By Brooke Holt
“The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he!” Psalm 99:1-3
I just finished an interesting conversation about church attendance and pro football. Sadly, when the Jaguars play in Jacksonville on Sundays, church attendance drops quite a bit. My husband was lamenting this fact while one of the avid football fans was telling him it is just what happens when the Jaguars play. Football trumps church!
This is the reality of our day. This is the reality of our day. It is not just football that trumps God but birthday parties, youth sports, work, errands. Yet are we missing something significant? In Psalm 99, the writer displays the glory of God and then calls God’s people to respond in awe and praise. God is holy, meaning he is set apart and above everything else in this world. His glory far surpasses the accomplishments of the best pro football player. Why, then, are we so quick to exchange the worship of God on Sunday for the worship of football or another pursuit?
Perhaps it is because we have lost the concept of true glory. We have exchanged the glory that emanates from God the Father for what looks like glory in the world. Psalm 99 calls us to refocus and reorient our lives.
In these three verses, the psalmist declares God’s glory is demonstrated through his reign as the true king. People are to respond to him in fear and trembling because of his great glory and power. He then draws upon the image of the Ark of the Covenant. God gave Moses specific designs for every aspect of the tabernacle (his dwelling place). The Ark had a specific design with the mercy seat above the cherubim. Those cherubim sat facing each other on either side of the ark which held the testimony of the Lord. Every Jew knew of God’s design; they knew God dwelt among his people in that mercy seat; and they knew God’s glory was consuming.
In addition to the Ark of the Covenant, the psalmist reminds his readers of God’s glory revealed on Mt. Zion. When God’s presence came upon the mountain, the mountain was wrapped in smoke and the whole mountain trembled greatly (see Exodus 19:18). Not only did the mountain tremble but so did the watching Israelites. They so feared the Lord, they pleaded with Moses to serve as the mediator between God and them.
The Lord is great in Zion, in Jacksonville, throughout the United States, and throughout the entire world. His glory surpasses anything in creation, even anything in heaven. God’s glory is to captivate our hearts above everything else in this world, including football. Our response to God’s great glory is awe, wonder, adoration, and praise. He is the King who reigns in heaven and on the earth.
How do you respond to God’s glory? Does it captivate your heart and mind? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Awaken the awe and the wonder of Advent! “The King Is Coming” is a 4-week Advent devotional especially written with a child’s heart in mind. It takes families through the salvation story by focusing on who God is, the gift of Jesus, and the importance of celebrating and sharing that miraculous gift! Bring your family together this Advent season for a journey exploring God’s big love for you.
See all our Advent Devotionals and Studies here.
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