Our Place At God's Footstool
Psalm 99:5
Exalt you the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

And worship at his footstool; "Worship at his holy hill;" "Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" (Isaiah 66:1). To understand this figure two things must be considered:

(1) the peculiarity of Eastern thrones;

(2) the peculiarity of Eastern salutations.

Eastern thrones were high erections, so that the king, seated in his place, might be exalted (see expression in psalm) high above the people. The seat was reached by a series of steps; the bottom step was known as the "king's footstool," and the suppliant for the king's mercy, or the man who brought presents as signs of loyalty, showed his humility and reverence by venturing no further than the footstool. Solomon had made a throne of ivory, overlaid with gold, which had six steps, with six lions on each side. Salutations in the East were very elaborate, and approaches to a superior, especially when a request had to be made, involved bending right to the ground.

I. KEEPING AT A DISTANCE AS A SIGN OF HUMILITY AND AWE. Illustrated by Moses turning aside to see the bush that was burning, but was not being consumed. He heard a Divine voice saying, "Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." When the people were facing the Mount Sinai, whereon God was manifesting his glory, extreme care was taken to keep the people at a becoming distance. "Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it; whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death." The symbol of the Divine presence was placed in the dark chamber known as the holy of holies, and no one dared go near, save the high priest once a year, and then not without incense and blood. These are picture teachings of the humility in worship we must cherish, which will be our "spiritual distance-keeping."

II. KEEPING ON THE BOTTOM STEP AS A SIGN OF OUR GODLY FEAR. It is the suppliant's proper place; but it is more especially the place for that suppliant who knows his sin, asks for forgiveness, yet justly fears the king's indignation. Until the king reaches out his golden sceptre to be touched, a sinful suppliant dare venture no further than the bottom step. And that is our fitting place, because we never can go into the Divine presence without the sense of our sin filling us with godly fear. - R.T.

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!

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