The Lord Our God is Holy
Psalm 99:5
Exalt you the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

This is the last of the series of royal psalms, of psalms which celebrate the coming of Jehovah as King. The first of the series is Psalm 93. This opens with the announcement that 'Jehovah is King;' passes on to tell that his throne has been from everlasting, that he made the world, and that he rules it - rules the raging of the elements and the convulsions of political strife, of which that is the figure - and then concludes with one brief glance at his revelation of himself to his people, and the distinguishing glory of the house in which he deigns to dwell, 'Holiness becometh thine house forever' (Perowne). Three times over in this psalm is this declaration made of the Lord's holiness: After the setting forth of his great and terrible Name (ver. 3); then after telling of his equity, judgment, and righteousness (ver 5); and after the naming of the great saints of God who called on his Name, and to whom a gracious answer was vouchsafed (ver. 9). Consider -

I. THE MEANING OF THIS REPEATED WORD, "The Lord our God is holy."

1. It tells of his own personal nature and character. That he is of too pure eyes to behold iniquity; that not, as is the case oftentimes with men, holy deeds may hide an unholy heart, but that in all his thoughts, purposes, and in his inmost being, he is holy.

2. Of the constant character of his actions. For the trial of his people's faith he may at times seem to favour the ungodly and to cause the unrighteous to prosper, yet this is never because he is really on their side, but for quite other reasons; the main stream of his providential dealing is and has ever been clear on the side of righteousness and holiness, and hence men have learned that the Lord is holy in all his ways, and righteous in all his works.

3. Of his sympathies. Men have believed and been confident that, however dark their circumstances, the love and favour of God, the shining of his countenance, have been towards his people, and that they knew it (cf. Psalm 4:6, 7).

II. ITS TRUTH. This is shown:

1. By his acts and ways. The review of God's dealings with men - his tender mercies to them that fear him, and his fierce wrath against evil doers, all have proved this sure truth.

2. By those whom he has chosen to be his chief and most honoured servants. (See ver. 6.) Not the evil, the worldly, the impure, but such as these saints of God here told of.

3. The ritual of the Law. This also taught the same truth. The gods of the heathen made no pretensions to holiness or demand for it, but the Lord demanded it always and everywhere, and above all things else. Hence, that this may be impressed and indelibly engraved upon the minds of Israel, the whole ritual and manner of worship of the Law was arranged.

4. By his revealed Word and will. Holy Scripture makes clear the mind of God in this matter.

5. By the operations of his Spirit in their hearts. That inward witness for God ever sought to lead men to holiness. They could be in no doubt as to the Divine will, and, therefore, as to the Divine character.

III. ITS UNSPEAKABLE IMPORTANCE. Such great stress and emphasis was laid upon it for many reasons.

1. It kept up a perpetual protest against sin. Before this truth wickedness could not stand.

2. It furnished a standard by which to judge of all other religions. Did they or did they not lead to holiness?

3. It implied a constant inspiration towards the pursuit of holiness. It encouraged such pursuit, for it revealed the fact that God loved holiness, since he himself was holy.

4. It was the essential preparation for the kingdom of God.


1. To exalt the Lord God. In their hearts' worship and adoration; in their open confession of his Name; in their faithful obedience to his will.

2. Worship at his footstool. Such worship was his due. It aided the realization of God's presence, deepened the conviction of his holy and perfect nature, roused the affections of the heart, strengthened the resolves of the will, and helped mightily towards the attainment of like holy character in themselves. - S.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

WEB: Exalt Yahweh our God. Worship at his footstool. He is Holy!

The Holiness of God
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