The power of the ocean surprised me. I had heard stories of rogue waves, dangerous currents, and destructive tsunamis, but I had never experienced them. That was before the Pacific caught me in its pull.
Our family was vacationing on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. We rented boogie boards earlier in the day and I eagerly wanted to try mine out. When we hit the beach, I didn’t hesitate. I jumped right in and paddled out to catch the waves. Unfortunately, by the time I realized they were breaking too far out for boogie boarding, I was in over my head. So with my upper body on the small board, I began to kick my way back to the beach.
Despite my efforts I couldn’t make any progress. In fact, after several minutes of trying I was farther away from the beach and farther down the shoreline. The board was strapped to my wrist so I let it trail behind me and began to swim. I swam until I was exhausted and swallowing water, but I was even farther from shore.
Powerless against the riptide, all I could do was cling to the board and holler for help. My dear husband, who came quickly to my side atop his own boogie board, talked me through riding out the current. Soon we were safely on the beach.
That experience gave me new respect for the ocean. I had heard of its power, but without first-hand knowledge I treated the water too casually. My new attitude does not prevent me from enjoying the ocean, but I approach it differently than I did before. The personal encounter with its power changed everything.
Likewise, intellectual assent to the holiness of God is not the same as personal experience. We can mentally agree to the truth that God is holy, but when we come face to face with His holiness we are forced to respond.
Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Exodus 15:11, NIV
You can experience our holy God in a real way. For instance, God can reveal His holiness to you when you are enjoying a magnificent sunset or reading His Word and praying. Sometimes we simply don’t wait before Him long enough. We see His glory in nature or we read of His majesty in Scripture, pause long enough to say, “Wow,” then we’re off and running again. I’m guilty of that.
Let’s try something together today. Revelation 1:12-16, included below, is John’s description of our Savior when Jesus appeared to him on the island of Patmos. Read it slowly. Picture this image of Jesus in your mind as you read. Ask Jesus to overwhelm you with His divinity, power, and holiness. Let His majesty envelop you like a bright cloud. Now sit, be still, and know.
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Revelation 1:12-16, NIV
How will you respond to His holiness today? In what ways could an encounter with God’s absolute holiness reshape and deepen your relationship with Him?
Kathy Howard’s new Bible study, “Embraced by Holiness: The Path to God’s Daily Presence,” helps readers discover a deeper intimacy with God through a life of holiness. This six-week, interactive Bible study explores why believers should pursue holiness and guides readers through practical steps to pursuing a holy life.