The Holy….

Posted by Dave Clayton on

"Holy bill of rights, Batman!" - Robin
"Holy haberdashery, Batman!" - Robin
"Holy atomic pile, Batman!" - Robin
"Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods!" - Robin
"Holey rusted metal, Batman! The ground. It's all metal. It's full of holes. You know, holey." - Robin

These quotes all come from one of my favorite childhood shows and I admit, I am a little bit of a Batman nerd.  I didn't even know what most of these lines meant as a kid and I still have no clue what Robin is suggesting to the Dark Knight regarding atomic scraps & one of our nation's founding documents.   And if you've never taken the time to digest an episode of these carefully crafted pieces of slap-stick comedy and all it's campy satire, I would highly suggest it.  It's altogther wonderfully wacky. 

It does make me wonder though, how did this word, "Holy", travel so far from its original meaning and land in a 60s sitcom about two men dressing up in tights and fighting villians whose faces are adorned with white makeup and lipstick? 

Despite this silly display of comedic genius (just my opinion of course), the word "Holy" has managed to stay closely intertwined to the being of God.  This word has almost been completely reserved for our times of worship.  It's been held as a title that we give to nothing else and no one else but this matchless and glorious God that has created us.  He has no equal.  He has no limits, no bounds.  He is inexhaustible, immeasurable, unfathomable, eternal, immortal, and invisible.  He is completely "otherly".... which is another great word for Worship (and for a whole separate rant).   

Holiness....

There are other great words for worship.... "Mighty", "Beautiful", "Powerful", and even "Awesome".  But these terms don't accomplish the same sense of wonder and awe that the word "Holy" does.  Think about it:

Awesome - There are alot of people I think are awesome.  In fact, I tell them to their faces, "You're awesome man!"  Also, there are bands that I think are awesome, "Dude, The Shins are awesome!" or "80s Hair Metal is awesomely bad!"  Or when I was out west in Montana this past May, surrouned by snow-capped moutains that descended perfectly into lushious green fields, I said "This is truly awesome!"  But as awesome as that sight was to behold, it can not even compare to the glory of our Awesome God.   Take that in for a second.... don't let that just be words that you're scanning.  And then take this in: 

  • Job 25:2 "Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven."

  • Job 37:22 "Out of the north He comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty."

  • Psalm 89:7 "In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; He is more awesome than all who surround Him."

  • Isaiah 64:3 "For when You did awesome things that we did not expect, You came down, and the mountains trembled before You."


Suddenly those gorgeous mountains I gazed on in Montana don't feel so awesome anymore, because they trembled before the Awesome God.   And The Shins, well they definitely can't compare to that until they put out a few more albums.

I'm not suggesting that we throw out the word awesome, or eliminate it from our vocabulary, because let's face it.... it's way too late for that.  Don't try to start some protestation regarding the word awesome.  For example, "Hey Andrew, that sure was an awesome cheeseburger."  Me - "You imbosol, only God is Awesome.... a cheeseburger is nothing compared to the awesome God we read about in Isaiah 64:3."

Instead I'm just calling us back into a sense of remembering the Holy God we worship.  A refresher, a reminder if you will. 

I've been reading through Isaiah lately, and so sticking with that Old Testament trend I plugged above, here's a story that will blow your mind.  You've probably already heard it, and if you haven't you're in for a wild ride.  The story takes place in Isaiah 6:

"I saw the Master (God) sitting on a throne - high, exalted! - and the train of his robes filled the Temple.  Angel-seraphs hovered above Him, each with six wings.  With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew.  And they called back and forth to one another, "Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies.  His bright glory fills the whole earth.  The Foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and the whole house filled with smoke."

In the book of Revelation, the author describes a very similar scene where there are four almost fantasy-like beings resembling a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle.  They each had six wings as well that covered their faces, feet, and also served as aviation support.  Which honestly makes you wonder.... how could they see where they were flying if their wings covered their faces.  Who knows, but I would guess that God's holiness is so gloriously bright and spectacular that they could not look on it.

However, here we see what might possibly be the most important descriptive word of God's being.... Holy.  Everything about Him springs forth from His Holiness.  That Holiness is the center of everything that is taking place in this scene.  The word is in fact so central, that the those worshipping (the six-winged thingys) in his immediate presence don't just say He is holy once....they say it three times!  This is called the "thrice holy"....and it comes from some Greek word.  That's not my expertise, you'll have to get a Bible major or professor to that explain to you.   What I can say is, the "thrice holy" must be a pretty important aspect of worship.  Maybe we should be singing it more.  Maybe as a spiritual discipline we should be praying it more, journaling about it, singing it aloud when we're alone in the car or taking a walk.  Maybe we should bathe our worship in this idea....the Holiness of God.  I believe at the very core of worship.... Holy Holy Holy is what it's all about it.  Here's what I mean:  

"Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty."  This is the unending song of worship coming forth from the mouths of the angels and the creatures.  This is the Holy God that we sing to.  Everything about our God resounds through His Holiness and is a product of His Holiness.  Here's a few of examples on the characteristics of God, that emanates from His Holiness:

He is the Holy God, and out of His Holiness he creates far stretching galaxies, and stars residing light years away.  He places our star, the Sun, perfectly in time and space to give life to the Earth.  He creates vast oceans and towering mountains.  He creates all kinds of beasts, creatures of the sea and birds of the air.  And He creates man and woman in His own image with an instinctive longing to know their brilliant designer.  Out of His Holiness, He creates.

He is the Holy God, and out of His Holiness he commands the entire universe.  He says "Let there be Light," and light appears.  He calls out to violent storms and says "Be still," and they obey.  He is completely in charge of the running of the universe.  Out of His Holiness, He commands. 

He is the Holy God, and out of His Holiness he transcends anything and everything we've ever known.  He is completely "otherly."  There is none like Him in all existence.  And there is none worthy of worship besides Him.   Out of His Holiness, He transcends everything in the known universe.

He is the Holy God, and out of His Holiness he is the victorious warrior.  He is not an old man in the sky, He is not weak.... He is the Almighty God of justice.  He triumphs over sin and releases His terrifying wrath against the powers of darkness.  He fights for our hearts and has compassion for those who are broken and mistreated.  And He will ultimately destroy sin, because sin could never be in the prescence of His Holiness.  Out of His Holiness, He is the victorious warrior. 

He is the Holy God, and out of His Holiness he forgives the sinful hearts of men.  Despite the glory and awe that surround Him, God longs to forgive our broken hearts and restore new life to our messed-up lives.  Even though our sinful nature could never allow us to have fellowship with Him, this Holy God desires relationship with the people He creates.  He meets us where we are, in the midst of our mess and extends his grace.  His mercy alone can restore us with true joy and He willingly offers it to us.  Out of His Holiness, He is the forgiver of sinful hearts.

He is the Holy God, and out of his Holiness he is the Resurrected Lord.  As Brian Doerkensen puts it, He is the "champion of champions."  He comes to earth in mortal flesh, as both mortal & immortal, as both the Divine God and the perfect man.  This "God-man" is sentenced to death by the very people he created and came to save.  He suffers a cruel and torturous death on a cross... giving up His life so that the world may obtain a way for God and man to reunite in relationship.  But the story doesn't end there.   Our God IS ALIVE!  As the "champion of champions," he victoriously rises from death and defeats sin.  He pays the ultimate price for our failures, and offers us the gift of resurrection life through Him... a gift we never should deserve.  Out of His Holiness, He is the Resurrected Lord who offers eternal life for those that surrender their lives to Him. 

He is the Holy God, and out of his Holiness he is Romancer of our hearts.   He is the persistent lover of souls who is constantly inviting, welcoming, and drawing us back to Him.  He never forces us to love Him, but rather simply invites us to fall in love with Him.  Another quote I love from Doerkensen says, "God is courting and romancing us with one aim: so we may freely return that love and become devoted lovers of Him."  Out of His Holiness, He is the pursuing Romancer of man's heart. 

God's holiness is at the very core of our worship and I think it's so vitally important that we understand this truth.  With all the words we sing to God in our songs of corporate worship, lets continue to reserve some of those terms solely for the being of God.  Or at least differentiate in our minds that this God we are singing to is altogether completely and uniquely different from anything else.  When we sing that God is "Holy,"  lets really say to God, "you are holy, unlike any other that's in existence." 

If I could gather the cast members from that classic Batman show for a final reunion episode, I'd slip in a subtle line for Robin: "Batman! Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of His Glory!"  Batman- "Good work chum, the "thrice holy" is such a vital part of our worship to the Living God."  I'm not sure how it would work out.  The Joker would probably be off causing a ruccus, plotting some diabolicle scheme to take over Gotham City.  They'd have to jump in the Batmoblie and spare the city from sudden doom.  Ah.... just another day for the dynamic duo.  

Our God is Holy and out of His Holiness, sinful people, like you and me, enter into His prescence through worship and proclaim the glory and wonders of the Almighty. 

This is the God we worship.... the God of Holiness.
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