From Praying the Names of God Week Eleven, Day One
The title "Holy One of Israel" emphasizes God's uniqueness, otherness, and mystery as well as his call to his people to become holy as he is. The Israelites were to be set apart for God, devoted to his service, and committed to honoring his character by reflecting it in all their relationships. In the New Testament Jesus was recognized as the Holy One of God by demons who were threatened by his power and purity. As believers, we are called to reflect the character of Christ, to be holy even as he is holy.
When you pray to the Holy One of Israel, you are praying to the God whose holiness not only encompasses his sepration from evil, but his power, knowledge, justice ,mercy, goodness, and love.
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.'" (Leviticus 19).
GOD REVEALS HIS NAME
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.
"‘Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
"‘Do not turn to idols or make gods of cast metal for yourselves. I am the LORD your God...
"‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.
"‘Do not steal.
"‘Do not lie.
"‘Do not deceive one another.
"‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.
"‘Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him.
"‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight.
"‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the LORD.
"‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
"‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
"‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the LORD.
"‘Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.
Lord, your commandments reveal your character. Help us to reflect you in everything we do. Cleanse us and remake us into the image of your Son by the power of your Spirit. Help us to strive after holiness, knowing that to be holy is to glorify your name.Amen.
Understanding the Name
Qedosh is Hebrew for "Holy One," a title for God that appears most frequently in the book of Isaiah, though it also appears in some of the other prophets, notably Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Habakkuk, and in Psalms and Job. It emphasizes God's otherness, separateness, and mystery. The term most frequently used for "holy" in the New Testament is hagios.
To understand the title "Holy One of Israel," Qedosh Yisrael (ke-DOSH yis-ra-AIL), we need first to understand that holiness is grounded in God's nature. It refers not to one of his attributes but to the totality of his perfection. In his holiness, God exists above and apart from the world he has made.
Things, times, places, people, and other created beings became holy by virtue of their connection to God. Thus, the people of Israel became holy because God chose them. Their holiness was to be expressed and maintained through ritual practices and adherence to moral laws, which set them apart for the service of God.
It is important to realize that God's holiness involves not just separation from sin but his absolute hostility toward it. Christ ultimately bridged the chasm between God and sinful human beings by making himself the perfect offering for our sins. Believers are called to be holy as he is holy and are enabled to imitate Christ by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Studying the Word
- In Leviticus 19, God links his commandments to his name. Why do you think he keeps reminding the people that he is "the LORD your God"?
- If this were the only passage of Scripture you had ever read, what would it lead you to believe about God's character?
- Read through these commandments prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to show you where you need to make changes in order to live according to God's guidelines for holiness. What areas in your life are highlighted?
Meet your spiritual ancestors as they really were: Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them.