Today: [Psalm 99-101] The Rule of God, Joy, Mercy and Judgment. In the 3 psalms we study today we consider the rule of God that reigns over all the earth. Does Satan rule in defiance of God? Is Satan equal yet opposite in the character of his rule where God is concerned? We will answer this question in our study today and also study the joy of God as a compenent of the kingdom and the mercy of God as His first choice for man.
[Psa 99:1-9 KJV] 1 The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth [between] the cherubims; let the earth be moved. 2 The LORD [is] great in Zion; and he [is] high above all the people. 3 Let them praise thy great and terrible name; [for] it [is] holy. 4 The king’s strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob. 5 Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; [for] he [is] holy. 6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them. 7 He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance [that] he gave them. 8 Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions. 9 Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God [is] holy.
Psalm 99 is attributed to David but is authorship is unknown. One scholar suggests Moses wrote it but since it mentions Samuel that is not likely. In verses 1-5 we see the emphasis that the “Lord reigneth” which is the premise of all believe in a supreme God. Our heavenly Father governs the world in His sovereignty and the church by His grace. God not only lives, but He also reigns. Regardless of what we see taking place in the affairs of men or natural cataclysm we know that there is no competing power to the power of God.
This is an important point because there is an unexpressed hypothesis in Christian culture that somehow in worldly affairs that Satan is equal yet opposite to God. The thought is never expressed quite that way but there is very little emphasis in popular dialog in Christianity on the limitations of Satan and the fact there everything he does and does not do is bounded, restricted and limited on every side by the hand of God. Part of this is the teaching that somehow Satan successfully carried off a rebellion in heaven and lived to tell about it. The popular idea of Satan depicts him as sitting on a throne in hell with a pitchfork in his hand. Where is this thinking in the bible? The very first mention of Satan in the bible is Gen. 3:1 which depicts him as a member of the animal kingdom –specifically a serpent.
[Gen 3:1 KJV] 1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
The law of first mention applies here as well as other versus which is expressed as:
The so-called law of first-mention is “the principle in the interpretation of Scripture which states that the first mention or occurrence of a subject in Scripture establishes an unchangeable pattern, with that subject remaining unchanged in the mind of God throughout Scripture…”
With that in mind Satan is presented to us first in scripture as a creature over which Adam and Eve had total and complete dominion – a lesser being. Which glorifies Satan more? A doctrine showing him as the successful provocateur of civil war in the heavens against God Himself – or as a lowly and despicable creature lesser than man himself who rebelled as a beast of the field?
This is a subject we could study at length but take this mention thus far and consider as a topic of deliberation and prayer. There is no rule in heaven or on earth but the rule of God. Satan is a usurper. He holds no authority that he did not steal in fact from man himself. Satan is incapable of changing his position on the earth or of overthrowing God. All he can successfully do is what he did in the beginning – to deceive foolish men and women into relinquishing their eternal souls and thus share his fate.
Verses 6-9 declare that we may call upon the Lord that reigns over all just like Moses, Aaron and Samuel did. This verse above all suggests David wrote the psalm because he had a deep respect for Samuel. It wasn’t long after David was anointed by Samuel that the prophet passed away but from that day till the day of David’s death Samuel was the most powerful influence upon his life. If Samuel had not identified David as God’s anointed and chosen king we would not have ever known his name. Samuel was great not within himself but because from his youth he knew that he could call upon God and that God would answer him. In fact the question in the light of Samuel’s example is not whether God will answer us but rather we will answer God – as Samuel did as a young boy.
God spoke to Moses and Aaron from the pillar of a cloud – outside themselves. That wasn’t good enough for God or he would still be speaking in this way. We tend to want some outward manifestation to overcome our innate unbelief. We must be careful here or we tread the path of the idolator. Idolatry proposes the dwelling place of God to be other than the human heart. We admit to unbelief when we want to see something, hear something, experience something outward as validation of God speaking or manifesting Himself in our midst. Jesus taught directly against this:
[Luk 17:20-21 KJV] 20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
So the pillar and the cloud is something that is on the inside of us. The voice of God in the New Covenant originates in our own lives in a very personal way as Isaiah prophesied of:
[Isa 30:21 KJV] 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Hence for us the Holy Hill referenced in the last verse of this psalm is something on the inside of us – not a building, or any accouterment of religious infrastructure or outward dependency.
[Psa 100:1-5 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm of praise.]] Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the LORD he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name. 5 For the LORD [is] good; his mercy [is] everlasting; and his truth [endureth] to all generations.
We cannot overestimate the power and importance of joy in our lives. Paul declared that joy is a component of what the kingdom actually is:
[Rom 14:17 KJV] 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Notice that it doesn’t say that the kingdom BRINGS these things (righteousness, peace and joy) it IS these things. The scope and power of joy is a broad and as powerful as the kingdom itself. This is why Psalm 2 declares:
[Psa 2:4 KJV] 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
This not only applies to God – it applies to us as being seated with Christ according to the teaching of Paul to the Ephesians:
[Eph 2:6 KJV] 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:
We can therefore measure our own spiritual well-being by the level of joy (or absence thereof) in our life. If our joy is absent there is an indication of a very deep fracture in our spiritual self that should receive our utmost attention to ascertain the cause of it and make the corrections necessary to place ourselves and find ourselves in a disposition before God of righteousness, peace and joy.
[Psa 101:1-8 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm of David.]] I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. 2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me. 4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked [person]. 5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. 6 Mine eyes [shall be] upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. 7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. 8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.
This is a psalm of the mercy and the judgment of God. James 2:13 says that mercy rejoices over judgment. In the New Testament apocalypse there is no mention of the tribe of Dan because Dan is the lawgiver and judge in Old Testament metaphor. God’s highest and fullest expression of Himself is that of mercy and clemency toward His people. When other than God’s mercy is experienced in the lives of men it is because of choices that we make not preferences that God would choose for us. God is a God of mercy who chooses mercy as our portion. Hell is a reality and it is true that most men and women who have ever lived will spend an eternity there – however Matt. 25:41 tells us that hell was prepared for Satan and his minions not for man. God choice for us is mercy. Judgment or anything other than mercy is a consequence of man’s choices and not God’s plan for any man.
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