When God commissioned Isaiah for his difficult ministry he gave him a glimpse of Himself on his throne. That was what Isaiah needed for him to have the strength to carry out his important task. We see Isaiah’s recollection of that event in Isaiah 6. Two aspects of God’s character are particularly noted in that passage. First is God’s holiness. The beings around the throne called out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.” Central to the majesty of God is holiness. But what is holiness?
To be holy means to be separate. God is separate from all other beings. There is no one like him. In Isaiah 40:25 he says, “To whom will you compare me?” God is unique. He is beyond our comprehension and our imagination. He has no limit. Nothing is impossible with him. We will not always understand what he is doing in this world, but that is to be expected, for he is holy. But his holiness also means he is completely separate from evil. In his first epistle John wrote, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Everything he does is good. It is because of his holiness that we can trust him totally, for at all times he is good and is seeking our good.
When Laurie and I got married some friends gave us a week in a condo on the island of Kauai as a wedding present. So they day after our wedding we flew to Hawaii. As our plane began its approach to Honolulu International Airport we got our first good look at a Hawaiian island. It was love at first sight. We saw the lush mountains in the interior and the turquoise, aqua and blue waters of the ocean and said, “Oh wow!” We beheld the glory of Hawaii. During our stay we were overwhelmed by lovely beauty and the warm tropical breezes of those islands.
We took pictures. When we got home we were full of enthusiasm as we showed friends the photos of our trip and shared about how beautiful Hawaii is. Somehow the pictures just didn’t capture the glory. We were frustrated to find that people listened to our descriptions of Hawaii and said things like, “I’m sure it is very nice.” They weren’t captured by the glory. But we’ve never gotten over it.
God is truly glorious. No description we can ever give, however enthusiastic, will come close to the reality. Others may not get it when we tell them of his glory, but we must never get over being overwhelmed by it. Author and professor, Marva Dawn, wrote, “the most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality or school prayer. The critical issue today is dullness. We have lost our astonishment.” What the world most needs is that we who know God would be always astonished at his glory. Michelangelo, the artist, once prayed, “Lord, let me see your glory in every place.” Amen to that!