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December 8, 2019
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“And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.’”—Isaiah 6:3 (NASB)
Isaiah’s vision of God must have been breathtaking. In it he saw “the Lord sitting on a throne, lofted and exalted” (Isaiah 6:1 NASB). Isaiah lamented, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!” (vs. 5). In the sight of God’s holiness, Isaiah realized his own unworthiness and was humbled to his core . . . as we all should be.
Because do we (myself included) see God foremost as holy? It’s easy to fall into the pattern of praising His name, His goodness, His grace, His mercy, and His love. And we should. But when we praise God’s name we need to remember that more times than not, God refers to His name as holy. In Stephen Charnock’s Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God, the author recognizes that “God is oftener styled Holy than Almighty.”
The “one” calling out in today’s verse is a seraph, an angel. The call is threefold—“Holy, Holy, Holy”—because God is a triune God. Each member of the godhead is exalted. And this phrase is uttered eternally, day in and day out, by angels who surround God’s throne (Revelation 4:8). This is how He wants to be worshiped—for the beauty of His holiness (Psalms 29:2, 96:9), giving thanks for it (Psalm 30:4).
So, how do we do this? First, what does holy mean? It is the state of being set apart in undefiled moral excellence. That sounds so textbook. But it’s impossible for us to fully grasp what God’s holiness is. And that’s okay as long as we keep in mind that He wants us to honor Him in this way, with utmost reverence. We look upon His attributes as divine and wondrous (see Psalm 89). We desire to please Him, to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Again, Charnock writes, “This is the prime way of honoring God . . . when we aspire to conversing with Him with unstained spirits, and live to Him in living like Him.”
And these “unstained spirits” are another aspect of His holiness because while God loathes unholy sin, He sent His Son as a propitiation for that sin. In the faith of Jesus Christ, we can worship Him as unstained and righteous. Sin is so abhorrent that the Father placed it on His Son out of love for us. Truly, there is no love more beautiful or holy than our Savior’s bloodied face in His darkest hours.
Woe is he who does not see a holier sight as we see in Thee.
DIG: How can we best worship God?
DISCOVER: What does it mean to you that God is holy?
DO: Rewrite Exodus 15;11, Psalms 29:2, and 96:9 in your own words and place that note nearby so you can see it and consider the cross each day.