Summary: God is holy. Worship Him. Cultivate a reverence for God. Commit to living a Christlike life. Let God change you. Holiness is irresistible.
The primary meaning of holy is separate, to cut. It means literally “I’m different!”
• God’s purity is distinct, unique, and separate from all that we know.
• When we find a dress or something that is outstanding, we say it is ‘a cut above the rest.’
• God is holy means He is in a different league altogether.
A. W. Tozer (1897-1963): “We cannot grasp the true meaning of holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. 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.”
• God’s holiness is that which makes Him glorious, exceptional, outstanding, and pure.
• When Isaiah saw a vision of the throne room of God (Isaiah 6), the angels were singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” (6:3)
• Apostle John saw a similar scene in Rev 4, and the living creatures were saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (4:8)
To see His holiness is to see His majesty, His glory and honour.
• Psalm 96:9 “Worship the LORD in the splendour of His holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.”
• Exo 15:11 “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”
Holiness is not just one of the many attributes of Him; it is Him!
• His Spirit is the Holy Spirit. His Word, the Holy Word. His dwelling place is the holy Temple, His name is “My holy Name” (Eze 36).
• How do we respond to a holy God?
We WORSHIP Him – giving Him His due worth, i.e. we honour Him.
(1) WORSHIP HIM - CULTIVATE A REVERENCE FOR GOD
God has to teach Israel that He is holy, after 400 years in Egypt surrounded by idolatry.
• He said, “Tell Pharaoh to let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the desert.” (Exo 7:16)
• So He instituted the laws and regulations, teaching them the difference between holy and unholy. There were holy days, holy vessels, and holy garments. There were ceremonial washings, rituals, sacrifices, and offerings of many kinds.
• By these means, Israel learned that God is holy. It was this that God was teaching them, not the holiness of things or days or places.
• God is using things, days and practices, to help them take Him seriously. He is a HOLY God.
The 5th command says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” (Exo 20:8)
• How do you keep a day holy? Worship God. Give Him honour and glory.
• Sadly Israel did not learnt very well, at least not for long. Ezekiel 36 revealed that.
The Lord says you profaned My Name – you spoilt my reputation, when you failed to worship Me as the One and only true God.
• Instead you worshipped idols and created for yourselves alternative gods (36:25).
• God says “I will cleanse you from all your impurities” (36:25) – your sinful ways.
• God says, “I will remove your heart of stone (36:26) – your wilful disobedience.
• All of these profane My Name, the Lord says. We need to respect God, and honour Him as God.
God is serious about this. I just want to highlight 2 incidents in the Bible to show this:
(a) Moses struck the rock twice in anger - Num 20:10-12.
The people were without water and quarrelled with Moses.
• “…Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" 11Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. 12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
Moses did not obey God’s clear instruction. He did not take God’s Word seriously.
• He did not do anything immoral, but showed disrespect for God. He treated God’s instruction too lightly.
(b) Uzzah touched the Ark of the Lord and was struck dead – 2 Sam 6:3-7
King David was taking the Ark of the Lord back from the Philistines.
• 6:3-4 “They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it.