A Shepherd’s Musings: God is Holy
In the pursuit of knowing God and focusing on one characteristic or attribute at a time, we run the risk of not seeing how God’s other attributes affect and interrelate with the one which is “under the microscope” of our attention at the moment. For example, if you focus on the truth that God is love (I John 4:8) to the exclusion of the truth that “God is light” (I John 1:5) your understanding of God as love will be flawed. J. I. Packer in his classic book, Knowing God makes this clear when he shows how the truth “God is light” influences our understanding of the truth “God is love”. He reasons as follows:
“Light means holiness and purity, as measured by God’s law.”
“So the God who is love is first and foremost light, and sentimental ideas of his love as an indulgent, benevolent softness, divorced from moral standards and concerns, must therefore be ruled out from the start.”
“God’s love is a holy love.”
While Packer was writing about God as love, he had to consider God as light to give a proper definition of God as love. In so doing, he introduced another attribute that permeates them all—GOD IS HOLY! God’s attributes are so interrelated that you cannot consider one without seeing others as you try to understand the one. What a marvelous God to behold and know!
According to the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary the word “holy” when applied to God “signifies perfectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character”. God is completely holy, or pure and complete in all of His attributes. In Psalm 99 God is called holy three times:
The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! The King in his might loves justice. You have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he! Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the LORD, and he answered them. In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; they kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them. O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy! (ESV-emphasis added).
As you meditate on this Psalm and God’s holiness, why not take out a pen or pencil and make two lists: one of the other attributes of God that are mentioned and influenced by His holiness and another of how, according to the Psalm, you should respond to God’s holiness?
I hope the following selected verses will be a blessing to you. Have a great week meditating on the holiness of God.
With Prayer, Mark © February, 2011
Selected Verses on God’s Holiness
ESV – Emphasis added
Exodus 15:11-13, “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them.You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.”
Leviticus 11:44-45, “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.“
1 Samuel 2:1, And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
Psalm 71:22-23, I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.
Psalm 77:11-14, I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.
Isaiah 6:1-3, In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
Isaiah 5:15-16, Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
Mark 1:24, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God.”
Ephesians 4:30, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Revelation 4:8-11, And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”