So how are we to respond to the dimensions and demands of the holy? Dwight begins addressing this question your Sabbath installment of Holy, Holy, Holy.
Our first response should be that of wonderment ... oh, the wonder of it all!
We have a very rich legacy of wonder and of awe from the Bible and from Judaism. A legacy of astonishment, of what the Bible calls fear. But fear is such a negative term in English, it doesn’t convey the meaning in Hebrew. Consider this prophetic utterance in Exodus 15:11, “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?" The Israelites have just passed out of enslavement in Egypt and they are celebrating. They have been delivered by the right hand (the power) of God, their enemies have been swamped under the ocean and now they are rejoicing over their God. What do they say? They speak of his holiness, "who among the gods is like you O Yahweh?" In other words, no one—there is nobody like you. This is a rhetorical statement; you are different, distinct, other than anyone or anything else. Remember we looked at Sennacherib’s problem? He was comparing the God of Israel with other deities. He said none of the other deities have come to the aid of the people I've conquered, what makes you think Yahweh is going to deliver you from my might and power? He profaned the name of God, he compared God to an ordinary common deity and Yahweh showed himself mightily.
"Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?"
I pray that a spirit of radical amazement and wonder will overtake you. We need to become more childlike, we need to be in awe and wonder at the majesty of God’s holiness, at his continual miracles. I think that most of us as Christians have lost a great deal of this legacy, and as a result we are perishing. In some cases not even for a lack of information, we are perishing for a lack of appreciation. The problem may not be so much ignorance as it is indifference. I heard someone say something that struck me as extraordinarily wise, "God is not nearly as offended by drunkards, prostitutes, or the fallen materialistic people in this world as he is by the indifference of his people." It is the disinterest of Christians that breaks his holy heart; the kind of passivity which says what’s new? Impress me with your sermon, impress me with your preaching style, impress me with your music; I have seen it all, I have heard it all. The LORD God would spit you out of his mouth, myself included.
Have we lost the sense of appreciation and wonder?
Are we consumed with a spirit of indifference?
One reason we try to engage you in praise and worship before the teaching is to break you out of that worldly spirit of apathy and indifference. You need to come into this place as a holy place, and you need to be holy people. Lay down your cares, concerns, and preoccupations. Cast off your laid-back mindset. Be amazed at who God is—that it is by his grace that you are breathing, looking, hearing! We are presumptuous, we think everything can be explained, just ask the right expert or give science time. What chutzpah! There is no mystery left, we have it all figured out. Hear the truth; everything cannot be comprehended, there is mystery. In fact, the most brilliant philosopher and the most astute scientist still cannot explain how it is that we can comprehend what we even seek to comprehend. Deep down we all know we do not know everything. Simply explain to me how it is that we comprehend anything, at all. This is a mystery! One that should cause us to bow down before the ineffable, the Holy One of Israel.
* This is an audio transcript, listen to the original message here.