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God's Holiness


Some days, I am just the court jester, a fool… a buffoon, offering a little different look at things we all know and understand. So it is today. So, if my ramblings don’t work for you, just consider the source. A fool.

One of the worship songs we sing is “Word of God Speak”. The line that chokes me up every time pleads,

“To be still and know that you’re in this place.
Please let me stay and rest in your holiness.”

My spirit craves God’s company more than my chubby body craves food. The notion of resting in the Father’s lap, wrapped in loving arms just melts me. Tears of relief fill my eyes every time we sing those words.

But that’s not the foolish part.

This is. Resting in God’s holiness. At first glance, that’s such an absurd notion. God’s holiness is a dangerous thing to us sinful mortals. It places our unholiness in clear view, drawing a bull’s eye on us for punishment.

The Israelite portable tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple included a special room, the Most Holy Place, set off by a thick curtain. The Ark of the Covenant rested there among some angelic decorations, but mostly, God himself made his presence there. But there were no chairs, there wasn’t a couch. That wasn’t a place to go rest. In fact, only the High Priest could go in there, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement. His job was to apologize for his sins and the sins of the Jewish people and then get out of there. More a courtroom than a lounge, I’d say. (Leviticus 16)

Holiness is to be revered and feared, but to be rested in?

But, wait a minute. When Jesus died on the cross, didn’t the curtain separating the temple’s Most Holy Place mysteriously rip from top to bottom, exposing the presence of God to the unwashed masses? (Matt 27:51) Oh yeah. Our relationship to God is different because Jesus removed our sin. I am his righteousness, now.

So I can rest in his holiness. It doesn’t threaten me because of Jesus’ blood. And, you know, I can even appreciate and enjoy his holiness – his uniqueness, his strength, and his unshakable heart of love. I’m not a criminal in his courtroom. I’m his child clamoring up with him in his big chair.

So, songwriter, you’re right! I can stay and rest in his holiness! Thanks for making me think. Foolish me.

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Mike Pulley

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