“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.”
In Hebrew the reference is to giving thanks and worshipping God because of His holiness. Have you ever thought about why we should give thanks that God is holy? Holy means pure, blameless, set apart. Only God is without sin and perfect. I like the definition given in my Bible Study Fellowship manual for explaining God’s attribute of holiness to the children; “God is high and lifted up. He is set apart from His creation. Our English word “holy” is from the same root word as “whole.” God is whole – perfect in goodness and righteousness. No one is like God. Even God’s holy angels tremble in reverent worship before Him. God sets apart His children for Himself and commands us to be holy as He is holy. Being holy makes you whole– what God intended you to be.”
Thinking about Holy God creates in me a sense of humility and unworthiness followed by extreme thankfulness. How is it that Holy God cares for me? Repeatedly in scripture we are assured of God’s love and care. Nahum 1:7 is one of my favorite verses “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” God has compassion upon me and seeks to draw me unto Himself. God loves me so much that He sent Jesus to die for my sins so that I can be brought into a relationship with Him. My faith in Jesus restores me and covers me in His righteousness. What a marvelous gift from our Holy God! Because of God’s love and Jesus imputing his righteousness to me, I can seek to live rightly before Him and honor Him in all I say and do. We can be ‘whole’ before Him and that is something to praise, sing and honor God for! Thank you Jesus for giving me a way to be right with God through faith in you.
As you read today’s scripture taken from Luke 1:68-75 showing Zachariah’s praise song to God, be mindful of God’s Righteous character. Here is the definition of God’s righteousness-see how it fits with all God did and will do. Righteous God: God is right in all He does. He has always been right and always will be right. All of His words and actions are right. All of His plans are right. God has no sin and is positively perfect. God never lies. He is fair, just and faithful in all he does. We never need wonder if God is right, so we can trust God when we do not understand.
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. 69 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, 70 just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. 71 Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. 72 He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— 73 the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. 74 We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.
The people of Israel could count upon God to keep His promises, treat them with mercy, never leave or forsake them to their enemies and guide them in a walk that is good all the days of their lives. They knew their God was righteous in all ways.
Do you know Zachariah’s Righteous God? Through Jesus we can know God more fully and see His Holy Spirit working within us. Romans 3:10 says, ““None is righteous, no, not one;” Without Jesus we are lost and doomed to death because of our sinful nature. We cannot get ourselves clean enough for Holy God. Paul explains the solution to this dilemma in Philippians 3:8-9 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”
Give thanks today for our Righteous God who loves and desires the best for us. He desires we seek Him and walk each day in His ways. He desires that we grow in righteousness through faith in Jesus. Blessings as you meditate on the Righteousness of God and your own ‘rightness’ with God through your faith in Christ Jesus.
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. from now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me– Holy is his name.” Luke 1:46-49
This song of Mary’s is known as the Magnificat in Latin as the first word spoken is the word magnificat meaning glorifies. Mary is praising God for being chosen to be the mother of the coming Savior and all the future honor that will bring. She says her soul is rejoicing in being able to serve her God and bring glory to His name. She is reveling in His mercy and grace and calls Him Holy. Why would Mary choose the word Holy to describe God? By worldly standards, Mary is in a precarious position. She is an unwed mother to be in a time when that condition would bring shame upon herself and her family. Yet, she praises God and extols His holiness.
What do Mary’s praises tell us about who she thinks God is? Mary calls God HOLY. God is high and lifted up. He is set apart from His creation. No one is like God. God sets apart His children for Himself and commands us to be holy as He is holy. Being holy makes you whole, what God intended you to be. Mary knew she had been set apart by God for His work. She considers herself whole, complete and is thankful and filled with joy that she can be used by God.
Do you feel whole and complete when you are serving God? Does your service bring honor and glory to God’s Holy name? Do you rejoice in serving God? Paul wrote to Timothy is 1 Timothy 3:13 “Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:10-11 “Each one should use what ever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. I anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” Paul, Peter and Mary recognized that our service can and does bring honor and glory to God when done in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our service also brings joy to our hearts and gives greater assurance in our faith. God is Holy and desires us to be holy and honor Him in all we say and do.
As we enter the month of November that has our National Day of Thanksgiving, let us give thanks this whole month long for the things, people, places, hopes and dreams we have within our lives. God is good and worthy of all our praises! Isaiah gives us a song of praise in Isaiah chapter 12. As I look at various verses of thanksgiving this month, this chapter is the key of what our hearts’ attitude must be before Almighty God.
The Lord Is My Strength and My Song
12 You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.
2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LordGod is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
I am a sinner and did not deserve God’s mercy but Romans 5:8 reminds us of God’s love “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” With joy in my heart, I can draw on His mercies from the ‘well of salvation’ and know His forgiveness. Because of faith in Christ and His death and resurrection, I can know the salvation of the Lord and praise His great name. Isaiah explains when you know the ‘well of salvation’ you can:4 And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. 6 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Are you ready to give thanks, to shout and proclaim His wondrous deeds? Do you want to let all the world know He is holy God, the only true God? All our joy and thanksgiving comes from God because of what He has done for us. Let us give thanks and let us utter songs of joy and praise to Him all month long. Let the spirit of thanksgiving towards God permeate your very being, dip into that well of salvation, and live out praise and thanksgiving towards God and all the people you meet.
I am looking forward to blogging each day this month with an eye and heart towards thanksgiving.