Psalm 99

God is holy.  For that reason alone the peoples of the earth tremble, for none is worthy to stand before the King.  Justice, equity, righteousness—all these are the fruits of His holiness.  For these, He is worthy of worship and praise, for there is none other worthy to judge the thoughts and intents of men—only He.  The writer lists the great men of faith, such as Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, all of whom called upon the Lord, and God answered them.  Though men may be unworthy, yet God desires relationship with them, and these men were vessels of His will.  They humbled themselves before the Lord, acknowledged their unworthiness, and submitted themselves wholly to the Lord.  Notice what the writer includes about these men in verse 8: “You were to them the God-Who-Forgives; though You took vengeance on their deeds.” 

God demonstrated to and through them His willingness to establish direct relationship and to forgive sin—yet sin still had consequences in their lives.  For instance, though Moses is considered one of the greatest leaders of all time, he was also called the most humble man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).  Still, like every other man, he was not perfect.  His disobedience in striking the rock for water instead of speaking to it prevented Moses from ever entering the Promised Land.  God loved Moses, but the consequences of sin still kept Moses from experiencing God’s complete plan for his life.

So in our lives, God has promised forgiveness; but many of the consequences of past sin remain with us, some only temporarily, some for a lifetime.  A murderer who is saved in prison must still live out his sentence in a physical, earthly prison.  But the point is that he is forgiven, and that his soul truly is free.  And he can rest in the knowledge that God is His God, that He is the God-Who-Forgives, and that there is a place waiting for him where he will dwell with the Lord forever.  God is holy, but He has made those who humble themselves before Him and seek Him first holy through His Son Jesus.  It is His free gift through faith.

—Mark Knoles

Maxim of the Moment

Rare is the one you can long hold dear.