Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Holy Name of God

I've been really chasing after a deeper understanding and intimacy with the holiness of God, and as a means of accomplishing this have just begun reading The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul.

One of the more impacting lines written by him in his work reads as follows,
In heaven the name of God is holy. It is breathed by angels in a sacred hush.
That sentence sent shivers up and down my spine, and it inspired the following poem, which is written from the perspective of a now-glorified Isaiah based off of his encounter with the holiness of God as found in Isaiah 6.

The Holy Name of God
By: Nathaniel Marshall

Isaiah ben Amoz, prophet of the One true God,
            By Him called and set apart,
To speak forth his words, to proclaim his glory,
            To receptive and to dull hearts.
“His holy name is worthy of worship,”
            The heavens and sky above declare.
“By his power we all were created,
            His majestic power beyond compare.”
The Lord of Hosts is His great name,
            Commander of Heaven’s legions,
Sovereign God above all creation,
            The divine source of all true religion.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob met Him,
            And worshiped at his feet,
And now I tell you about this God,
            To stir in you worship sweet.

On Mount Sinai to Moses did God first speak
            His glorious, ineffable name,
And in his heart was an obsession born
            To live life for His fame.
“Allow me to see Your face,” begged Moses,
            “So that your fullness I may admire.”
“Nay,” said God, “but my afterglow you will see,
            Lest you be overcome and expire.”
Separate, other, sacred, apart,
            Is this God he their met.
Supreme in excellence, in a crushing flood
            God’s majesty on Moses beset.
On his face shone bright God’s glory,
            But he safe from behind God’s hand,
And afterward reflecting with unveiled face
            The splendor of YHVH, I AM THAT I AM.

It is this name which we revere,
            And not name only but the One who by it is called.
Holy tongues scarcely utter their syllables,
            Most will only cry out, “Lord God!”
On earth His name is profaned once and again,
            Poisoned by asps venom on their lips.
Bitter water only comes forth, no fresh.
            God’s name? Fruit infested by thrips.
Those who belong to Adam’s line
            Can offer to God nothing but
The vile contents of their stony heart,
            And all that is in them shut.
But in heaven the name of God is holy,
            Breathed by angels in sacred hush.
The fruit of righteous lips, reverent worship;
            With death their holy mouths have not brushed.

In the year that King Uzziah died,
            I entered the temple to solemnly grieve
A man of God who, for two and fifty years,
            From the throne did justice heave.
“From whom will righteousness now come,
            Who will lead God’s people in God’s ways?”
This haunting question plagued my mind
            And sunk me into anxiety’s bilious haze.
Upon entry onto that hallowed ground
            I was visited by His whelming presence.
The very form and beauty of God;
            I was exposed to his uncovered essence.
His throne was high, his robe was long,
            It filled the house to its doors.
The foundation quaked with pious awe.
            I fell and became one with the floor.       

Before the throne flew six-winged creatures,
            With two they covered face and with two, toes.
In the uncovered presence of pure holiness,
            They cried weals, but I woes.
I have no wings to cover myself,
            Like a creature of night exposed to sun.
With the sentence of death ("Woe!") upon my head,
            I felt and proclaimed, “I am undone!
“My lips are of those who roam the earth,
            Which pour forth death and rotted bones.
My throat: an open grave, home to corpse' gore,
            Unworthy to proclaim righteous tones.
These unholy eyes have lain upon the Lord,
            I must now surely die.
His beauty casts light upon my utter darkness.
            I am undone!” I cried.

From the ground I heard the seraphim call out
            In infinite, joyous refrain,
Suddenly, one seraph humbly approached the throne,
            With tongs grabbed coal from the burning altar.
All the while still singing God’s praise,
            His voice did not fail or falter.
He flew straight to me, placed the coal on my mouth,
            I heard my flesh crackle as a pyre.
“Behold, this coal has touched your lips,
            You’ve been purified by holy fire.”
My eyes opened wide, relief etched into my face,
            I could hardly believe what I saw:
I was not dead! My sin had been atoned for!
            I worshipped the Lord in awe.

From that encounter I walked away,
            On my soul indelibly marked
A zeal for the Lord’s holy name,
            A divine passion in my very core sparked.
His holiness shines brighter than ten thousand days,
            And shows my sin: darker than ten thousand nights,
And because of that sin I ought to have died when I saw him,
            Deserving of his righteous spite.
But God’s excellent grace said to me,
            And likewise says to you,
“Come now, O man, let us reason together,
            What I say to you next is true.
Although you are soiled with evil and grime,
            Permanently stained red,
I will wash you white as the whitest wool,
            And raise you to life from the dead.”

The holiness of God that obliterates all
            That departs from his divine will,
Is the same holiness that descended in human frame,
            To establish rule on His holy hill.
He took the name of Immanuel,
            “God with us” here on this earth,
In order that we may not roam as lost sheep,
            Condemned, by God’s wrath, to be burnt.
He made us to know him and with him to dwell,
            In his likeness, the Imago Dei,
And if you repent of your sin and ill-will
            He will remove from you your sin this day.
His King, Immanuel, whom He will establish in Zion,
            Died the death you and I did earn;
His holiness - in wrath and in love - thus upheld,
            Enables you towards him to now turn.

“Be thou holy as I am holy,”
            Is the Lord’s righteous decree.
So then, now, go! And sin no more!
            From youthful lusts now flee!
In the Messiah we are now made new,
            Restored so that we now may say,
            THRICE HOLY IS HIS NAME!!!!
            THRICE HOLY IS HIS NAME!!!!
            THRICE HOLY IS HIS NAME!!!!
With joy unspeakable together with the angels,
            We repeat in unending refrain,