Holiness is a foreign concept in our secular society. This is not surprising, since the opposite of holy is secular, or common. So how can we understand what it mean to pray “hallowed be Your name?”
Today’s devotional reading will be greatly enhanced by this well-known hymn by Reginald Heber (1783-1826).
Psalm 99 – The Lord Our God Is Holy
1 The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2 The Lord is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the Lord our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the Lord, and he answered them.
7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.
8 O Lord our God, you answered them;
you were to them God-Who-Forgives,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9 Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the Lord our God is holy!
Observations and reflections
- A simple way of understanding the message of the psalmist is by rewriting the Psalm in your own words:
- This psalm is a lesson to us.
- What is the chore call of this Psalm? (hint: look for repetition verses 3, 5, 9)
- This Psalm has three main lessons about our relationship to the Holy God (hint: look before the repeated phrases, i.e. at verses 2, 4, 6-8)
- Mark the (a) names of God and (b) attributes of God praised in this psalm.
Personal reflection and Prayer
To say that God is holy means that he is not like us, that his ways are different, and that his character and nature is unique. And this is the call of praise in Psalm 99: God is high above all people, his governance shows no favouritism, is fair and free of corruption; yet although God is awesome and untouchable he saves those who call on Him, has relationship with sinful people, forgives freely yet punishes wrongdoing.
- What makes God unique in your eyes? Tell him that.
- In your own words pray along the lines of this Psalm:
- Tell God in which way He more powerful than humans, angels or any force in creation.
- Praise God for his
- justice without corruption
- mercy: His saving and forgiving nature
- that He is relational, and cares about you too.