Psalms 95 to 99 are all similar with a few very common themes, and the main one concerns the Kingship of God! Consider the following verses:
For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. (95:3)
Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary…say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.’ (96:6, 10)
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. (97:1)
…shout for joy before the Lord, the King. (98:6)
The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned… The King is mighty, he loves justice. (99:1, 4)
Now, if we read history and even observe our present day, kings/queens/presidents/prime ministers have not always lived up to the high expectations and standards required of them. Often, they have gone off onto some not so useful tangents, or sometimes sought to grab more power than their office legally gave them, or even worse, have become corrupt tyrants and murderers disposing of anyone who opposed them and building large bank accounts.
Not so, King Yahweh!
Consider the description of Yahweh as King:
In Psalm 95 he is called the Rock of our salvation… our Maker… our God and we the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. (i.e., our Shepherd – Psalm 23)
In Psalm 96 it is said of Him: great is the Lord and most worthy of praise… for the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary… he will judge the peoples with equity… he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
In Psalm 97 it continues: righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne… he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
In Psalm 98we are told he has done marvellous things… The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations… his love… his faithfulness.
And then in today’s Psalm 99it reminds us again that The King is mighty, he loves justice… [and has] established equity… done what is just and right… he is holy… he answers [the prayers of his people] … he spoke to them… a forgiving God… the Lord our God is holy.
Concerning Psalm 99, Broyles suggests that “one possible scenario is that one liturgist or choir proclaimed the declarative statements and imperatives…and another sang out the APPROPRIATE RESPONSES of worship and praise addressed directly to Yahweh. (# 4) The former is in Bold font and the latter is in UPPER CASE:
The Lord reigns,
LET THE NATIONS TREMBLE;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
LET THE EARTH SHAKE.
2 Great is the Lord in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
3 LET THEM PRAISE YOUR GREAT AND AWESOME NAME—
he is holy.
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
5 EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD
AND WORSHIP AT HIS FOOTSTOOL;
he is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
8 Lord our God,
you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
though you punished their misdeeds.
9 EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD
AND WORSHIP AT HIS HOLY MOUNTAIN,
for the Lord our God is holy.
Yes, there are many differences between God our King and the rulers of the world, but here in this last sentence is the huge difference – He is holy!
Wilcock comments: “God is holy, that is, set apart from everything else… distinctive, and supreme in his distinctiveness; unique, and demanding in his uniqueness.” (# 5)
And as the Holy One, his desire, indeed his command is for those who love him to live lives of holiness – ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)
The Apostle Peter, later speaking to us as followers of Jesus, quotes this command when he says:
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)