Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Word that Stands Alone

There is a word in our English language that is unique from all others.
It is unique in its limited usage.
It is a word for which we have no succinct definition.
It is a descriptive word that when used correctly can refer to only one thing.

As far as I know, there is only one word that fits the above criteria.

The word is Holy.
This word has no applicable use other than to be descriptive of God.
It has no easy definition. It is the word that connects our minds to the mysterious otherness of God – that part of God that man cannot touch or understand or define.

It is a word that I love.
The very sound of the word brings shivers of awe and other-world awareness through my body. It brings me into that Presence of the Eternal where God alone lives.
It is the word that the beasts before the throne of God repeat over and over , day and night, never ceasing….”Holy, Holy, Holy!” Their awe of the essence of God is never diminished…and forever expressed in this one unearthly word, “Holy!”
I think it will be the first word that will come to our lips when we step into God’s real Presence and look upon the One we worship. “Holy!”

In one of my July posts Glory of God , I appreciated a comment left by Pam from Colorado .
She said , “I do not use the word ‘awe’ very often as it represents to me, the very feelings I have for God. This picture is awe inspiring and instantly grabs my attention and turns it to the mightiness of God and all the beauty and wonder he represents.”

I know what she means and I agree…I don’t often use the word-awe’ either unless it in connection with God or His creation.
The word ‘awe’ however is understood – it means something so incredibly beautiful or mind-boggling that only God could have done it !!
The definition of ‘awe’ is written out in God’s glorious universe.

Holy…is the part of God that He did not display in His creation. It is the hidden part of God that our physical limitations do not allow us to embrace or even begin to understand.

We are, however, given some glimpses into the awesomeness of what this word speaks of...

When Moses drew near to the burning bush, when Joshua encountered the Commander of the Lord, both were told to remove their shoes for they stood on Holy ground.
Just as we remove our shoes before we step onto someone’s white carpet, so also the contamination of this world cannot touch God’s holiness.
Shoes also provide a barrier to protect us from the elements. There is nothing man-made that can protect us from God’s Holiness.

And protection we need !!
Holy speaks of the ‘terrifying’ side of God – the part that fills us with fear!!
It is the ‘Holy’ of God that caused Isaiah to say “Woe is me, I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5) The sight of God’s Holiness was so ‘terrible’ that Moses exclaimed.. “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling!” (Heb. 12:21)
Even John the beloved disciple, who knew Jesus so intimately, when he saw his Holiness….”fell as His feet as dead!”(Rev. 1:17)

And it is not without cause that man cannot stand for fear before God’s Holiness.
God warned the Israelites over and over that if they so much as touched anything God declared Holy…. They would die !!
“but..they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die!” (Num.4:15) And God was serious….When Uzza reached out to keep the Ark of the Covenant from tipping, God immediately struck him dead! (I Chron. 13:9.10)
God gave the priests a special recipe for the perfume, the holy anointing oil. It was not to be poured upon man’s flesh, nor could they try to imitate the recipe for their own use - It was Holy !
Punishment for disobedience ? death (Ex. 30:31-33)

God’s Holiness is not to be taken lightly , no matter how secure we are in His love and care and faithful tenderness.
David, a man so close to God’s heart, stands in awe of God’s holiness. “Let them praise thy great and terrible name…for it is HOLY.” (Ps. 99:3)
One of my favourite verses that always brings awe into my being is in Hab. 2:20, “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

I find it interesting that man through the ages has not found another usage for the word ‘Holy’. It is as though God has preserved even the word for Himself.

Except !

Satan, knowing what this word represents, has taken it and put it into men’s mouths as a swear word.
I am more offended when people use the word “Holy” as a swear word than any other and then so often coupled with words describing the basest of earth’s elements.

God has declared, “You shall not profane My Holy name……” (Lev. 22:32)
And yet, Holy as God is , fearful and terrible to our human flesh, He has found a way to ‘touch’ US with His holiness.
To His children, He has given His Holy Spirit…that mysterious otherness of God that we cannot see….abides within us to make us Holy, even as He is Holy.
God has called us to be a people separated from the world, a people ‘touched’ with God’s holiness.
“And you shall be holy unto me for I the Lord am holy and have severed you from other people, that you should be mine !” (Lev. 20:26)

What an honor!!
I am reminded of a time we were moving when my daughter was three years old. She wanted so badly to help carry stuff to the car. The boxes of course were too heavy for her, so I gave her a jar of pickles and told her it would be a very special help to me if she carried them carefully to the car. I can still see the pride in her face , and how extra careful she was not to drop it, guarding the trust given her. To her at that moment nothing was more important than to carry that jar safely to the car.
Is that not how we should live our lives as Christians? Ever aware of the most Holy thing that we carry within us??

There is a verse at the end of the Book that tells us what the end times will be like. There will be an exaggeration of evil but also a rising up of God’s saints !! The usage of the word ‘still’ means that the condition is set …on going.

“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still, he who is filthy, let him be filthy still , he who is righteous , let him be righteous still, he who is holy, let him be holy still !!! (Rev. 22:11)

“I saw the Lord…and the train of His robe filled the temple, Above it stood seraphim, and one cried to another and said,….
’Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts , the whole earth is full of His glory !!!”

(Is. 6:1,2)


Lovella said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I've many times explained the difference of swear words and vulgar language. Most people are quick to call vulgar language the rudest . .but you are right, the other is far more offensive to me.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! I love the word Holy. It too brings God's amazing majest to the forefront. I am grateful that He is, and that He loves me enough to bring me into being - and allow me to live, even though I am not worthy.

Demara said...

Yes I too and upset with how the world takes sacred words and use them unthoughtfully.

Your last verse there, and the whole time I was reading this post I kept thinking of
Rev 4:6-11. Whenever I sing in church I think of the part here that says: Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, HOly, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come." I think that maybe there will be a large congregation, everyone that is in Heaven, will bow down and sing to the Lord these words. And rejoice!