“Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous;
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”
~ Psalm 97:12
God’s holiness is commended to our remembrance. It is not the doctrine of God’s holiness that we are to remember, but His real holiness. His actual holiness causes the righteous to rejoice and give thanks. They rejoice and are thankful for His holiness. God’s holiness is set forth throughout this Psalm. Let us come aside and remember His holiness.
HIS HOLINESS IS SUPREME, for “The LORD reigneth” (Psalm 97:1). None can ascend above God or be comparable to Him. None can even reckon the extent of His dominion—it encompasses all things seen and unseen. Even man’s imagination cannot place a figment above God for all the pagan worshipers are confounded by His holiness (Psalm 97:7). How can they figure it? How can they fashion it? How can they make a likeness of it? Though they boast, they utterly fail—“For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 96:9).
Even the idols must bow to Him, “worship him, all ye gods” (Psalm 97:7). Idolaters make no progress against His holiness; it is even as Paul told Timothy of those who “resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” They fight against God, “But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men” (2 Timotthy 3:8-9).
HIS HOLINESS IS TERRIBLE, for “Clouds and darkness are round about him” (Psalm 97:2). His holiness abides in righteousness and judgment. In these, God delights. His righteousness means He is faithful. Of what He has purposed, not one tittle shall fail.
In holiness, He dwells in judgment—pleading the cause of the oppressed, the fatherless, and the widow. He hears the cry of their righteous blood and vindicates them. If God calls you a worm, rejoice—it means He is taking up your cause. For thus He spoke to Jacob, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 41:14). He did not speak to Jacob thus to grind him into the dust, rather to lift him out of the dust. In the Scripture, we find ourselves as weak, full of sores, a frame of dust, a flower of the field, a vanishing vapor, etc. In all this, we are weak and helpless, but He will take us up, plead our cause, and vindicate us with His holy judgment.
HIS HOLINESS IS NOT PASSIVE, for “A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about” (Psalm 97:3). Neither is His holiness contained or subdued. His holiness is then victorious consuming His enemies. What have we then to fear? The earth trembles at His light (Psalm 97:4); “The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth” (Psalm 97:5). Who shall oppose any that are on the Lord’s side?
HIS HOLINESS IS NOT HIDDEN. Even the heavens cannot remain silent or indifferent, “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory” (Psalm 97:6). The fool says there is no God. The wicked refuse to acknowledge Him and look blindly in the light of the noon sun. However, are not the works of His holiness entered into the eyes and ears of His people? “Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD” (Psalm 97:8). Do you not hear the chorus of birds singing praise to their maker? Do you not see the glory of the sun spreading its light to illuminate the creation of the Holy God before our eyes? Does not the corn and wheat stand in the field waving an offering to the one who is righteous, faithful to send the sun, wind, and rain upon the earth so that it responds by bearing forth its fruits?
HIS HOLINESS IS HAD FOR HIS PEOPLE. “He preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:10-11). What a ground and anchor is the Lord’s holiness! Those who love Him love His holiness and therefore, “hate evil” (Psalm 97:10).
Why then are we troubled? Why then are we downcast? Why then do we presume to be trodden under foot? His holiness is the rejoicing of our heart and the very knife cutting the taut sack, which bursts open with gratitude. His holiness is an impeccable light and there we have fellowship with Him.
What a shame that any of His people should need reminded to remember His holiness and give thanks. May our hearts and minds soar upward in the quiet gray of the morning when we render thanks unto Him for the day He has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in the light of the day that declares His righteousness unto us. “Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 97:12).