詩篇 99:3 国々の民よ。大いなる、おそれおおい御名をほめたたえよ。主は聖である。

Several things stand out about this verse to me, and one of them is completely invisible in the NIV translation, because it uses a pronoun instead of saying, like the Japanese, “peoples of the nations.” Again and again in the OT, and particularly in Psalms, we have the call for all nations to know, love, and worship God. This was why God chose Abraham and his descendants: so they would spread the knowledge of Him across the globe. However, that fulfillment had to wait until the NT age, and even then He had to allow persecution in order to get the believers moving beyond the borders of Judea. We are so slow to grasp the missionary vision!


A second thing that hits me about this verse is the focus on the Name of God. As I said a couple of days ago, in the culture of the time a name was considered to embody the essence of someone or something, and names weren't always shared freely. This is expressed very clearly in the 10 Commandments, where we are forbidden to take God's name in vain. Doing so means we are taking God Himself lightly, not giving Him the honor and reverence He deserves. That is an issue even in Japan, which has no cultural tradition of swearing, as Westerners think of it.


The third thing about this verse is actually the theme of the whole Psalm: the holiness of God. In Japanese the very phrase sounds awkward: “the Lord is holy.” There are various expressions involving the word holy, like holy book (Bible), holy person (saint) and the like, but the concept of holiness is not part of normal awareness. To tell the truth, it's no better in the US either, because, though the word is there the understanding of holiness has been lost for the most part. Regaining the awareness of the holiness of God is actually an issue for the whole Church worldwide.


I need a fresh awareness of God's holiness myself! As I am well aware, familiarity breeds contempt, and I have been around the holy all my life. I need to be renewed in awareness and appreciation of the holiness of God, both for my own attitude and obedience toward Him and so that I will be more effective in introducing Him to others. A major part of the magnificence of the Gospel is that holy God cared enough about sinful man to send His Son to save us. Understanding the grace of God fully requires a grasp of both His holiness and our sinfulness.


Father, thank You for this reminder. You knew I needed to be reminded of Your holiness. Help me walk in awareness and appreciation of Your holiness, for You tell us to be holy as You are holy. May nothing get in the way of my communicating Christ effectively to those around me, so that they too may worship Your holiness, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


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