The first five verses of Psalm 99 are a call to praise God as the Almighty Lord, the Great King, the One worthy of worship. Verse four focused my attention on God’s attributes of being just, fair and righteous. One aspect of these attributes is that no one is exempt or above the Law. This truth means that there has to be a penalty for our sin.

The second portion of this psalm reminds us that God mercifully answered individuals who cried out to Him. They experienced troubles and trials causing them to recognize their need for God and their own shortcomings. And they called on the Lord and He answered (verse six). Verse eight says God forgave them, yet He punished their evil deeds in line with His attributes of being Just and Righteous.

It’s true that Moses and Aaron were priests and Samuel was a Judge, but we are priests today (1 Peter 2:9). When we cry out to God today, He answers. God promises to forgive and not hold our confessed sins against us, thereby restoring our relationship with Him. Thank you Lord for being merciful.

Though God forgives us, we don’t get a pass on the consequences of our wrong choices. God’s forgiveness does not remove our memories of our sin nor does it necessarily heal or restore our relationships with other people. Help us Lord not to view Your gracious salvation as an excuse to sin or to make soft choices, but as another reason to praise You as the Almighty Lord.

by Rick Hays, Deacon

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