“The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake! The Lord is great in Zion, and He is exalted above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name; Holy is He” (Psalm 99:1-3).
Psalm 99R .C. Sproul said, “If there is no delight in your soul for the holiness of God, you don’t know God. You don’t love God. You’re out of touch with God. You’re asleep to His character.”
In John’s revelation of the Lamb and the worship He receives in His eternal kingdom, he establishes the standard on which God stands: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come” (Revelation 4:8b).
In so believing, Peter calls the sheep of God’s pasture to a relentless pursuit of that very standard He established: “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:15).
With a clear understanding that the One who calls us to that standard died on a cross because we’re not holy, it is only in the honest pursuit of that standard that the Christ-follower finds true happiness, peace, intimacy, and fulfillment.
Listen to the words of A.W. Tozer, the highly esteemed 20th-century prophet, minister, and author: “No man should desire to be happy who is not at the same time holy. He should spend his efforts in seeking to know and do the will of God, leaving to Christ the matter of how happy he should be.” Charles Spurgeon provides meaningful insight into the accomplishment of that great quest: “If you would be holy, you must live close to Jesus.”
- Psalm 99:5, 9 – “Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; Holy is He. … Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His holy hill, for holy is the Lord our God.”
Webster’s Dictionary offers the synonyms glorify, extol, praise, and acclaim for the term exalt. The Greek term hupsoo means “to lift up, raise up, to raise on high.” Why does our recognition of God’s holiness draw us into praise and exaltation?
- Leviticus 20:26 – “Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.”
2 Timothy 2:20-21 – “Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
In this beautiful word picture from Paul in his last words to Timothy, he echoes the understanding known to all Jews in the early days of God’s revelation to His chosen people. To be holy is to be sanctified. To be sanctified is to be set apart. To be set apart is to receive the highest calling in all of life: “to be useful to the Master.” What does this calling mean to you?
How do you seize this high calling in your daily walk with Jesus?
- Romans 12:2 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
In the 21st-century Western world, crazed with social media, entertainment, and chemical stimulants that have distanced us exponentially from biblical living, what standards do you maintain that keep you “set apart” for holy living?
- 1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
What darkness did God call you out of? How does “His marvelous light” feel by comparison? How do you feel toward Him as a result?
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
What does Scripture mean when Paul says your body is a “temple of the Holy Spirit”?
How do you personally give proper response to such a calling?
From today’s scripture, how does THE Shepherd inspire you to shepherd your flock?