Read Psalm 99.
When I was 17, the church I attended placed a new pastor. He was different from any pastor I’d known – a man truly focused on applying his faith to everyday life and not just to Sunday worship service. He led mine and my wife’s pre-marital counseling and presided over our wedding. He shepherded me during the loss of my dad. He was with me at the hospital on a Christmas eve and Christmas morning for my wife’s emergency surgery. He helped me field dress my first deer. He taught me a lot of lessons, one of which included his belief that God was the author of everything good in my life. On more than one occasion he’d chastise me when I referred to or used the word luck. I can still remember him saying something like, “Lynnbo, you knot head – I’ve told you there’s no such thing as luck! It’s all about God working in your life.”
James 1:16 & 17 says
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…”
My belief, and that of my old pastor in the truth of this passage is the basis for our believing that there’s no such thing as luck. The good in my life are gifts from God – my wife, children, grandchildren, friends, health, job, country, and on and on I can go. I find a lot of peace in knowing that my heavenly father is the author of what I’d otherwise chalk up to good luck.
So, it's not luck that our look at Psalm 99 is occurring at the time we've been studying God's story in and around the Old Testament lives of the children of Israel. The Psalm begins with language reminiscent of that used in Genesis through Judges as God is described and as He describes himself. All Powerful – “...let the earth quake!” Just, Merciful, and Righteous – characteristics ordained to be representative of the King and all of us (Micah 6:8). And most of all, Holy - a concept I'm unsure I'll fully comprehend this side of eternity. All of this is language that reorients my perspective on God as not only father, but as Lord and Creator.
References to Moses, Aaron, and Samuel in the latter part of the Psalm are more familiar now as their stories are fresh on my mind thanks to our bible reading plan. It's like reading about old friends and being reminded of how God heard their prayers and forgave them. The timelessness of the message in this part of the Psalm is reinforced in the New Testament when Christ tells us in Luke 11:9 to ask, seek, and knock and again in the promise of I John 1:9 that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive.
It’s no wonder that we’re admonished twice in this short Psalm to exalt the Lord our God, for He is holy! How can we help but exalt the Lord our God who in his holiness, also shows his nature to be attentive, gracious, and forgiving.
My hope and prayer for you and me as we travel through life is that we will in fact and with frequency exalt the Lord our God, because we personally know his nature.
-- Lynn Pace