In 1741, George Frideric Handel was deeply in debt after a string of musical failures. On the verge of his going to debtor’s prison, his friend Charles Jennens wrote the text of an opera based on the life of Jesus Christ and gave it to Handel to write the music. In just 24 days, Handel wrote the musical masterpiece, Messiah. The famous Hallelujah chorus celebrates the fact that God is the King of kings who will reign forever and ever.
Psalms 93–99 celebrate the Lord’s kingship. You’ll notice a common refrain in these poems: “The Lord reigns” (93:1; 96:10; 97:1; 99:1). You may also recognize this section of Scripture as the Hallelujah chorus of the Psalter. Because God reigns over all, Psalm 99 encourages all people to “praise your great and awesome name” (v. 3). The fact that God reigns is the best possible news. He is a ruler who is just and does what is right (v. 4). He is also a King who listens to His people. The Psalmist reminds us of Moses, Aaron, and Samuel who often interceded for the people of Israel (v. 6). God heard their prayers and answered them.
God also showed Himself to be forgiving. Israel sinned by worshiping a golden calf on Mount Sinai (Ex. 32). Despite their deep breach of faithfulness, God forgave the people and continued to reside with them (Ex. 34). God, however, also punishes sin (v. 8). These two truths are not contradictory. God is both just and merciful. The animal sacrifice in the Old Testament foreshadowed the greater sacrifice of our Lord Jesus in the New Testament. Sin can be both punished and forgiven because God made a way for us.
>> Today, if you confess your sins and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus, you can be forgiven and have peace with God. In response to this marvelous truth, take a few minutes to pray Psalm 100 in praise to God.
We pray with the Psalmist today: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever” (Ps. 100:4–5).