July 17, 2022 Pastor Steve Behlke

The Beauty of God's Holiness

The Beauty of God's Holiness

As we conclude our time in Hosea, God said He was “the Holy One in your midst.” Our Lord is not only holy, He is "The Holy One" who warrants everyone’s, from men to angel's worship, awe, and devotion.

Holy means completely set apart, distinct from all others. Sacred. Awesome. 

The antonym or the opposite of holy? It is not sinful but common. 

The LORD your God is not common. He is top shelf. Set above. Holy. Holy. Holy. He’s different from us. Unlike any other. And not like other gods.  

Jeremiah 10:6 There is none like You, O LORD; You are great, and great is Your name in might. 7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Your due! For among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You. 

Unlike the world’s gods and idols, He’s not made up.  

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation. 

When God compares Himself to false gods and idols, He points out He is the true God, the living God. So He can love. He can save. He can be known and trusted. Prayed to. Sang to. Loved and obeyed. And nothing can endure His judgment…

Jeremiah 10:11 Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”

Bottom line and what He tells His people then and now over and over is…

Deuteronomy 11:16 Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.

Beware, don't let your hearts be deceived by the gods that America trusts and worships and devotes their lives to attain and serve. The things they hope will give them worth, prestige, happiness, and approval. Things that cannot save.

YHWH is the true God. Declaring things before they take place. Having spoken through creation, angels, prophets. And in these last days through Jesus Christ,

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Jesus came to give us understanding of the True God in His love, His forgiveness, His wisdom and grace.

Jesus shows the beauty of God’s holiness in how different God is from us, and from the counterfeit gods and idols, ideologies, technologies that everyone else worships.  

When Christ suffered and died on the cross, He lived out Hosea’s prophecy. Violated by His own people. His love scorned. Those whom He loves and commits to constantly diddle around with false gods, idols and all.  

Yet in the midst of our great sin, we read God’s great confession,

Hosea 11:8 How can I give you up? How can I surrender you, O Israel? … My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.

And all of this is meant to bring us home to the Father’s heart.  

When we first turned to Jesus and trusted in Him, we turned from our idols to the true God. We found eternal life in the God who loves us and sent His Son to die for us. That’s what one church reported to Paul about another church,  

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves [reported to us] what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God…

So again, beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. And if you do, repent. Return.

No, God won’t destroy us. But He may discipline us. He may let sin devastate us. But even then, especially then, it is vital to trust God’s greater purpose.

Throughout Hosea, God’s purpose is to have for Himself an awestruck people who genuinely know Him and love Him today. He wants us to find our worth in Him. Our significance and security and destiny with Him. We too easily look elsewhere for these.

Hosea is similar to the story of the prodigal son only richer. The son took his father’s dough and spent it on women and wild—wasteful living. Then, having run out of money, he returns home intent to work as a slave to his father.

Hosea’s wife is worse. Her trust in his love is so weak, she makes no attempt to return home. She sold herself to another man. Hosea has to go find her, and then buy her back.  

John 1:29 Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

Here too we see the beauty of God’s holiness.

The plain truth is He is quick to forgive, and we are always in need of forgiveness, mercy, and grace. 

We’re the unfaithful wife in the story. The prodigal son. We seem to pursue love and belonging and adventure all apart from God.

We live it seems as if we are not loved or do not belong or have worth.

We forget if we are to feel loved enough, righteous enough, good enough, worth enough—these aren’t discovered apart from God… 

But the world sells this lie and we buy it. And the longer we go, the deeper we get buried, and hurt and lost. And the crazier in our thinking. Good becomes evil. Abuse becomes good. And we view those who love us and speak to us as those who hate us. Just as with Gomer and Hosea, if our relationship with God is going to last forever, it absolutely has to be on Him. Good news, it is! 

But that requires taking our thoughts captive to Christ. Counting the cost.

When God lets you leave Him to seek your happiness in forbidden loves, harmful substances, idols, addictions, going against God’s word, God’s will. These cannot save. These will spiral you down. But you trust these and won’t repent. He may say, “Have at it.” He may give you over to your lusts.

It feels like discipline, maybe even punishment. But this is keeping with God’s goal for you to know Him and love Him, to have a better-than-ever relationship with you.

Hosea 2:7 Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now!’ 

See God’s love for you. Even His discipline is intended to bring you back. 

Hosea 5:15 … In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.

And let me underscore that it is not our sin that brings God’s discipline. It is your refusal to repent. Rejecting His invitation. His love. Refusing to return.

When He allows you to ignore Him and go your way without God. And later when your choice backfires and brings severe pain—maybe not immediately but it shall. Return. Repent. The arrogant cannot accept anything except for what they demand. But the humble see God’s lovingkindness and run to Him.  

Hosea 6:1 Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. ||||| 2 He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day [our Lord will give us resurrection life], that we may live before Him. 3 So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. 

God’s love will risk angering or upsetting you. He is unafraid to discipline you. It hurts for a bit, but you will never find true fulfillment outside of His love. 

So forsake trusting your idols and return to the Holy One who is in your midst. 

What is an idol? You ask. An idol is anything that’s more important to you than God. It is anything that you trust or love more than God in the moment. So anything can be an idol, and pretty much everything has been an idol.

You might argue, “I don’t have any idols.”

But Ezekiel says men set up idols in our hearts. Meaning, we can take anything from an iPhone to Trader Joe’s, to money, fame, success, food, a woman’s body, our own body, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a preferred identity, an education, a successful career, our vacation, the ideal lover, the ideal spouse, the ideal marriage, the ideal home, our children, our grandchildren, our country, our political party, or a utopian view of the future, or of how the world ought to be and in our heart we can make these ultimate things. Idols.  

Idolatry is so natural to us that the first two of the Ten Commandments are given to protect us from this. Here’s the first commandment,

Exodus 20:2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me.

And even before you can ask, “What do you mean by other gods?” the Lord tells us in the very second commandment,

Exodus 20:4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth [That’s everything]. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God. 

But do you know what He’s saying here?

First, He says HE is the Holy One, and that He wants to be holy to you. But second, He says YOU are holy to God! 

Again, the opposite of holy is common. We are not common. Not like everyone else. For we are the bride of Christ. The church of Christ. Chosen by God. Loved by God. Servants of the living God. Born again children of God. 

So take this to heart. You are holy to Him. Top shelf to God.

You are in a meaningfully unique relationship that sets you apart to God and He to you. Forever. In Christ. Forever. Standing with Him in God’s grace and seated with Him in the heavenly places.

Don't try to make yourself holy, we don’t make ourselves holy. God makes us holy. You are known to God and loved in a way that makes you holy. 

This was the message of Hosea. If you've forgotten this. If you need to hear it from Him. Return to the Lord. See the beauty of His holiness—in Him and in you—and devote yourself to the Lord. Not as a religious duty but as God’s chosen and loved bride or son, eternally blessed beyond description.