Holy is whole, perfect, sinless, and pure. People have forgotten about the holiness of the Lord. Their concept of God is not Biblical and real. We must look in the scripture and be reminded that God is holy. Because God is holy:
People tremble before him – Ps 99:1; 3 – “let the people tremble… let them praise thy great and terrible name.” God is so holy he is a consuming fire, Heb 12:29. When Moses first saw the Lord’s presence on Mt. Sinai, “so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake,” Heb 12:21. After Daniel survived a night in the lion’s den, Darius made a decree, “That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God,” Dan 6:26. At the mention of his terrible name, men will tremble and the earth will be moved when he is reigning on the earth. As his people, if we really understood his holiness, we would tremble before him. Today, “there is no fear of God before their eyes,” Rom 3:18. His fear should be before our eyes.
People praise him – Ps 99:3 – their commendation of God is expressed in word or song. Moses and the children of Israel sang in the wilderness when Pharaoh and his army were destroyed. They sang, “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praise, doing wonders,” Ex 15:11? After Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survived the fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar said, “Therefore, I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort,” Dan 3:29. Look how Nebuchadnezzar praised the Lord in Dan 4:34-37 after he survived his episode of eating grass like an ox. After all that the Lord has done for us, we should definitely praise him.
People exalt and worship him – Ps 99:2, 5, 9 – “The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.” Exalt ye the Lord… worship at his footstool… Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill.” To exalt is to raise high and to magnify. To worship is to adore and honor. Moses and the children of Israel exalted the Lord when Pharaoh was destroyed, Ex 15:2. After Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, he is now exalted at the right hand of God, Acts 2:33. Isaiah saw the Lord “sitting upon a throne, high, and lifted up,” Is 6:1. And the seraphim worshipped him saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory,” Is 6:3. Do you know what’s going on up in heaven right now? The beasts are before the throne of God saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come,” Rev 4:8. The Lord should surely be exalted above everything else in our lives, Eph 1:20-23. And we should worship him like Eleazar did in Gen 24:26, 48, 52, by bowing down before him.
People obey him – Ps 99:6-7 – “they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.” When Israel first saw the Lord’s presence on Sinai, they feared him so much that they kept his ordinances. But as the sight of that fearful appearance wore off, the people quit obeying him. Eventually, they began to worship other gods. If we really believe that God is holy, we will obey him and live to be holy as he is holy, 1 Pet 1:14-16. The imminent appearing of Jesus Christ is reason enough to purify ourselves, 1 Jn 3:2-3.
Conclusion: Ps 99:8 people repent to him. “Thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.” People who realize the true holiness of God, repent of their sin and trust him to forgive them and save them. Will you do that today? And if you are already saved, will you tremble before him, praise him, exalt and worship him, and obey him?