Psalms 93 to 100 celebrate the majesty and righteousness of God, with the exception of the imprecatory 94th Psalm. In Psalm 99, the Creator’s sovereign Kingship over His creation and Israel was acclaimed. The initial declaration addressed God’s eternal authority over His creation, and to those consciously aware of His rule, their palpable fear of the Lord guided their conduct (Ps 99:1). As if to reinforce his assertion of God’s unambiguous and overpowering presence, the psalmist characterised Him in His throne room, with the awesome manifestation of the cherubim, accompanied by the quavering foundations whenever He spoke or moved (c.f., Ps 18:6-15; Isa 6:1-5; Ezek 1:26-28; Ezek 10:1-22). Subsequently, Yahweh, is specifically introduced as the God of the Israelites, His covenant community, with His earthly throne in the temple at Zion or Jerusalem (Ps 99:2-3; Isa 2:3; c.f., Heb 12:18-24). Holiness is eternally synonymous with the Almighty, to the extent that anything and everything that is appropriated for His use or belonged to Him, is imbued with holiness; even the ashes from the burnt offerings must not be irreverently disposed (Lev 6:10-11). As believers in Christ, we belong to God, a holy people (1 Peter 2:9-10); where holiness ought to pervade our presence, being a sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place (2Cor 2:14-17). Furthermore, as a result of His holiness, God’s fairness and integrity is faultless: He cannot be corrupted nor can He be deceived, neither does He ever abuse His authority in His judgments over the sins of man (Ps 99:4-5).
Inescapably, when God is encountered, just as Moses, Aaron and Samuel did in their days (Ps 99:6-7), sinful humanity is always juxtaposed with His absolute holiness. Nevertheless, God chose to interact with His priests, prophets and kings, and through them with His people. He searched the hearts of men and women who kept His statutes and decrees, the righteous and impartial, who were faithful in their dealings with His people and possessed hearts that reflected His own gracious attitude. In His judgment over their rebellion against Him, God’s desire is to mercifully forgive them when they repented; this is exactly what He expected His leaders to do as they intercede on their people’s behalf (Ps 99:8; Ex 32:25-35; 1Sam 12:12-25; c.f., Ps 103:6-14). The human conundrum facilitates our desire to be masters over our lives, obviating the fact that we are created beings and meant to reflect the glory of our Creator in obedience (c.f., Col 1:16-20). Therefore, it becomes imperative that we come to terms with the fact that we have a sovereign King over us, and He demands our unambiguous submission. Acknowledging God to be God with all our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength implies that He enduringly occupies the centre in our lives. The alternative, not unlike what happened to the Israelites, we would have us skimming the contours of idolatry in disobedience!
Saul, the first King of Israel, was chosen against the backdrop of the people’s rejection of God as their King; where a fallible human king replaced an eternally faithful Sovereign (1Sam 8:1-9). Still, the Jewish kings were God’s representatives in worldly affairs, symbolic of the heavenly Son and King (c.f., Ps 2; Isa 6:1-5). With the advent of Christ in the New Testament, the Biblical titles comes into focus as He assumed the human roles of King (John 12:12-15; Mark 12:35-36) and Lord (Luke 2:11; Rom 10:9), where all of God’s authority is facilitated through Him (1Cor 15:20-28). Hence, God highly exalted Him above every created thing in heaven and on earth and will consummate all things in Him in the final analysis (Ps 99:8; c.f., Eph 1:7-10). All authority had been given to Him in heaven and on earth; He is worthy of our trust and worship.