Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
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"Holy, Holy, Holy"

May 26, 2024

"Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee; Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

"Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee, Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see, Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee, Perfect in pow'r, in love, and purity."

Rejoicing in the presence of God, the six-winged seraphim called out, "Holy, holy, holy!" The prophet Isaiah heard those astounding words of praise and saw the Lord enthroned in His temple. We might envy the prophet for his awe-inspiring vision, but Isaiah knew he was in serious, even deadly, trouble. He cried out, "Woe is me!" (Isaiah 6:5b). Perhaps he was remembering what God said to Moses, "You cannot see My face, for man shall not see Me and live" (Exodus 33:20b). Isaiah was a sinner who lived among sinners, and he was in the presence of God. The prophet knew all too well that "the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see."

The psalmist rightly asks about entering God's presence, "Who shall stand in His holy place?" (Psalm 24:3b). His answer? Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart, only those without sin, may stand before God. Isaiah's deadly problem is our problem too; it is the dilemma of all people. Sin separates us from God, yet God wants us to live in fellowship with Him now and for all eternity. How can that happen? God alone can provide the answer, as He provided the answer for Isaiah. An angel took a burning coal from the temple altar and touched it to the prophet's mouth, saying, "Your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for" (Isaiah 6:7b).

Only Jesus, the Son of God and our Savior, has the clean hands and pure heart needed to intercede for us in God's presence. The innocent Son suffered the penalty of death that should have been ours. He took our guilt away; He atoned for our sins and, in exchange, clothes us in His holiness. We are righteous in the sight of God. We are welcome in His presence as we approach the throne of grace without fear, calling on God as our Father.

One day we will see the glory of God that Moses longed to see, the glory that Isaiah saw in his vision. There will be no need to echo Isaiah's frightened cry, "Woe is me!" Instead, clothed in Christ's righteousness, we will give thanks and praise to God for all eternity. We will join the saints and angels in the joyful praise that we are already singing here on earth: "Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!"

WE PRAY: Lord God Almighty, You have saved me. I will praise You now and forever. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy," which is number 507 in the Lutheran Service Book.

Reflection Questions:

1. Do you get a special sense when you go to church that it's the house of God? Why?

2. Is there power in praising God in all circumstances?

3. How is it possible that sinners could ever stand in the presence of a holy God?