#602: Holy, Holy, Holy

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Reflections by the Pond
May 6, 2013

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come."

Revelation 4:8b

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Nothing correctly orders the believer's world so much as the contemplation of God's holiness.

Nothing else brings alignment, perspective, balance to the God/man relationship like the acknowledgement that He is, in His Triune completeness, holy.

Of all God's attributes, His holiness is set apart from the rest. All others, such as His mercy, His grace, His justice, find their diminished but real counterparts in this world. But we know instinctively that nothing in this world is holy. Man, machine, philosophy, even the creation itself groan under the weight of Adam's sin.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Romans 8:20-21

Beyond that, His holiness not only describes who and what God is, it modifies everything else He is. God's mercy is a holy mercy. His justice is a holy justice. His righteousness is a holy righteousness. So after we have called upon God to excite and inform our adoration of the Godhead, the best beginning of worship is to bow before His utter, blinding holiness.

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Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

The beginning of worship is fit accompaniment for the beginning of each day; the song of our adoration should rise with the dawn. Waste no hours in the new day before coming to Him, for there is nothing more important than acknowledging, proclaiming His Lordship and reorienting mind and spirit from soil to heaven.

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Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Isaiah saw it, and John saw it. They both experienced the terrifying reality of God's holiness.

Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind... And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come."

Revelation 4:5-6,8

Man not yet glorified cannot survive the full measure of God's holiness. That awesome purity filtered and diminished through the heavens, however, can be worshipped and experienced by those whose feet have never trod the sea of glass. We are given the privilege, by Him, of rising each day on the notes of that hallowed song.

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Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

The encumbrances of earth are cumulative. The longer we go without His light, the harder it is to see it. Hence the prescription to rise from our slumber each morning seeking, embracing that light. For the minions of the soil work to dissuade us from His glory; they find no pleasure in exalting man to God, only in pulling him down to their own low estate.

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Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Reginald Heber

There will come a day when all shall acknowledge the Lord God's holiness.

"Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance."

Isaiah 45:22-23

Just imagine the chorus! Every person, every created being and thing: every tree, every flower, every bird and beast of the field; the buildings, the oceans, the very earth and sky will tremble and quake. All creation will vibrate with praise to unimaginably holy God.

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We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree of which we are capable. God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God's power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine.

A. W. Tozer