Morning Moments

with Sandra Bivens Smith

The Holiness of the God of the Old Testament

1 Comment

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.(Psalms 29:2)Anchor

The Holiness of God

God’s glory and His holiness are inseparable for it is God’s glory that reveals His holiness. In his commentary on our anchor verse, John Gill wrote: “holiness is the beauty of God himself, he is glorious in it”. To say that God is holy, is not to describe His character, God’s holiness defines His person. The same would be said of His Glory, His Love, His Truth, His Justice;  these attributes and others, are not what God is, but Who God is.

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. (Exodus 3:14-15)

Would it surprise you for me to tell you that there are things that God cannot do? It’s true. As a matter of fact, God’s holiness is revealed as much through what He cannot do as it is through what He does do.

  •  God cannot be over-powered: I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.” (Exodus 6:3)
  •  God cannot change: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
  •  God cannot lie: so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:18)
  • God cannot deny Himself:  if we are faithless, He remains faithful— for He cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
  • God cannot not love:  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16)
  •  God cannot not be holy: And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)


What exactly does it mean that God is Holy, how do we wrap our finite minds around the infinite holiness of God?

 We must measure our sinfulness against God’s holiness.

Isaiah tells it perfectly.

Then I cried out, “I’m doomed! Everything I say is sinful, and so are the words of everyone around me. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD All-Powerful.” (Isaiah 6:5 CEV)

Too many of us try to measure our “holiness” in degrees. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, or maybe you’ve even said something to the effect “I know I should(n’t) ________________, but at least I don’t ________________.

The problem with that way of thinking is that God doesn’t recognize degrees of holiness, God is not a little bit holy, nor can we be; either we live holy lives by God’s standard or we don’t.

 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)


We must see ourselves as God sees us.

God created man for His glory, He created man to have fellowship with Him. God created man in His own image and He blessed him. God looked at man and was pleased with His creation.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)

Too bad man messed it up. God created us to be holy but man brought sin into the garden and because God is holy, He had no choice but to cast man out.

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)

God no longer saw man as very good, for man’s heart had become evil.

 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. (Genesis 6:5-6)

We should rejoice that the story doesn’t stop there!

Remember we said that God is unchanging? In spite of man’s sinfulness, God’s will didn’t change. God still intends man to be the revelation of His glory. God still desires to have fellowship with man.

God was not caught off guard, He had a plan.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

Before creation, Jesus was. Before sin, the propitiation was appointed.

 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:1-3)


We must humble ourselves before God.

As we come into His presence, we must recognize His holiness.

Our holy God lives forever in the highest heavens, and this is what he says: Though I live high above in the holy place, I am here to help those who are humble and depend only on me. (Isaiah 57:15)

  • We must bow our hearts before God and confess “God you are Lord of my life. You are righteous. I surrender all to You.
  • We must fully submit our lives, our wills and our worship to the only One who is worthy.
  •  We must enter His presence with a broken spirit and a contrite heart.
  • We must come before the altar of holy God and honor His holiness with our praises.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalms 51:17)

One of my favorite accounts of humility before God is the story of Moses and the burning bush.

When the LORD saw Moses coming near the bush, he called him by name, and Moses answered, “Here I am.” God replied, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals–the ground where you are standing is holy. (Exodus 3:4-5)


Let us never forget, that when we stand in the presence of God, whether we are in our church or our prayer closet, in the middle of the woods or “wandering in the wilderness”,  we are standing on Holy Ground.


Give it some thought…

  • God said that we are to “be holy for He is holy” (Leviticus 11:44). What do you think that means?


  • In he study we list several attributes of Who God is. List at least 3 more attributes and give supporting scripture for each one.


  • Do you agree with the statement, “God’s holiness is revealed as much through what He cannot do as it is through what He does do?”.  Why or why not?



  • Our anchor scripture (Psalm 29:2), speaks of “worshiping in the splendor of the Lord’s holiness”. What would that look like in your worship experience?


  • Of all the attributes of God, which one(s) do you consider most need for your life RIGHT NOW?  Explain why.

Author: Sandra Bivens Smith

Christian Writer Speaker Small Group Leader/Teacher

One thought on “The Holiness of the God of the Old Testament

  1. It is such a joy for me to be able to bring you this study. I pray you are blessed by it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s