The Lord Is King: Fearsome and Good

They cried to the Lord, and he answered them. (v. Psalm 99:6)

The paradoxical attributes of God are resumed in the second half of Psalm 99. In verses 1 through 5 we read of his fearsome splendor as he sits on the throne of heaven. In verses 6 to 9 we learn that in his goodness he descends to earth and speaks the common tongue of humanity. As the holy God of the Old Testament, Yahweh communed with individuals who kept his decrees and statutes (albeit through fear-inspiring clouds!). As the human king in the New Testament, God interjects himself into our sphere (John 1:29) and interacts with us face-to-face—through Jesus. In view of this, the fourth-century church father Athanasius wrote, "He became what we are so that we might become what He is."

Moses, Aaron, and Samuel called on his name (v. 6); remarkably, in his goodness, he answered them. He does the same for us today. "Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find" (Matt. 7:7).

Psalm 99 reminds us of the contrasting, but equally true characteristics of God. He reigns from the highest heavens, yet through a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night he talks to his saints. Through the incarnate Christ, he talks to us all.

Prayer: Lord, hear us when we cry, have mercy and answer!

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