READING: Isaiah 5-8
Given the great need for holiness in God’s church today, I am repeating this lengthier devotion from 2015, with only a few changes.
One theme of the book of Isaiah is the fundamental holiness of God. God is the “Holy One of Israel” from the beginning of this book (Isa. 1:4). He seeks out the holy remnant among His people (Isa. 4:3), and He is distinguished by His righteousness (Isa. 5:16). Perhaps the most famous “holy passage” in Isaiah is the prophet’s call in Isaiah 6. There Isaiah found himself before God in the Temple, where angels were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; His glory fills the whole earth: (Isa. 6:3). Note what happens when we really see God as holy:
1. We see ourselves as who we really are: as an unclean people desperately in need of a cleansing touch from God.
Isa. 6:5 “Then I said: ‘Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.’”
2. We become willing to go wherever God demands, with no details provided.
Isa. 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Who should I send? Who will go for Us?' I said: 'Here I am. Send me.'"
3. We are still willing to go wherever God asks, even after He tells us we’re going to hard soil — to a people who will not listen to us.
Isa. 6:11-12 “Then I said, ‘Until when, Lord?’ And He replied: ‘Until cities lie in ruins without inhabitants, houses are without people, the land is ruined and desolate, and the Lord drives the people far away, leaving great emptiness in the land.’”
4. We find our hope in the remnant of people whom God always secures.
Isa. 6:13 “Though a tenth will remain in the land, it will be burned again. Like the terebinth or the oak that leaves a stump when felled, the holy seed [the remnant of followers] is the stump.”
5. We refuse to live in fear of men; only God is to be feared and awed.
Isa. 8:13 “You are to regard only the Lord of Hosts as holy. Only He should be feared; only He should be held in awe.”
6. Even when others are turning to false gods, we live in God’s Word.
Isa. 8:19-20 “When they say to you, ‘Consult the spirits of the dead and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,’ shouldn’t a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them.”
7. We always look forward to the better yet to come.
Isa. 7:14 “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: ‘The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.’” That is, in the ultimate fulfillment of this verse, Christ will come.
Here, then, are some questions that help you determine if you REALLY see God as holy:
- Can I do anything but grieve on my face when I look at my sin?
- Am I seriously willing to go wherever and do whatever this holy God calls me to do — even if He tells me my work will be unsuccessful in the world’s eyes?
- If I’m living on hard soil, do I still believe God has a remnant — that He is still working?
- If I'm honest, does my life show I fear God more, or do I fear men more?
- Do I live in God’s Word?
- Does the truth of Christ’s coming — and in our case, His second coming — truly change the way I live?
What’s your answer? Based on your response to these questions, do you — do I — really see God as holy?
PRAYER: “God, I want to live a holy life, and I affirm again my commitment to that goal. Help me. Change me.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 9-12