This year we want to focus on who God is. Each month we will concentrate on a different attribute of God, and we’ll have one of our authors share what the attribute has taught her about Him. Plus you’ll find pretty free art downloads at the end of each post! We pray this series draws us closer to God as we meditate on who He is. Lauren Chandler continues the series with reflections on God’s holiness.
Exalt the Lord our God;
bow in worship at His holy mountain,
for the Lord our God is holy.
What is holiness? How would you sum it up in a simple phrase? Struggling to come up with something substantial? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, the word holy has gone the way of a junk drawer-full of words in our day. We love our husbands and children, but we also love the Dallas Cowboys and Tex-Mex. We “literally can’t believe he did that!” But, is it possible to figuratively believe he did that?
Words are subject to the pot roast principle (although my husband claims it was a ham). The story goes that a young girl asked her mom why she cut the ends off the roast. The mother wasn’t really sure but her mother had always done it. The daughter asked her grandmother and received the same answer. Going to the source, she asked her great-grandmother who admitted that she never had a pan large enough to fit the whole roast.
We may hear the phrase, God is holy, and even nod our heads in agreement, but do we know what it means? Have we stopped and asked ourselves what exactly makes God holy? Or, do we cut the ends off and toss the words into an oversized pan?
To call God holy is to speak of His majesty and purity. He is “utterly distinct from his creation and exercises sovereign majesty and power over it.” The Lord is wholly other. Although we are made in His image, He is still far above and beyond us. As the psalmist writes in Psalm 99:1-2, “He is exalted above all peoples.” His throne is “above the cherubim.” He sits above even the most powerful, otherworldly creatures. The Lord is perfectly pure. He is separate from sin, evil, and the defiled. Nothing can taint Him. He is incorruptible.
While the holiness of God rightly causes trembling in the earth and His people, we would be in grave danger if this were anything but true. The Lord isn’t a better version of us. How dismal would that be? While we have the capacity to do good and be awe-inspiring (we can’t deny our celebrity-consuming culture), we are corruptible and limited. We disappoint. We are selfish and prone to laziness. We can be bought.
Few have felt our inadequacy in the presence of a holy God like the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 6, he described seeing the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne. His robe filled the temple, and angels stood above Him crying, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; His glory fills the whole earth.” The prophet’s first words were “woe is me.” Modern translation: I am in big trouble. He felt to his core how utterly unworthy he was to “have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Who could Isaiah call to help him? Who could stand beside the prophet, pat him on the back, and say, “it’s okay, you’re not that bad!” Reality sank in that no one could help him. God is holy—there is no one higher or purer.
Since He is so holy—transcendent and perfect—only He can bridge the great divide between us. Only He could send the seraphim to Isaiah with a burning coal from the altar to touch his lips, removing wickedness and atoning for sin. Only He could hold mercy and justice in perfect balance. Only He, in all His holiness, could step into our skin and make peace with us by the cross. Instead of our sin tainting His perfection, His perfection paints us holy.
So as we lift our voices among the gathering of the faithful declaring Him holy, holy, holy, perhaps we pause to consider the weight that word holds. Maybe we refuse to the trim the ends and rather savor the beauty, majesty, purity, and transcendence of a holy God who chose to be the God with us.
Lauren Chandler is a wife and mother of three. Her husband, Matt Chandler, serves as the lead teaching pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, Texas. Lauren is passionate about writing, music and leading worship, not only at The Village Church, but also for groups across the country. The Lord has taken Matt and Lauren on a challenging journey, beginning with the November 2009 discovery of a malignant brain tumor in Matt. The Lord has been infinitely merciful to provide peace and comfort in uncertainty, and joy in times of victory and healing. Lauren and her family have been given a deeper trust in clinging to the Lord and his cross during this appointed season of valleys and storms.
We have provided free art for you to help you keep God’s holiness in your focus this month. Just right click (or tap and hold on your phone) to save. We’d love to know what God is teaching you this year—share on social media with the hashtag #GodIs2017.
Facebook Cover Photo:
Computer Wallpaper 1920×1080
Computer Wallpaper 1280×1024