I JUST HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SEND ME EMAILS THAT ARE ALL IN CAPS.
I suppose if angels used email, they might use all caps when speaking of God; however, they chose to express it this way:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty!”
The Hebrew language uses repetition to indicate emphasis, as we do by italics or bold type or all caps. To say something three times makes the statement even more emphatic, which in this case is exalting the holiness of God to the highest possible measure. It is significant that nowhere in scripture is this threefold repetition used for other words associated with the person of God; there is no “wise, wise, wise” or “powerful, powerful, powerful.” Only His holiness receives this attention – and so it should receive our attention, also.
Whole books have been written on the topic of God’s holiness; however, please consider two aspects of His holiness. The Hebrew word for holy is qadosh, which generally means “cut off” or “separate.” When used of God, the word expresses the idea of separateness or “otherness.” God is wholly “other” from all His creation, from angels, from men, and especially from sinful man. He is absolutely distinct from all His creatures and is infinitely exalted about them in unimaginable glory and majesty.
Additionally, since God is holy, He is separate not only from His creation but also – in fact, especially so – from sin. God is morally, ethically and infinitely pure. There is absolutely no darkness in Him!
So what would happen if you came into the presence of God’s holiness? Probably exactly what happened to Isaiah, which is the only appropriate response – Isaiah cried out in fear and dismay! The vision of God seated on a throne, high and exalted, with the train of his robe filling the temple, was an overwhelming picture of His majesty – His “otherness.” But it was not just the majesty that impacted Isaiah – the prophet was surrounded by God’s blazing moral purity, revealing his own sinfulness. Isaiah’s “self-esteem” was not enhanced that day. Just the opposite took place. His vision of the holiness of God caused Isaiah to lament his utter sinfulness. “Woe is me!” is the cry of one in the presence of holy God.
God has not changed. He has not “gone soft” on sin over the centuries. God is still holy! In our initial standing before God as guilty sinners, His holy justice is not on our side. It’s against us. The sentence has already been handed down. The wages of sin is death and God’s holy and perfect justice cannot be lenient. What is the solution? Isaiah himself would later give us the answer in the prophecy of Isaiah 53 – God’s holiness and wrath would be violently expressed on a hill called Calvary, on a man who did not deserve to be punished. Until you and I can get a glimpse of what it would be like to stand before a holy God we will be tempted to take the grace demonstrated on the cross for granted.
“God is Holy” is the topic of Pastor Dale’s message this Sunday. In preparation for our time of study, let me encourage you to read the following verses:
- Isaiah 6:1-8 – a man in the presence of the holiness of God
- Revelation 1:9-18 – another man confronted by a holy God
- Exodus 15:11 & 1 Samuel 2:2 – there is no one holy like the Lord
- Revelation 15:1-4 – only God is holy and fear is an appropriate response
- Proverbs 1:7 – fear can do positive things in our lives
- Isaiah 53 – God’s holiness in action; especially note verses 6 and 10
- 2 Corinthians 7:1 – in light of the Cross we ought to pursue holiness out of reverence for God
- Hebrews 10:19-22 – because of the Cross, and the Cross alone, we are able to enter into presence of a holy God
The message this Sunday is vital to understanding the attributes of God. Hoping to see you Sunday!