“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory”
God is Holy. The Holy One of Israel became Isaiah’s favourite expression for Him. In His revelation of Himself to Isaiah God showed that His holiness stood in the sharpest possible contrast to human sinfulness. We are reminded of this difference when we see the blazing and blinding light of the sun in comparison to the pale and reflected light of the moon. Such is this raging holiness, this blinding purity and this consuming glory that God would say to Moses,
- “You cannot see My face, for no-one may see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
To say that God is holy is to acknowledge that He is distinct and separate from all other beings and absolutely unique. There is no one and nothing that can compare to Him. God points this out Himself.
- “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25)
God is not merely a bigger and better version of humankind. He is ‘transcendently separate, in a class by Himself,’ subject to no one and to nothing else, and accountable only to Himself. David honoured Him in these words,
- “Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God” (Psalm 86:8-10)
Habakkuk and Isaiah describe their experience of God like this,
- “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Habakkuk 3:16)
- “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5)
And the writer to the Hebrews
- “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29)
In God there is no darkness at all (1 John1:5). But not only that. His light is a perfect and complete light – a light that would blind and paralyse us. His truth is a total and absolute truth – nothing missing, overlooked or incomplete. His will is an overwhelming and irresistible will that will not rest until it has completed what He wishes. And such is the total hatred that He has for sin that it causes a violent reaction within Him that desires to leap out and destroy all that is not of Him.
- “The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.” (Exodus 19:20-24)
There is only one thing that stands between us and the consuming holiness of God – and that is the Cross of Christ, the great revelation of His perfect and holy love.
Open my eyes Lord to the glory of Your Being, and help me to worship You in the beauty of holiness. Amen.