Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church in Raleigh (N.C.), was originally posted on November 10, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“God is Holy”—What Does That Even Mean?
The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! 2 The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. 3 Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! 4 The King in his might loves justice. You have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. 5 Exalt the Lord our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he! 6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the Lord, and he answered them. 7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; they kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them. 8 O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. 9 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!
In the world of sports, there is a phrase often used called the “holy grail,” which refers to a record or achievement that seems out of reach or “set apart.” For example, in the world of track and field, Usain Bolt set the 100m record at 9.58 seconds which seems out of reach for any normal runner. In tennis, it is often the grand slam in which you win all the major tournaments in a single year. All of these records are viewed as out of reach because of almost “impossible to attain” status.
In Psalm 99, the Lord is referred to as one who is “set apart,” which means the holiness of God. Holiness is not an easy concept to define or understand. We can think of it as moral perfection, purity, or right conduct, but it’s far deeper than that. At its root, holiness is not an ethical concept, but rather, it is the very nature of God that distinguishes him from all else. One commentator says that “holiness is a word to emphasize the distance between God and man: not only morally, as between pure and polluted, but in the realm of being, between the eternal and creaturely.” The holiness of God is important for us to understand if we are to appreciate the character of this supreme and reigning Monarch.
Does the holiness of God lead you to worship? Does it cause you be in awe of the one who is “set apart” from anything on this earth? The Bible calls God holy more than anything else, more than sovereign, more than just, more than merciful or loving. Take some time this morning to reflect on the holiness of God. Pray that the Lord would give you a higher view of His holiness that you may stand in awe of Him.
Prayer: O Creator God, You are eternally set apart from us creatures. Lord, help us to never forget the infinite distance that stands between You and us. Yet, You’ve abridged that gap, through the reconciliatory work of Christ on the cross, so that we, who were once far away, have been ushered into Your holy presence. Thank you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 40
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Peter 1:13-16: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Questions to Consider
- How should the holiness of God affect our daily lives?
- According to Peter, how should we handle our desires?
- What are some areas in your life that you desire to be more holy (pure)?
- Peter writes in his letter that those who are in Christ should strive to be holy in all of our conduct. The Christians’ lifestyle is not to conform to the basic desires that formerly dominated them and kept them from God.
- Peter exhorts believers to control their desires rather than to be controlled by them. Before Christ we were in ignorance; and now because of the grace that brought us to revelation of Jesus, we have come to know God and his will.
- Maybe it’s sexual purity, love for others, pride, desire for material things, etc. Surrender whatever it might be to the Lord, and pray that he would give you purity of heart and mind, as you desire to become more like Jesus.
At the beginning of Psalm 99, the nations are exhorted to praise God but regardless of how the nations respond, God is great in Zion, and this means that he is to be praised by his people. The renown 19th century British pastor Charles Spurgeon wrote, “The ignorant forget him, the wicked despise him, the atheistical oppose him, but among his chosen he is great and beyond compare. He is great in the esteem of the gracious, great in his acts of mercy, and really great in himself: great in his mercy, power, wisdom, justice and glory.”
Let us worship our great and holy God as we close our day.