Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD
Scriptures: Isaiah 6 and 26:3 Exodus 15:11 1 Samuel 2:2 1 Peter 1:14-16
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts
Three times the seraphim cry out to one another the glorious word “Holy”, all of them calling at the same time, filling the air as their voices resonate around the temple. It’s no wonder that Isaiah fell flat on his face pleading for mercy, utterly aware of his own unholiness and unworthiness.
The word we translate from the Hebrew as holiness, is qadowsh. The word literally means “to cut”. Being holy is being separate, cut off from anything and everything else. It is being set apart from anything that has ever been or will ever be. But it also means to be totally morally pure, not for just part of the time, but always and ever, all of the time in everything.
As Isaiah lay face down, he knew that he could not stand in the presence, or even look at the face of such holiness. When Moses saw the chariots of Pharaoh overwhelmed by the waters that God had parted for the children of Israel to escape captivity, he knew the glory of the holiness of the Lord. As Hannah fulifilled her promise and took her precious God given son to live with Eli the priest, she too knew that there is no-one holy like our God.
The awe and wonder that overcame Isaiah, Moses and Hannah, filled them with the total conviction that they could never achieve the Holiness that they knew God is. They saw so clearly that Holiness is not a characteristic of God, or part of His nature. What had been revealed to them was that God is Holiness, His very being, at His core, is Holiness. And this very Holiness means none can stand before Him, the very unholiness that we now are, cannot exist in His presence.
Before time itself began, the sacrificial Lamb of God, poured out His cleansing blood for the redemption of this whole world. Before God created these universes, these galaxies that we gaze at in the night sky, He provided Himself the Way for us to be able to stand before His Throne, boldly, and with utter confident humility, to be in the presence of pure Holiness. Before He breathed Life into Adam, God knew what we would do, how we would fall and fail time and time again. He knew all this, yet He yearned for each person ever born to know the glory of living forever within His Holiness.
With our limited sight, we can never have a clear vision of the glory of God that is His Holiness. But we can imagine. God has given us the gift of imagination, a gift that we so often abuse and misuse, but, when our imagination is consumed with Him, as our friendIsaiah tells us to be, maybe we can catch a glimpse, a tiny spark of this precious glory. Isaiah knew that when our mind is completely focused on God, when all the colours in our head, all the pictures our imagination weaves, are swamped and absorbed in God, we will know His perfect peace and all we will desire is to echo Isaiah’s words: “I am undone”.
Through the burning coal from the altar, Isaiah was cleansed. Through the precious life blood of Jesus, our Saviour, coursing through our veins, we too are cleansed. By the burning fire of Holy Spirit filling our heart and soul, we can be made Holy as He is Holy and confidently, with Isaiah, say “Here I am Lord, send me”.
Prayer: Father God, stir up our imagination so that we can be aware of Your Holiness, not fearfully running from You but joyfully and exuberantly seeing Your extravagance and glorious Mercy in making us holy as You are Holy, in Jesus name we give You the thanks and glory forever, Amen