers God's response to Moses and Aaron and Samuel's call to intervene against Israel's sinfulness. Though the sinful people trembled at the thought of God's presence, they learned firsthand that God comes to bear their sin and to comfort them. In holiness God drew near to keep, guide, and forgive the people.
Remembering God's presence in our lives, we too experience God's judgment and mercy for our sinfulness. The gospel of our Lord convicts and frees us of sin's power. God's holy presence transforms our everyday lives. Psalm 99 teaches how our God is committed to us and enacts justice and righteousness in our midst. It is thus fitting that Jesus taught us to pray, "Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:9-10). These are words of transformation illuminated by God's presence, now and forever.
Holy God, you have joined us to yourself, forever bearing our burden of sin and comforting us. By your Spirit may we live with you and one another in justice and mercy. Amen.