Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy! Psalm 99:9 (ESV)
After the letters to the seven churches in Asia John begins to record what he saw in his heavenly vision. In chapter four he gives a description of the throne room and tells of the four living creatures who do not rest day and night saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). What revelation did these creatures have that prompted their “non-stop” worship?
To begin to answer that question we don’t have to look much further than their first three words, “Holy, holy, holy.” The number three in scripture is often used to signify that something is full or complete. For instance we have the Trinity that consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is the fullness of God. By repeating holy three times these creatures were beholding something that is completely holy. The Greek word used for holy in Revelation 4:8 is hagios. Hagios means sacred, physically pure and morally blameless. God may be more holy than he is anything else. There is no evil, corruption or sin neither in him nor around him. And wherever his presence resides is holy.
We get a picture of God’s holiness in Exodus 3:5 when Moses encounters a burning bush that is not consumed. As Moses approached the bush he is instructed to remove his shoes because the place where he is standing is holy ground. What made that ground more holy than the surrounding areas? God was there in his manifest presence.
The psalmists were aware of the holiness of God having written, You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3 ESV) They also understood that God’s holiness is an attribute that entitles him to be worshiped. Let them praise your great and awesome name—Holy is he! (Psalm 99:3 ESV) Exalt the Lord our God, worship at his footstool—Holy is he! (Psalm 99:5 ESV)
Could it be that today’s church has lost its sense of awe at the holiness of God? Could this lost sense of awe at God’s holiness be the reason that ritual has taken the place of true worship is many churches today?
To be true worshipers we must have a revelation of the holiness of God and be in pursuit of holiness in our personal lives. For not only is God holy, he expects holiness from his worshipers. David wrote, Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:2 ESV) To worship in the splendor (beauty) of holiness could mean to worship decorated in holiness or sacredness. For our worship to be genuine we must strive to clothe ourselves in righteousness and let our adorning be God’s holiness. Without holiness our worship will have no depth and we will not see God.
Do you long to see God? Are you pursuing holiness?
Scriptures for meditation:
2 Corinthians 7:1
1 Thessalonians 4:7
1 Peter 1:16; 3:13