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The Prophet in this Psalm, as in several of the preceding, is still engaged in sounding forth the high praises of the kingdom of God in Christ. In the latter part, the Psalmist refers to several of the Old Testament Prophets, as examples in the Church, of praising the Lord.
God's sovereignty and reign is first spoken of in the opening of this Psalm, as a cause for holy fear to all the earth. And this perfection of Jehovah is held forth as the reason for universal homage and reverence. Fear ye not me, saith the Lord? Will ye not tremble at my presence? Jeremiah 5:22 . But, as if the Lord had a peculiar eye to the comfort of his Church, he adds, in the latter part of the verse, God's sitting between the cherubim, or on the mercy-seat, whence the Lord promised to speak to his people, Exodus 25:21-22 . Reader! what a lovely representation is this of Jesus, our mercy-seat, and God's propitiatory! And are not all the sweet words of grace which we hear spoken to us, in and by Jesus? 1 Samuel 4:4 ; Numbers 7:89 .
Still looking to Zion, the Psalmist in this verse praiseth the Lord's greatness, sovereignty, and grace. Reader! in how eminent a manner hath Jehovah manifested his greatness, goodness, and glory, in the person and work of his dear Son!
I do not presume to speak decidedly upon this, or any other part of the divine word. As one indeed treading holy ground, I would put off the shoes from my feet. But I would humbly ask, is not this call upon the church twice repeated with only a little variation, in conformity to the plan of adoration observed above? Did not Isaiah; did not the beloved John behold somewhat of these glorious acts of adoration and praise? See Isaiah 6:1-3 , and Revelation 4:2 , to the end. Reader! what can more strikingly prove, so far as our present capacities are capable of conceiving anything of this sublime subject, the glorious doctrine of the Holy Three in One, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? And observe, how this worship is offered, both in heaven and upon earth, at the footstool; that is, through the mercy-seat, the propitiatory, even Christ Jesus. There is no approaching Jehovah but in and by him. Neither can there be any real apprehension of the existence of a threefold character of persons in the Godhead, but through this Mediator. John 14:6 .
If I mistake not, the introduction of these eminent servants of God in this place, in order to show the Church how they approached to worship the Lord, and were heard and answered, is with a view to encourage all the Lord's heritage to approach, and in the same way; for it was at the mercy-seat, meaning Christ. In him they were heard; and for his sake they were accepted. Exodus 16:10-11 ; Numbers 12:5 .
Perhaps this is particularly added concerning those eminently gracious men, to show us, that notwithstanding the sanctity of their character, they were men of like passions with ourselves. Therefore the sole cause of their acceptance was in Christ. Oh! what a blessed thought of encouragement to every true believer of the Church now! How ought it to beget in saints a solemn reverence for God's holiness! How ought it to excite humble joy and confidence, that we have Jesus, our Holy One, to approach to an holy God in!
The Psalm beautifully concludes with repeating a third time the strongest of all arguments for praising Jehovah; the holiness of his nature: and what hath so highly exalted that glory to our view, and love, and praise, as the holiness of Christ Jesus? Hebrews 7:26 .
AFTER reminding both the Reader and myself of all the blessed causes which this delightful Psalm contains, to join with the sacred writer in ascribing "glory to him that sifted, upon the throne, and to the Lamb that was slain, forever and ever, " I would desire to recommend his attention, and my own, to what is said concerning those servants of the Lord, Moses, and Aaron, and Samuel. We are told that they called upon the Lord, and were answered. But though God forgave them, yet took he vengeance of their inventions. The solemn consideration of this account, suggests several very interesting and weighty reflections.
First, We learn from it, that God's choicest servants have their inventions; and the best of men, after all, are but sinners. Aaron offended, and but for the intercession of Moses, would have fallen. Here Christ, surely, in his glorious, all-prevailing intercession, was eminently represented. Moses himself neglected to sanctify the Lord in the eyes of the people, when presumptuously joining himself with the Lord, he cried out, Must WE fetch you water out of the rock? and Eli's partiality to his children made him too easy to their vices. Alas! who among the fallen sons of Adam, hath escaped the common taint of sin?
Secondly, we learn, that these sins of God's people are displeasing to the Lord, and that he takes vengeance for them. Though their persons and their offerings are accepted in Christ, yet their corruption shall bring with it chastisement. And when a child of God feels the rod of God, as a kind correcting father, and cries out under it, Thou art righteous in all that is come upon us, for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly; this is what is called in Scripture, accepting the punishment of our iniquity and this manifests the holiness of God, and prevents the abuse of his covenant-mercy in Christ.
Lastly, God hearing the prayers of his servants, and answering them, notwithstanding their inventions, of which he takes vengeance, teacheth us the whole cause wherefore it is that saints are accepted, and sinners saved; namely, on the sole account of the covenant-love and faithfulness of God our Father, in and for the sake of the blood and righteousness of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, Reader, what a blessed consideration it is, that God still owns his covenant relationship; and Jesus's blood and righteousness still plead for mercy. The corrections of our God and Father, are not to satisfy his justice, for that Christ hath done; but for the display of his holiness and love. And, amidst all our unworthiness, the merit of Jesus still remains the same. Blessed, forever blessed be God, for Jesus Christ! Lord, give us grace to serve with fear, and rejoice with trembling. May we ever exalt the Lord our God, and worship him in his holy hill: for the Lord our God is holy.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 99". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany