This is a powerful psalm about recognizing God for who He really is! At the surface, it’s easy to read Psalm 99 and dismiss it as just another poem of praise. Maybe we could make a cool worship song out of it and since it is from scripture, would be powerful, right? Maybe we could even make it platinum!
The real gold from this passage, however, is found in verse 4. Let’s pick it apart bit by bit, as it is the anchor for the psalmist’s worship of the King.
The strength of the King loves justice.
Let that sink in. Isn’t it worded a little differently? I have to admit, on first pass I didn’t recognize what the psalmist wrote about who or what loves justice. It’s not the King he is writing about, but the King’s strength. What comes to mind when pondering God’s strength? We can consider the idea of strongholds, which is usually in reference to the devil’s schemes but is really reference to a foundational anchor. We also recognize that Jesus is our strength. Some scriptures even state that God is strength and justice. But when we are strong in the Lord, meaning that we are in close relationship with Him, we love justice. The power that God wields is a just power and if we are in sync with Him, we too will love justice even if it means an unfavorable outcome for ourselves.
You have established equity.
God has invested in us for a long time. He created us and continues to work with us, despite our resistance to being transformed into His likeness. He is longsuffering. He is patient, kind, loving, but also firm, righteous, and powerful. God created us because of His love for us. When we truly love someone or something, we pour out our everything into them, don’t we? He’s made a big investment in us; He gave us His life! If you ask me, it was quite a risky investment, but His love for us superseded the risk and He said, “you’re worth it.”
You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
“Jacob” refers to the nation of Israel here, as God changed Jacob’s name to Israel after he wrestled with an angel of the Lord (presumably Jesus Himself, but we can’t confirm that). Israel literally means “wrestles with God” and it is important for us to realize that through that conflict He establishes justice and righteousness. I think sometimes it is difficult for us to accept or acknowledge our struggles with God, but it is part of the sanctification process (i.e. God helping us become more holy). Our struggles with righteousness and rightness actually grow us closer to God and in the end, although we may walk with a limp, walk away with a greater understanding of God’s Kingdom and a heart closer to His.
In light of understanding the core of this psalm, I encourage you to read through Psalm 99 again. All the other verses refer to these principles in verse 4 and we would be wise to not begrudge the process but celebrate God’s goodness in allowing us to undergo the struggle so we can be closer to Him.