There are a few phrases that we Americans say daily which most people don’t think twice about using. Phrases such as: Holy cow! or Holy crap! or Holy guacamole! As believers in He who is always holy, let’s see if these harmless phrases are OK for us to use. This is not judgment from me, but instead this is God’s people seeking His heart.
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit…”
We know that God is holy, therefore His name is holy too. Jesus said to pray by saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.” That word hallowed means: to honor as sacred, holy, consecrated, sanctified, greatly revered and respected. The word holy means: morally pure, set apart.
Perhaps the verse that comes quickly to your mind is Exodus 20:7:
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” God was pretty clear about wanting us to respect His name.
The Israelites didn’t even know the name of God until Moses asked Him who to say He was, and God said “I AM”. That’s when the Lord gave them the 10 commandments, including the one about His name. Most Jews today won’t even pronounce or write the name/names of God because they are taught that it should only be said when reading the Torah or in prayers. But this is contradictory to what scripture says about proclaiming His name, crying out to Him, praising His name, etc. The point is, the name of God should bring awe, reverence, fear and joy. It is not something to take lightly or be said in passing, especially not something to be used when we are angry or feel the need to exclaim harsh words. His name is to be said when we are speaking directly to Him or about Him.
But this blog is more about the word “holy”. If God alone is holy, and we are made holy and righteous through the shed blood of Jesus, then to flippantly use that word which describes God eternal, could be considered sacriligious or blasphemous. We must be careful when speaking about God’s character and qualities, and not apply them in a more common manner. For us to give cows, crap, or any other word we casually might add after “holy”, disrespects what our God is, and what we are through Jesus: pure, undefiled, sanctified, consecrated. Our holiness came at a price!
In Isaiah, the prophet was shown a vision. In it, he saw the Lord sitting high upon a throne. Above him stood the seraphim with their many wings: two covered each face, two covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to the other and said, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” When a word was used 3x, this was great emphasis on what was being said. Jesus would say, “Verily, verily I say unto you” to get his point across, though he typically would only say it 2x. So this attribute of God’s is the only one that was said 3x in a row in the entire Bible, which makes it of utmost importance.
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
Peter wrote about being holy:
“but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” 1 Peter 1:15-16
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fit the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Food for thought: Do you take the name of God, the Lord Jesus Christ in vain, even if only when you’re angry? Are your children learning these bad habits? Teach them to revere and respect with awe His holiness and His name.
Fun fact: The Holy of Holies was the innermost and most sacred room in the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple in Jerusalem. This was where God would appear to the High Priest one time a year, on Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. The priest would have to cleanse and purify himself before entering, wear special garments, and bring burning incense with him for the smoke to shield his eyes from the glory of God. He had to bring in sacrificial animal blood to atone for his sins and for the Jew’s sins. This holiest of rooms was separated from the rest of the temple by a huge heavy drape, a veil. This spared the lives of the other priests that worked in the temple from dying in God’s presence. When Jesus died, that Temple veil was torn top to bottom, signifying that man was no longer separated from God because of Jesus’ one-time blood sacrifice for all mankind. Thank you Jesus!
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Holy Tree