In years past, mankind
lived in what would have been called a "theocentric" universe. That is,
a God-centered world! Theology, the study of God, was called the
"queen" of the sciences.
It is as if God has been demoted!
Man now is on the throne!
Our world today is anthropocentric,
Man is his own creator now! That's
basically what godless evolution says.
Man is his own saviour too! He can handle
and solve all his own problems ... that is, if he has any!
The news media, the university systems,
political parties (at least some of them), even social life in most
so-called modern countries go weeks if not months at a time ignoring
Yes, today's philosophy is the very opposite
of John the Baptist's who said of Jesus: "He must increase, but I must
decrease." John 3:30
Someone recently in America said that those
who trusted in Christ Jesus or God the Father were "weak minded,"
perhaps even "mentally unbalanced," and "not ready to face life in a
What would this heathen crowd say about
today's verse, Psalm 99:2? Again, it reads: "The
LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people."
The Name for God here, the LORD, is
"Jehovah." It appears 6519 times in the Bible! It is His predominant
Name and means "One Who Is!" That suggests He is eternally existent!
God Himself defined this Name to Moses as "I Am That I Am!" Exodus 3:14
There is none like Him! "Remember the
former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God,
and there is none like me." Isaiah 46:9
He is "great!" The Hebrew word "gadol"
means large in magnitude and extent. Extreme in intensity and
importance. The first time "gadol" is found in Scripture is Genesis
1:16, where the sun is said to be "the greater light to rule the
day." God is great! So is the sun! Isn't is something that the Lord
Jesus Christ is compared to the sun several times in the Bible? Psalm
19 does so as well as Malachi the Prophet.
"Zion" is Jerusalem, particularly its mount
on which the Temple rests! God is said to live there, in the Holy of
Holies, on the Mercy Seat, between the Cherubim! "Zion" grammatically
means "a parched place!" But, with the Lord there, even a desert place
can blossom like a rose! That's exactly what Isaiah said it would do
when the Lord returns to earth! See Isaiah 35:1
Next God is "high" above all the people!
"Rum," pronounced "room," means exalted, uplifted or raised! It's first
Bible occurrence dealt with the Ark of Noah. "And the flood was forty
days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and
up above the earth." The Ark was exalted, it being another Type
of Christ Jesus!
The noun for "people" here, in Hebrew "am,"
usually means people in this sense: one's own kindred, one's own
countrymen, one's own nation. It's not the word usually used for all
the tribes of the world. This exaltation of God is one acknowledged by
Israelites, His treasured possession! The Lord's people yet today
should exalt Him constantly!
Born-again friend, today magnify the Lord!
In prayer tell Him that your desire is that
He, being in Heaven, will be "hallowed" and "revered" by your life this
Exalt His Name!
Listen to Paul praise this great God: "Who
is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can
approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and
power everlasting. Amen." 1st Timothy 6:15-16
I agree with Paul, "Amen!"
"The LORD is great in Zion;
and he is high above all the people."
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The Lord is Holy!
He is to be feared in His awesome Glory!
He is also to be praised!
So says Psalm 99:3.
"Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy."
The opening words "let them praise"
translates one Hebrew verb, "yadah." Here it is an imperative ...
revealing that the Psalmist is really issuing a command! The "them" of
our verse indicates all the "people" of the earth.
Let me show you: "The
LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the
cherubims; let the earth be moved. The LORD is great in Zion;
and he is high above all the people. Let them praise thy great
and terrible name; for it is holy." Psalm 99:1-3
The word "yadah" in Hebrew actually means
"to throw or to hurl or to cast!" It is as if a worshipping follower of
the Lord wafts a word of praise heavenward from time to time! Launching
words of praise to Glory ... what a thought that is!
The exact action of this verb requires
constant ongoing praise too, not just an occasional season of
Praise God's Name! That means His Person,
His Essence, His very Being! "Shem," the noun for "name" in Hebrew, can
also mean fame or report or reputation or glory!
To praise God's Name is to glorify Him for
all He is!
But our verse today also tells us two things
about God's dear Name. It is great and it is terrible!
Great, "gadol," means large in magnitude and
extent. High, loud, mighty, eldest, important!
The second time the word is used in the
Bible, the first time when describing anything living, great sea
creatures are being created! The "whales" are said to be great! See
Genesis 1:21 --- "And God created great whales, and every living
creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after
their kind ...." This word for "whale" is "tanniyn" and is only
translated "whale" 3 times in the Bible. Of it's 28 appearances, it is
rendered "dragon" 21 times and "serpent" 3 times" and "sea monster" 1
time! Such words usually typify the devil! God is greater than the
God's Name is also "terrible." In Hebrew
"yare" means fear! God is so mighty and so holy and so perfect that He
ought to inspire fear and trembling in our souls! Back to verse one of
Psalm 99 --- "The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth
between the cherubims; let the earth be moved." These are proper
responses to the terrible or revered or adored Name of God!
The often used expression for this awesome
feeling is "the fear of the Lord," found some 30 times in the Bible.
Then add 8 more times for "the fear of God."
God's Name is to be praised because He is
Holy! "Qadosh" means "set apart" or sacred! God is different! None is
like Him! He is without sin ... without any taint of it!
And a Holy God created a holy nation,
Israel! Read with me Exodus 19:6 and see the first use of "qadosh" in
the Bible:" "And ye (Israel) shall be unto Me (God) a kingdom of
priests, and an holy nation."
God then lives in a Holy Place, the
The word "qadosh" is 12 times rendered
"saints" in the King James Bible! A Holy God makes His children holy
One of the Lord's favorite Names for Himself
is ... "the Holy One!"
The old Puritans used to call our Lord the
"thrice Holy" God! That's due to Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 where we
read such things as: "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole
earth is full of his glory" or "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,
which was, and is, and is to come."
Today dear Christian brother or sister,
settle on some great trait of God, some quality of His Essence ... or
some great thing He has done for you lately ... and prayerfully "wing" a
word of thanks or praise to him in Heaven!
Loft it upward!
Adore and worship Him!
Put Him first in your life ... even with you
He is worthy!
More precisely, He is Holy and Great and
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
I call it a Psalm of "Worship."
It uses the word twice in its nine short
Yet Psalm 99 emphasizes something else too.
It incorporates the word "holy" into its
Text three times!
Therein is linkage I'm sure!
The Holy God of Heaven rightly expects our
worship and adoration.
But then look at one more trait of the 99th
Psalm as well.
It accents our lovely Lord in three ways.
In verse 1 He reigns on His Throne. He is
In verse 6 He is among a company of Priests,
And then by the end He is speaking to the
people, declaring to them the Word of God, the job of a Prophet!
Jesus is indeed Prophet ... and Priest ...
Look with me at verse 4 to illustrate.
"The king's strength also loveth judgment; thou
dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in
Jacob." Psalm 99:4
This King is the Lord Himself!
He is strong, but with a strength that is
linked to righteousness, not tyranny.
"Strength" (in Hebrew = "oz") is derived
from the a verb ("azaz") that means "to be stout." The first time the
word is used in the context of might is Genesis 49:3 where Reuben,
Jacob's "strength" is a moral failure!
But our strong God ... is Holy!
"Judgment" is "mishpat" and means the proper
verdict rendered by one in authority. Now our Lord, Who is King, is
Judge too! He doles out right decisions. This word also is used twice
in Psalm 99. God commends Abraham in Genesis 18:19 (first use) because
he taught his family to do justice and judgment. God loves such!
The Lord affirms and sets and ordains ("kun"
as a Piel, intensive action being implied) "equity." Here "meyshar" is
a Hebrew noun, occurring only 19 times in all the Bible! It means
evenness. God treats all by the same standard! No favoritism exists
here. Strangely, the word is plural too! God's fair dealings
proliferate. No exceptions! It can also mean "straight" in the sense
of "not crooked!"
To "execute" (Hebrew = "asah") means to do
or to make or to accomplish or to fashion! The King is again dispensing
right verdicts and demanding righteousness ("tzsadaqah"). It means
without guilt ... in a forensic and moral sense. God despises sin!
Again, He is holy!
And these traits, particularly attractive in
a Kingdom, are to be predominant in "Jacob," among God's people! His
Own nation, Israel, is to live righteously under His Rule! So today is
the Church to live godly!
Folks, our Saviour is a King too!
When He prophetically appears to John in
Revelation 19, riding a white horse of victory and returning to earth,
He has on His Head "many crowns!"
The King of Kings!
Praise His Name!
Pray with me today: "Lord, Thy Kingdom
If you are saved ... you're a child of the
Live like it!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The primary Old Testament word for "worship"
is "shachah." Its basic definition is "to bow down." It is found 172
times in the Old Testament.
Its first occurrence is in Genesis 18 where
Abraham "bowed himself
toward the ground" when he was met by three
guests (angels), One of Whom was the Lord.
Then again in Genesis 22, at the "sacrifice"
of Isaac, we read: "And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here
with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and
worship, and come again to you."
Psalm 99 even commands us to worship the
"Exalt ye the LORD our
God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy."
Yes, the verb "shachah" here is an
imperative! It is required of God's people to worship the true and
living God! The verb here is "hithpael" in form, suggesting reflexive
action! "People of God, worship Him ... you yourselves do so now!"
The last chapter of the Old Testament to use
our word for worship is Zechariah 14. There, describing the Lord's
coming Rule upon earth during the Millennium, we are told: "And it
shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the
nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year
worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of
tabernacles." Then ... "And it shall be, that whoso will not come
up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to
worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no
rain." Zechariah 14:16-17
The noun "footstool" is "regel" and can mean
one's leg or foot or even toe. It is simply that under which one places
his foot! Isaiah 66:1 tells us: "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my
throne, and the earth is my
footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is
the place of my rest?"
So, Psalm 99:5 is teaching us to worship God
... anywhere on earth!
In so worshiping God, we are also commanded
(imperative mood verb) to "exalt" Him! "Rum" (pronounced "room") means
"to lift up" or to "extol." This requirement is framed as a "piel"
verb, greatly intensifying the action! When you exalt the Lord, do so
Here's some interesting news too. As you
"exalt" the Lord ... He is also prone to "lift" you from time to time
too! Using our same word, "rum," Psalm 3:3 calls our Lord: "the
of our head!" Read it with me: "But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me;
my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."
Then our verse tells us WHY we are to exalt
and worship the Lord: "Exalt ye the LORD our God,
and worship at his footstool;
for he is holy."
Holy, or "qadosh," here means That Which is
"set apart!" Unlike all the others!
The awesome purity of God, His altogether
Otherness, His separateness from sin demand our worship!
Friend, today if possible and if not then at
least by Sunday, fall on your knees somewhere and adore, exalt, worship
Lift Him high!
After all, He saved your soul from hell!
And if you can't physically bend and fall
prostrate before Him ... do so in your heart! He sees that too!
"For the LORD seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the
heart." 1st Samuel 16:7
He knows when we humbly seek His Face!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
"The Lord reigneth!"
That's exactly how Psalm 99 begins ... at
least in the King James Version of the Bible.
Our great God is King!
But quite soon Psalm 99 is saying:
"Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel
among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he
answered them." Psalm 99:6
Our God hears and answers prayer!
But not only that!
He also forgave the people of Israel their
"Thou answeredst them,
O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them." Psalm 99:8
Moses ("moshe" meaning "drawn out" as of the
water) and Aaron His brother ("aharon" meaning "light bringer") and
Samuel ("shamuel" meaning "his name is El") were all godly men. These
men are here called "priests." In Hebrew "kohen" means priest in the
sense of the one who "officiates" or "mediates" at worship! While
officially the sons of Levi were the only men who could serve as priests
in Israel, Samuel here is included! He is a descendent of Ephraim ...
or Joseph! God here has expanded the priesthood!
By New Testament days, after Jesus' Blood
was shed, all Believers are priests! Yes, we are all invited to "come
boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find
grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
Of these three great men, each prayed to the
Lord our God. The verb for pray, in Hebrew "qara," means "to cry out
loud, to invite or to summon." And the present participial form used
here pictures habitual prayer, not an occasional thing!
These men prayed to the Lord ... and He
answered them! "Anah" means "to respond, to speak or to give witness!"
The God being described in Psalm 99 is not
only a King! He is also a Priest! One Who can hear the needs of man ...
present them to His Father ... and respond with a suitable answer!
Biblically speaking, Christian prayer is TO God the Father, THROUGH God
the Son (in Jesus' Name) and BY the motivation of the Holy Spirit!
Furthermore, Jesus not only answers prayer
... He also "forgives" men of their sins! That verb in verse eight, "nasa,"
means "to lift up" and bear far away!
This sounds like a New Testament Text!
Has Paul been here?
No, he will not be born for another thousand
But the Grace of God has sure been here!
The "load" of my sins ... gone!
Carried away, far far away!
Who can atone for our sins, taking them
away, but the Saviour?
Our great High Priest!
Yes, He is King!
But oh, praise God, yes ... He is Priest
And Psalm 99 still has has a verse to go
What else is our Lord?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
We have been studying Psalm 99 in the Old
I was drawn to that Passage of Scripture
partly because it uses the word "worship" twice in its short nine
It is a worship Psalm!
But then I learned that it, from start to
finish, constantly exalts the Lord!
In the opening verses God is pictured as a
In the middle verses He is seen as a Priest!
And then in verse 7 we read:
"He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they
kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them."
Here we see the Lord "speaking" to the
people ... teaching them the Law of God! This piel (intensive action)
stem verb, "dabar," just means to tell or talk or declare or at times to
command or warn or even threaten!
These are the doings of a Prophet!
He speaks the truth to those who will hear!
The exact expression "cloudy pillar" is
found 4 times in the King James Bible, in three different chapters of
Scripture. Exodus 33 tells us: "And it came to pass, as Moses entered
into the tabernacle, the cloudy
pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle,
and the LORD talked with
Moses. And all the people saw the
cloudy pillar stand at
the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped,
every man in his tent door." Then Nehemiah 9:12 adds: "Moreover
thou leddest them in the day by a
cloudy pillar; and in the
night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they
And at Sinai, receiving the Law of God, we
are told of the Lord: "And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount
Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called
unto Moses out of the midst of
the cloud. And Moses went
into the midst of the cloud,
and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and
forty nights. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying
God Himself, teaching and preaching to
The Perfect Prophet!
By the way, the noun "pillar" (in Hebrew = "ammud")
means a "column" shaped object, perhaps the very evidence of the
Presence of God!
And how do we know what God "preached?"
The rest of our verse explains:
"They kept his testimonies, and the ordinance
that he gave them." Psalm 99:7b
"Kept," the verb, translates "shamar" and
means to hear and observe and heed! To obey! To responsively perceive
and react accordingly! The "testimonies" suggest that God here is
giving "witness" to Who He is and What He is! The Law is just God
And the noun "ordinance" illustrates this
mighty communication from God even further. "Choq" in Hebrew is derived
from a root verb that means "to cut or to engrave." Remember, God is
"writing" the Law in stone tablets! When a command is "cut" like this,
it suggests its enactment. God "put into force" His Law! He preached
the Word! He reproved, rebuked and exhorted!
And, ironically so, we are told the Law of
God was a "gift" to the Israelites! "The
ordinance that He GAVE them."
Not a burden here, but a "gift!"
The Law of God made Israel a distinct
nation! When they obeyed, they were singularly blessed of the Lord!
I believe the Jews' greatest gift to mankind
is the Word of God! Of course they were simply the "channel" through
which It flowed. Speaking of this very point Paul said: "Much every
way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of
God." Romans 3:2
A nation that was not allowed to live
immorally or worship indiscriminately or kill or steal or covet!
Of course we all know Israel failed,
miserable failed, in her mission!
But it was not God's fault! Nor that of the
Law of God either!
Perhaps the greatest way the Law is a GIFT
is that, as Paul says: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to
bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
So, in the final analysis, the Lord God ...
Who is history's first and greatest PROPHET ... preached the Law, the
Word, the very Message that ultimately led mankind to Jesus, the Saviour!
If a man is not LOST ... how can he be
If he does not know he is a SINNER ... how
can he be saved?
If he is not WRONG ... can he ever (through
the Grace of God and the Blood of Jesus) become right?
Thank the Lord God today!
He SPOKE through the Commandments ... then
God ... "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom
he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of
his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he
had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the
Majesty on high." Hebrews 1:2-3
Now, that's the job of the Prophet ...
pointing men and women to Jesus!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
One job of the Old Testament prophet was to
preach "against" sin!
That aspect of his work, seriously missing
in our day, is even mentioned in the Psalms!
Listen to the Lord command Isaiah: "Cry
aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, AND
shew my people their
transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Isaiah 58:1
That verb "shew" ("show") in the Text (in
Hebrew = "nagad") means "to tell or declare or report" something. It
can also mean "to expound!"
Every Old Testament prophet, although in
various ways, exposes and condemns the iniquity of the people to whom he
Psalm 99 even says this of the Lord God
The God Who reigns as a King! (Psalm 99:1)
The God Who hears and meets His subjects'
spiritual needs as did the Priests of by-gone days! (Psalm 99:8)
And also ... the God Who
"took vengeance on their inventions!"
(Again, Psalm 99:8) Now here is God as a mighty Prophet, exposing and
The noun used by the Holy Spirit here for
"inventions" is "aliylah" and means one's doings or works or deeds or
actions, the implication often being wicked acts! The "root" of the
word is a verb, "alal," which means "to effect" someone or something.
In our context here this is describing wicked action that spreads and
powerfully impacts others!
Anything good mankind has ever discovered or
made, he has eventually ruined or corrupted or defiled by sin!
God, the Holy God of Heaven,
"took vengeance" on such wickedness. This
verb, "naqam," means to punish! The Prophet Nahum in his short Book
uses the word three different times in one verse: "God is
jealous, and the LORD REVENGETH; the LORD REVENGETH, and is
furious; the LORD will
take vengeance on his
adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies." Nahum 1:2
Speaking of a yet coming day of judgment,
God is said to be readying Himself even now! "For He put on
righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His
head; and He put on the garments of
clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke." Isaiah 59:17
In our Psalm for today (Psalm 99) we are
precisely told three times about God being "holy" (verses 3 and 5 and
9). We therefore need not be surprised at His judgment upon sin!
Sin and righteousness are mutually
God's true prophets through the ages never
let mankind forget that fact either!
If Israel of old had her "inventions" ...
which she promptly corrupted, what about the nations of the world today?
More inventions for sure!
More perversion and sin as well!
Therefore ... more "vengeance" from God is
to be expected!
And it is coming!
Christian folks, stay pure!
Exercise 1st John 1:9 regularly! "If we
confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Sin is real!
But, through the Blood of Jesus, so is
That's why the whole 8th verse of Psalm 99
states: "Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that
forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions."
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Our God is to be worshipped!
He is worthy of such.
He has even made "laws" concerning that
worship. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make
unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in
heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve
them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God ...." Exodus 20:3-5
Psalm 99 closes with a "worship" verse.
"Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy
hill; for the LORD our God is holy." Psalm 99:9
The verb "exalt" is in the Piel imperative
form (in Hebrew) and means "to lift up." This expresses a command! It
also demands that we obey gladly and energetically!
Note too that in the titles of Divinity used
here both Jehovah ("LORD") and Elohim ("God") are emphasized. These are
His two most prominent Names in the Bible. Jehovah occurs 6519 times
and Elohim 2606 more! Maybe one way of visibly revealing our desire to
"lift up" our great God is to follow Abraham's lead in Genesis 14:22.
Using this same verb, "to lift up," he says: "I
have lift up mine hand
unto the LORD, the most high God, the Possessor of heaven and earth."
The parallel verb "worship" (in Hebrew = "shachah")
is also an imperative. We MUST worship Him! This word (both as noun and
verb) is found in Psalm 99 three times! It IS a worship Psalm!
To "shachah" is "to bow down" or "to stoop"
or "to crouch" before someone greater than you! It is a physical
manifestation of an inward attitude. When one bows before a superior
like that, he is proving his trust of that one. This is a posture of
submission and vulnerability! And, in this case, love and adoration
Worship of God is not based on circumstances
or emotional states or other such stimuli. It is a response of a
grateful soul to his or her God ... in all situations. Job worshipped
when death came his way! David joyfully worshipped jumping and leaping
into the air! Jehoshaphat worshipped in a time of war! Hannah
worshipped when burdened with a heavy heart! Habakkuk worshipped when
everything went wrong! The Wise Men worshipped at the end of a long
journey! Daniel worshipped while studying Scripture! Mary worshipped
at Jesus' Feet! Multitudes in Heaven worship Him right now! The lesson
is this: Worship Him anywhere anytime and do so gloriously!
While His "Holy Hill" can picture the whole
earth, it most often refers to Jerusalem ... and the Temple ...
especially the Most Holy Place where rested the Mercy Seat of God!
Psalm 99:9 even gives us the WHY of worship,
or at least one of them!
"Exalt the LORD our God, and
worship at his holy hill; for
the LORD our God is holy."
He is Holy!
Holiness is, I believe, His central
He is first of all Holy!
I saw something recently about worship.
When Jesus said to the Samaritan woman "the hour cometh, and now is,
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in
truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him," our Lord may have
been involving the Trinity in the great privilege of worship!
The Father is clearly seen. He is the
Object of worship!
The Holy Spirit is emphasized too. He
motivates and encourages our worship.
But where is Jesus in this great verse?
Why, He is "The Truth!" See John 14:6 where He declares: "Jesus saith
unto him, I am the way,
the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Just as the Trinity is in constant unbroken
communion ... so in worship all are involved!
I am worshipping when interacting and
glorifying each Member of the Godhead!
Father, today I adore Thee!
Holy Spirit, help me express to God my
Jesus, many thanks be unto Thee for
revealing the Father so perfectly and completely!
Worthy be Thy Name!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell