Monday, 10 May 2021
God's holiness and His call
The children of Israel experienced deliverance by the hand of God from Pharaoh and his army. When they arrived on the far side of the Red Sea and watched Pharaoh’s destruction, they sang a song to God. There are 2 Hebrew words in the middle of song in Exodus 15:11, Nedar BaKodesh. Kodesh is “holiness,” and God’s attribute of holiness is my subject today.
But what is Nedar? The root is actually Aleph-Dalet-Resh, meaning “great and glorious.”
Rabbi Trail: If you are asked in Hebrew, “Ma Sh’lom’cha?” (Or “Ma Sh’lom’ech” if you are feminine), meaning, “How is your shalom?” It is idiomatic for “How are you?” You can answer (same for both masculine or feminine), “Nedar.” While meaning “glorious,” it connotes the highest possible or most excellent. End RT.
In Exodus 15, the children of Israel were extolling God’s holiness to say that His holiness is most excellent and as high as possible. They sang about God’s holiness, but there are no words to adequately express it, so for me to write about God’s holiness is also an exercise in futility.
God’s holiness is only experienced in His bosom. Every thing and every place else is on the other side of a chasm that cannot be breached. It is described in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Father Abraham calls out to the rich man, who is in hell ... Luke 16:26 "Besides all this, between us and you a great chasm is firmly set, so that those who want to cross over to you cannot, nor can those from there cross over to us."
In Hebrew, Kadosh connotes “sanctification” or being set apart. God’s holiness is His “set apart-ness.” The only way to be with Him is to be like Him. While the question is asked in Exodus 15:11a “Who is like You?” The question is answered in Psalm 86:8a “There is none like You.”
God is untainted by the world, and His call on our lives is to follow Him in this. Jacob 1:27 "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." Or better yet, I like this to prove my point ... Ephesians 5:11a,15 "Take no part in the fruitless deeds of darkness ... So pay close attention to how you walk - not as unwise people but as wise.
God is holy, and He will not be mocked. 1 Peter 1:16 "For it is written, Kedoshim you shall be, for I am kadosh.” This is a quote from Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; and 20:7. Yeshua said it all when He told Peter and Andrew, “Follow Me.” And He’s still telling us today, “Follow Me and be holy as I am holy.”
Rabbi Michael Weiner,