“Exalt the Lord our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!” (Psalm 99:5)
“One feels most happy when blowing the trumpet of jubilee, proclaiming peace to broken hearts, freedom to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. But God’s watchman has another trumpet, which he must sometimes blow; for thus saith the Lord unto him, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain.” Times there are when we must ring the tocsin; men must be startled from their sleep, they must be roused up to enquire, “What are we? Where are we? Whither are we going?” Nor is it altogether amiss for the wisest virgins to look to the oil in their vessels, and for the soundest Christians to be sometimes constrained to examine the foundations of their hope, to trace back their evidences to the beginning, and make an impartial survey of their state before God.” Charles H. Spurgeon, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, 1862.
Spurgeon was addressing in this sermon introduction the subject of holiness in general, and the holiness of God in particular. It should come as no surprise that when considering the doctrine of holiness that the student is ultimately drawn to examine the doctrine of the holiness of God.
The LORD is the source of holiness. He is the dispenser of justifying holiness in declaring sinners righteous before Him. He is also the same Lord who commands each believer to live before Him, and others, in an ever growing, sanctifying holiness. What the believer is in position before God, justified, he/she is also to be in life and living before God and their fellow man, sanctified. In other words, since each believer has received the nature of God at conversion, this new nature must be displayed in the way each believes lives their Christian life.
One of the most significant psalms, which speaks of the Lord’s holiness, is Psalm 99. Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “The theme of this psalm is summed up in its last phrase: “the LORD our God is holy” (v. 9). The psalmist encourages praise to the king for his holiness (vv. 3, 5, 9), which is the utter separateness of God’s being from all other creatures and things, as well as his moral separateness from sin.”
For the next several days, we will devote our time to examine Psalm 99 in its entirety. It is my desire that each of us come away with a renewed appreciation and awe for the holiness of our LORD.
In 1987, my family and I were living in West Michigan. I was serving as a youth pastor in Greenville, a growing bedroom community of Grand Rapids. It was at this time that I took the young people of our church to a Christian concert in Downtown G.R. The concert featured musician and songwriter, Michael W. Smith.
Michael did not have a backup band accompanying him that evening at the sold out arena. It was just him and a grand piano on stage. However, what a wonderful worship service it was.
In the midst of his singing and sharing, he sang a simple chorus I had never heard before, or since. It has never appeared on any of his C.D.’s to my knowledge, and he never sang it at any of his future concerts I attended. The chorus was taken directly from today’s text, Psalm 99:5.
Exalt the LORD our God, Exalt the LORD our God. And worship at His footstool, And worship at His footstool. Holy is He. Holy is He.
For me, this chorus was the high-point of the evening’s concert. I trust that this study of Psalm 99 may prove to be a highlight of our study of holiness.
Soli deo Gloria!