Friday, August 30, 2013
The Delight of a Sanctified Ear
Rev. 4:8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,
“Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.”
Isaiah. 6:3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
The Apostle has been describing for us the visions that he has seen in heaven. These visions provide for us such joy and excitement because they produce for us delight for the sanctified eye, as they give us a glimpse of what is to come. But now we move from simply a vision to a song of heaven, a song which brings delight to the sanctified ear. We are privileged to listen in when the hymn of heaven is sung. The four living creatures worship God day and night by singing praises, revealing the very nature of God. God is on the throne and just as royalty may be addressed as "your majesty" they are also addressed as "your holiness." Isn't this the case with our great and holy God -- "his holiness" should be addressed as "Holy, Holy, Holy!" This is a reaffirmation of the praise we hear from Isaiah where we first encounter this triple "holy" praise to God. Now we can see it as an affirmation of the Triune God -- the Holy Trinity -- an affirmation of his character and the creatures in heaven never stop singing his praises. Our sanctified ears are pricked as we enjoy the heavenly chorus singing out to our Holy God.
God is worthy of all of this praise and worship for he is "Almighty!" The word in Greek means so much more than our simply minds can comprehend. God is the pantokrator. Divide this word up into to parts, panto -- meaning all or everything. That's the "all" of the word "almighty." It means he is more mighty than anything or anyone. Krator means great, power, dominion, mighty or strength. That means that God is the absolute and universal sovereign; he has more power, more dominion, more might, more strength -- He is Almighty and he is Omnipotent! May we be in awe of God.
The final line of the song helps us to understand his infinite nature -- God who always has been, God who is and God who always will be into the future. Our English speaking minds have a little bit of trouble with "and is to come" because for us that sounds like a future event. Instead this is an active verb meaning more like he is in the act of coming. Therefore our Holy God always has been and always will be. And the Apostle listening in on this beautiful chorus of praise is overjoyed with what he hears -- the message of holiness poured out in harmonies beyond our imagination, the delight of a sanctified ear.
We are invited into this worship; into this sanctified song of praise for our Holy God. I have to confess that one of my favorite hymns is "Holy, Holy, Holy." To this day I love to sing that song for something wells up inside of me as I sing praise to "God in three persons, blessed Trinity." Yes, I get to sing praise to our incredible God but now let's just step back a moment and think about the fact that it is this God -- the Holy God -- the Omnipotent God -- the Infinite God -- who invites us into a holy relationship with him. God -- the Three in One -- invites us into this holy relationship. He is telling us to pull up a chair and become a part of what is happening there in the throne-room of heaven. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit -- wrapping us in a holy hug draws us into this pure relationship of holy love. And his very nature sanctifies us as we are made holy in his presence.
As we continue to worship in his presence, the power of the Almighty God purifies us from all that is unclean. Too often we worry about our own personal ability to make things right in our own lives. We think that we have to somehow make ourselves "right" before we can come before God. Too many people say that they have to get themselves right before they can live for the Lord. Why in the world would we want to try to use our own personal meager abilities to "get things right" when God Almighty is willing to do this for us? We are invited into the presence of Almighty God who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is ready, willing and able to transform our lives.
Finally, there is such peace in understanding the infinite nature of God. He always has been, he is now and forever will be. We are invited into relationship with this infinite God. We are invited to grow with God forever! And here we understand holiness -- "his holiness" which stretches out to infinity. This means that God is inviting us on a spiritual journey that stretches out before us and will never end. We are to experience God today in a way that we did not experience God yesterday. We will experience God tomorrow in a way that we could not today and therefore, just as Moses continued in his ascent up the mountain, so we are invited into a spiritual life in which there is a continual climb as we are continuously transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
The song from heaven resonates with us today. We are called to be God's holy people -- each and every single one of us. That is his desire for us -- to be holy, to be sanctified. And the heavenly hymn touches the ears of our Holy God -- and resonates with his children who have already been drawn into this holy life of faith with him. He is our Holy God and the hymn reaches sanctified ears and creates much delight as we simply rejoice in all that it means to celebrate God.
Lord, it is with overwhelming joy that I praise you and worship you today. Amen.