Holiness is a foreign concept in our secular society. This is not surprising, since the opposite of holy is secular, or common. So how can we understand what it mean to pray “hallowed be Your name?”
Today’s devotional reading will be greatly enhanced by this well-known hymn by Reginald Heber (1783-1826).
Psalm 99 – The Lord Our God Is Holy
1The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! 2 The Lord is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples. 3 Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he! 4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob. 5 Exalt the Lord our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the Lord, and he answered them. 7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.
8 O Lord our God, you answered them;
you were to them God-Who-Forgives,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings. 9 Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the Lord our God is holy!
Observations and reflections
A simple way of understanding the message of the psalmist is by rewriting the Psalm in your own words:
This psalm is a lesson to us.
What is the chore call of this Psalm? (hint: look for repetition verses 3, 5, 9)
This Psalm has three main lessons about our relationship to the Holy God (hint: look before the repeated phrases, i.e. at verses 2, 4, 6-8)
Mark the (a) names of God and (b) attributes of God praised in this psalm.
Personal reflection and Prayer
To say that God is holy means that he is not like us, that his ways are different, and that his character and nature is unique. And this is the call of praise in Psalm 99: God is high above all people, his governance shows no favouritism, is fair and free of corruption; yet although God is awesome and untouchable he saves those who call on Him, has relationship with sinful people, forgives freely yet punishes wrongdoing.
What makes God unique in your eyes? Tell him that.
In your own words pray along the lines of this Psalm:
Tell God in which way He more powerful than humans, angels or any force in creation.
The aim of this devotional study is to grow in the knowledge and appreciation of the church.
5 And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” 6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
Observations and reflections
Note: The context of this Scripture is within the prophesy which John wrote about the future judgment of the whole world, where Satan and his followers will be judged by God, and Jesus’ faithful followers will be rewarded by Him. See also Revelations 21:2,9
What is the metaphor John uses describe the reunion between Jesus and his church in this prophesy?
What is the atmosphere of this reunion?
What is the church of Jesus likened to in this prophesy?
What do you understand Jesus wanted to communicate by using this metaphor / imagery for the church?
What are the required response of the church implied in this imagery? [hint: verse 8]
Personal reflections and prayers
Consider each of the following questions, and then talk to the Lord about each of these points:
How often does your local congregation speak about, pray about or sing about the return of Jesus?
How much and how often do you long for Jesus’ return to come and fetch you to himself?
In considering your daily conduct: would you say your “garments are white” – i.e. do you live a righteous life or are you involved in things that the Bible or your conscience condemn?
If Jesus would speak to you today, would he be jealous of your affections for earthly things?
The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in the knowledge and understanding the Holy Spirit’s function in our ongoing salvation.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
As Paul starts to conclude his letter to the church in Thessaloniki he addresses the cultural acceptance of Greco-Roman immorality. From this text try to summarize
his appeal to them (what should they do?) v1-7
the motive of his appeal to them (why listen?) v3, 7
the warning he gave them (what if they won’t obey?) v6
the urgency of the situation (why is this important?) v8
What is the link between the appeal to holy conduct, the warning of punishment and the indwelling Holy Spirit?
Application and prayer
Paul is writing to Christians, reminding them of previous instructions (v1-2). Do you find it strange that they be reminded to walk in holiness now that they are saved? How do you relate, since we live a similar promiscuous world?
Consider your own daily life with your thoughts, feelings, motives, relationships, actions, dreams – now think of Paul’s appeal “God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness… [He] gives us his Holy Spirit” (v7-8). What thoughts and feelings /convictions does that conjure up in you? Bring those thoughts and convictions in prayer to God – in confession or repentance or humble reflection.
James 4:4-5 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
Consider also the similar instruction of James 4:4-5 above. We have discovered in the previous posts on Salvation that God has saved us from the sin, death and the world, marking us as his own through the seal of the Holy Spirit – setting us aside to and for himself. Spend time in prayer to reflect on this truth of salvation as being set aside for God, who has given his Spirit to live in us so we can have fellowship with him. How will this change your life today? Write down your thoughts and talk it through with a friend.