Summary: pray that you and I would have a similar experience this morning as we fix our gaze on the penetrating purity of the holiness of God. May His brightness burn into our lives in such a way that it would never fade from our vision. May we find His holiness
Our Holy God
I can remember as a young boy really being bored in church. I thought it was dull and not very interesting. My mom would give us pep talks before we went to church in an effort to remind us to pay attention and not goof around. Invariably, to my shame, I often disregarded her instruction. I was either yawning out loud, poking my sisters, making faces at the minister, or laughing about something that seemed funny and you know how hard it is to stop laughing in church, don’t you?
Unfortunately for me, my mom had a punishment for bad church behavior. She wouldn’t say anything in the car which was my first clue that there was something wrong. And then, when we’d pull into the driveway, she’d say something like this, "Because you didn’t pay attention during mass, you now need to have your own personal church time with God. Go and kneel in front of the TV for 30 minutes and talk to God about your bad behavior."
The reason we had to kneel in front of the TV was because there were a couple statues on top of it I think there were Joseph and Mary and maybe even a statue of Jesus there. We were instructed to fold our hands and pray silently for the entire time. My sisters didn’t receive this punishment very often let’s just say that I learned how to turn the football game on and turn it off quickly whenever I heard my mom making her way to the living room!
Church was a drag to me and frankly God seemed boring as well. It was C.S. Lewis who said, "How little people know who think holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing, it is irresistible."
Once, as an experiment, the great scientist Isaac Newton stared at the image of the sun reflected in a mirror. The brightness burned into his retina, and he suffered temporary blindness. Even after he hid for three days behind closed doors, still the bright spot would not fade from his vision.
I pray that you and I would have a similar experience this morning as we fix our gaze on the penetrating purity of the holiness of God. May His brightness burn into our lives in such a way that it would never fade from our vision. May we find His holiness irresistible and not boring.
I want to say right at the beginning this morning that just because I am drawn to the topic of God’s holiness, that doesn’t mean that I am therefore a holy man. In fact, as I have prepared this week I have become aware that the reason I have a deep hunger to learn of the holiness of God is because I am not holy. I’ve tasted just enough of God’s holy majesty to want more.
Exodus 15:11 says that God is majestic in holiness and awesome in glory. The beauty of the Lord is His majestic holiness. As we approach this topic, let’s admit that we don’t really understand God’s holiness like we should.
In order to help us focus on our holy God, we’re going to camp in Isaiah 6:1-8. If you have your Bibles, please turn there.
Let me give you some background. Isaiah may have been the greatest prophet in all of Israel. He is called a "major prophet" because of the vast amount of written material that bears his name. He was a statesman, who spoke for God to common people and also to kings. He prophesied during the reign of four kings over a period of sixty years, which were filled with crisis and moral decadence. In fact during the time of Isaiah’s prophecy the northern kingdom Israel was taken captive by invaders. The southern kingdom, Judah, was attacked by Assyria.
During this time there was a king in Judah named Uzziah. He reigned for a long time 52 years. He was one of the better kings they ever had. He was able to turn Jerusalem into a fortified city, well equipped with arms for its own defense and he gave the people a great sense of security.
The story of Uzziah ends on a sad note. While he started out strong, 2 Chronicles 26:16 says that, "…after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord, His God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense." Because he arrogantly claimed for himself the rights that God had given only to the priests, God struck him with leprosy and he eventually died.
In spite of the shame of his later years, when King Uzziah died, it became a time of national mourning. In the same year that his king died, Isaiah went to the temple presumably to find some consolation and to pay his respects to Uzziah. He got more than he bargained for.