HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
The prophet Isaiah observed what no other person has ever seen; and, his record of that unique encounter continues to impact lives to the present day:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one cried to another and said: Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!
As Isaiah gazed into the vastness of God’s throne room, the reverberating praise of seraphim shook the very doorposts. Loudly repeating the word “holy” three times in succession, these angelic beings emphatically expressed the absolute holiness of God.
Whether a vision or a glimpse into unseen reality, one thing is certain—Isaiah was never the same.
God’s holiness so deeply impacted him that Isaiah made reference to God as, “the Holy One of Israel”, twenty-nine times as documented in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word kadosh translated “holy” literally means separate or set apart.
God is absolute holiness. He not only transcends everything in creation, He is the antithesis of all that is profane and evil. The Apostle John captures God’s essence stating, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5).
It is significant that there are approximately 63 direct references to God’s holiness—more than any other aspect of His being highlighted in Scripture—underscoring that He is holy and we are not. Only against this backdrop do we fully comprehend the reality of our fallen condition; and, only from this vantage point can we wholly perceive the awesome privilege of having a relationship with Him.
A proper understanding of God’s holiness emphasizes that trifling with God is futile and wholehearted obedience is the only reasonable response.
God is holy; holiness most effectively expresses His identity. Nothing in any way violates God’s infinite holiness because it is active, motivates everything He does and governs every aspect of His being.
Holiness not only explains God’s passion for what is intrinsically good, but also His absolute loathing of all that is evil. This explains the psalmist declaration: “God is angry with the wicked every day,” while at the same time, “the Lord preserves all who love Him” (Ps. 7:11, 145:20).
Regardless of His holiness, however, God is not sequestered in some far-flung corner of the universe fearing contamination from fallen creation.
God’s relationship with people is not indifferent or aloof, but vital and dynamic.
The psalmist reassures, “the Lord is near to all who call upon Him” (Ps. 145:18). Paul echoes, “He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). It is staggering to think that while God is infinitely holy, He is nonetheless attentive to every facet of creation and readily accessible to any who seek Him (Prov. 8:17).
Confronted with the awesome holiness of God, we like Isaiah should never be the same. Take time to reflect on God’s holiness. Inevitably, your desire to grasp this attribute of God’s being will not only produce genuine reverence and passionate obedience, but also a profound sense of gratitude.
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By, Ken Horn, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Seraph (plural: Seraphim as in Isaiah 6:2; circa. 1145). By the Master of the Cathedral-Basilica of Cefalù, (1131) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.