12 December Psalm 99: 1–5
Psalm 99 is the last of a group of Psalms known as the
Enthronement Psalms. The emphasis is on God as King. The
imagery is that of a human king and all the trappings that went with
kingship in the world at the time. But God the King is king not just of
the Hebrew peoples but king of the whole earth, filled with power
to make the peoples ‘tremble’ and the earth itself to ‘quake’; high
and exalted and awesome in the power of his name. Holy is he.
The kings of the nations had such power but they tended to use it to
dominate and enslave their peoples. The God of Israel is not like
them. The God-King may be the Mighty One but unlike earthly
rulers who rule with military might, the God-King is a lover of
justice and righteousness, treating his subjects with equity, ruling
from Zion, enthroned upon the cherubim [a reference to the Ark of
the Covenant]. Holy is he.
Therefore, his people worship him, extol his greatness. They have a
totally different relationship with their God-King whom they
worship freely, thankfully, and with love. It is this relationship that
Christians have with the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ,
who welcomes them into his kingdom in Christ, with Christ, through
Christ. They live in a response that is loving and expressed in
worship, in devotion and in service and which seeks to reflect the
qualities the psalmist sees in the God-King – justice, righteousness
and equity. Holy is he.
Living and Holy God, you are the One who transforms the world and the
people in it not by military might but by love, a love we see expressed fully
in the Cross of Jesus Christ. In Advent we prepare ourselves to celebrate his
incarnation among us – the One who comes to be like us so that we, and
the whole world, might be like him. We worship you and praise your Holy
Name and commit ourselves to walking in his way, seeking justice, loving
righteousness, treating all with equity – the values of your Kingdom – as
we live day by day. Holy is he.