Learning to Worship the Lord our God
"Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy" (Psalm 99:9).
We read about the people who worship God, the place where we worship Him, and the God whom we worship.
"Exalt the Lord our God" - We are called to worship God. We are the worshippers. He is the Lord our God. There is nothing special about our worship. Even when we worship, we must never forget that we are never any more than sinners who have been saved by God's grace. When we hear the call: "Exalt the Lord our God", we must always remember this: God is not exalted because we exalt Him. We exalt Him because He is exalted.
"Worship at His holy hill" - Why do we think of the place where we worship as a holy place? Is it because we, the worshippers, are holy. No! Let's never imagine that we are more holy than we really are. Any holiness we may have has been given to us by God through Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are never perfectly holy. When are called to "pursue ... holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14), we must begin by looking away from ourselves to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He alone can "ascend the hill of the Lord." He alone "has clean hands and a pure heart." He alone can "ascend the hill of the Lord." He alone can stand in God's holy place. He alone will "receive blessing from the Lord" (Psalm 24:3-5). There is, however, something else which Scripture teaches us about Christ. It is something very wonderful: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). He comes to us in love. He forgives our sin. He renews our strength. He leads us in His paths of righteousness. The holiness of the place where we worship comes from the God whom we worship, the God who loves, the God who has saved us, the God who has forgiven our sins, the God who has sent His Holy Spirit to live in our hearts.
"For the Lord our God is holy" - Holiness: if this was all we had to say about God, we would have to say, "We dare not even attempt to set foot on "His holy hill." Thank God - There is another "holy hill" where we see His love as well as His holiness: "On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross ... where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain ... 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me." God is holy - and, in love, He calls us to come to Him, to receive His forgiveness, to walk with Him on "the Highway of Holiness" (Isaiah 35:8).