By Fr. Michael Carl, Contributing Writer
Ask anyone who’s been to school and they’ll tell you the same thing: Teachers go over the same things again and again. Everyone in my generation remembers how our teachers in elementary school drilled us on the multiplication tables. 7X1=7, 7X2=14, 7X3=21, and forth.
As tedious as that process may seem, it’s incredibly effective. What is it? It’s repetition.
Well, the Bible uses that method also. In the Bible, when Jesus spoke to His disciples, He would often say something like ‘”Truly, truly, I say to you…”’
In the Greek New Testament, the word translated as ‘Truly’ is the word, ‘Amen.’ So Jesus was literally telling His disciples up front that what He was saying was true and deserved their attention.
In all the times Jesus uses “Truly,” He only says it twice.
So, what’s the point?
Throughout the Bible, the only time an adjective to describe God is repeated is the one that describes God’s character – Holy.
In Isaiah 6, the seraphim sing to one another saying, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. . .”’
We don’t read in Scripture about God being, “Love, love, love,” or “Mercy, mercy, mercy.” However, in Isaiah, when the prophet got a look into the throne room of Heaven, he heard the seraphim chant, “Holy, holy, holy.”
This is the character of our God. He is supremely, perfectly, and unendingly holy. In fact, His holiness is the one that truly describes the ultimate nature of His character. His holiness defines who He is.
His holiness is so glorious and powerful, it radiates from Him and overwhelms anyone His holiness touches. So powerful, so amazing, so daunting, and so overwhelming is His holy glory that whenever anyone in Scripture encountered Him, they were awestruck. They were even afraid.
In Exodus 33, Moses asked to see God’s face. God told Moses “No,” because, “No one can see My face and live.”
God wasn’t being a spoilsport; God was actually protecting Moses.
So, God said to Moses in Exodus 33:22,23, ‘“Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”’
Moses got that desired glimpse of God’s holiness, but when he came down from the mountain, his face so powerfully radiated God’s holy glory that the people were afraid to look at him. God is so gloriously holy that the “fallout,” if you will, of Moses seeing God’s back caused Moses’ face to glow.
Returning to Isaiah, Isaiah’s exposure to God’s holiness prompted him to fall to his face and admit that he was unworthy and unholy. That’s what happens when we encounter God’s holiness. We see who we really are and fall to our faces and weep because we realize how unholy we are.
Yet, after Isaiah’s encounter, the prophet was drawn to God. That’s another effect of coming into contact with God’s character. His holiness is also beautiful and we’re drawn to Him as a result. We know this because Isaiah was hanging around and drawn to God’s throne. In Isaiah 6.8, God asks whom He can send to deliver His word. Isaiah was close enough to the throne of God that He heard the question and volunteered, ‘”Here am I. Send me!”’
So where am I going with this?
At an encounter with God, the boldest men weep. The strongest men grow weak, and the most prideful of men admit they’re nothing. At an encounter with the holiness of God, people fall to their knees, or to their faces, and repent of their sinful ways and find new life in Christ – a refreshing of their souls and newness in their lives.
These encounters bring revival and a new Great Awakening.
At this moment in our nation history, this nation needs a fresh encounter with the holiness of God more than ever.
In the history of nations, whenever a revival has truly broken out, those nations changed for the better. England avoided another revolution. Wales was cleaned-up. And this nation saw improvements in its social ills and political corruption when revivals hit.
One way to see this wonderful change happen is for there to be a move of prayer. Every evening at 9 p.m., why don’t we ask God to send us a fresh touch of His holiness? If we would pray for at least five minutes at 9 p.m., and ask our friends to do the same, the Lord might just hear our heart cry and send a fresh encounter with His holiness.
That’s when our refreshing will begin.
Editor’s Note: Fr. Michael Carl is the priest and pastor at Christ the King Church, 4 Railroad Avenue, Suite 309 in Wakefield, www.ChristtheKingNorthShore.org. For more on revival, see www.awakenfest.org.
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