The Holiness of God
Psalm 99:3
Let them praise your great and terrible name; for it is holy.

Revised Version, "Holy is he." The refrain of the psalm is found in these words. Possibly it was given as a response by the congregation. What is prominent here, however, is not the purity that is in holiness, as the majesty that is in it, the severity that is in it. The psalmist is full of the "greatness" and the "terribleness" of the Divine Name, and this makes him say it is reverend, it is awe inspiring. It is one of the serious evils of our day, that the more august and solemnizing views of God seem to be lost. There is so little now of the "submission of holy awe." Even in acts of homage and worship we have to fear the encroachments of an undue familiarity. Hebrews may let reverence pass into superstition when they refuse to pronounce the Divine name, but it is to run to the opposite and even more dangerous extreme when we, at the lightest provocation, take the holy Name upon our lips. Today we need to put deeper and more searching and more awe inspiring meaning than ever into the "great and terrible Name" of the All-holy One. It is not "holiness" as a Divine attribute, but "holiness" as making a Divine claim, which we have here to consider.


1. Take "holiness" as ideal, absolute perfection, the sublimest idea of being that man can possibly reach. Wherever man finds that, in whomsoever he finds that, he is bound to worship. Show that man can think a holiness which neither he nor any other has ever, or can ever, reach. God is presented as the perfect realization of that thought, so for God man has the highest reverence.

2. Take "holiness" as finding expression in righteousness and faithfulness. Then every review of the Divine dealings wakens in us the spirit of worship. There is so much to thank God for, to trust God for, to honour God for.

II. THE DIVINE HOLINESS AS DECIDING THE CHARACTER OF WORSHIP. There is a tone of familiarity and lightness in much that is called "worship," which, though not wrong, is unbecoming and unworthy. We need say no evil of those who put noise and excitement in place of reverence, but we may urge that an atmosphere of quietness, solemnity, awe, are becoming to God's house. Reverence, humility, self-restraints, submissive awe, are befitting his worship of whom it is said, "Holy is he." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.

WEB: Let them praise your great and awesome name. He is Holy!

The Greatness of God in Zion
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