Lessons from Hymns: God's Holiness

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

The hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” is one of the most theologically rich songs in the English language. When we sing it, we declare that God is perfect, set apart, complete. In repeating “holy” three times, we are acknowledging the triune nature of God. But one of the most beautiful things we do when we sing this song is join the choir of angels and saints who have been singing this song forever in both directions.

The first biblical mention of the words “holy, holy, holy is in Isaiah 6:
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!’”

We also see these words mentioned in Revelation 4:
“At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne… And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!’”

God’s holiness has been declared throughout all time. In the days of Isaiah’s vision in the Old Testament and John’s vision in the New Testament, powerful mystical beings have been singing our Lord’s praise. God, in His mercy and love for us, has allowed us to join them. He has revealed His holiness to us, so that we may share in it and praise him for it.

It is my prayer that we will be in awe of this reality everyday. May we rejoice daily in the holiness that God has shared with us.