Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top Ten Hymns Countdown #2: Holy, Holy, Holy

My mother told me once that, when she attended the Highspire Church of God as a child, they sang this hymn every Sunday. I think that is a great tradition.

Outside of Scripture, there are very few words in the English language that so powerfully and beautifully remind us that God is a Holy God. The "Holy, holy, holy" comes from Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8, where in both cases angelic beings are speaking directly and specifically about God Himself.

The holiness of God is a topic which we American Christians woefully under-emphasize. There are two key principles about God's holiness, found in Lev. 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:15-16:

  1. God is holy.
  2. We, therefore, must be holy.
It is impossible for us, as finite and sinful humans, to comprehend fully the holiness of God...but it is worthwhile to try. This hymn helps us do that. It encapsulates, in a beautiful and concise way, several of the key teachings about God's holiness: Angels fall down before Him; no one and nothing is as holy as God; every created thing must praise God and His holiness.

The fact that we are to be holy as God is holy gives us a great responsibility—one possible only after salvation and through God's gracious help. Have you accepted His salvation and asked for His help in walking a holy walk through this world?

The words and music are by Reginald Heber and John B. Dykes, respectively.

Holy, Holy, Holy

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, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

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 power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Past Entries in this Series:

Top Ten Hymns Countdown #3: The Old Rugged Cross
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #4: Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #5: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #6: To God Be The Glory
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #7: Onward Christian Soldiers
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #8: How Great Thou Art
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #9: It Is Well With My Soul
Top Ten Hymns Countdown #10: All Creatures of Our God and King


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