In Exodus 3 we have the beginning of the whole experience of the holy, which is followed by God’s specification of what it is like to live in a way that is pleasing to him. Watch closely, Moses’ reaction was not untypical.
Moses said, I shudder in fear.
Isaiah in his vision said, Woe is me, I am ruined, I am undone (I am coming apart, disintegrating).
Habakkuk argued with God, he didn’t understand how this God of justice could use those horrific Chaldeans to punish the holy people of Israel. He challenges God, and the LORD answers, upon which Habakkuk says, O Lord, I have heard your speech and I was afraid, my belly trembled, my lips quivered, rottenness entered into my bones and I trembled in myself.
Job encountered the holiness of God and he said, Behold I am of small account. What shall I answer unto you God, I will lay my hand upon my mouth.
My friends, when you come into the holiness of God there is nothing that can be said other than holy, holy, holy. Even though you are, like Isaiah, a brilliant statesman, an absolutely outstanding scholar, you simply don’t march in and give your pedigree when you come into the presence of the King. You don't come in and talk about all that you have accomplished, all you have done, how many people you have won to Christ, how many churches you have built, how many TV programs you have aired. You don’t say any of that when you encounter a holy God; you lay your hand to your mouth and you don’t speak.
I came into the kingdom in 1977 in a powerful encounter with the holiness of God, and for the days following that it was a very strange experience for me. I tend to be very mental so if you ask me a question it is very natural for me to come up with some answer, even if I don’t know what I am talking about. But you know what happened after I had this encounter with the Lord? All my friends would ask me questions like, Dwight what about this, or, how do you explain this, or that? You know what I had to say every time? I don’t know. I would think about answering their question in my usual way–in the common ordinary way–and spiritually my hand would come to my lips, because I realised this is something unique, this is something different, this is something wholly other than anything that I had ever read about, experienced or talked about. I may have meditated with Buddhist monks, I may have taught on the Bhagavad-gita, but this is different. I can’t ever speak of it. I am like a child; I don't know, I don’t know, I don’t know. But—holy, holy, holy is the God whose Spirit now resides in me.
* This is an audio transcript, listen to the original message here.