“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:3
The six-winged creatures in Isaiah’s vision aren’t the cuddly angles that grace today’s greeting cards and posters. No, these that Isaiah sees are solid and huge, for when they speak the walls and foundations reverberate and the temple fills with smoke. They cry out, “Holy, holy, holy!” Why three times? Because Hebrew, the original language, has no superlative such as we have in English: “holy,” “holier” and “holiest.” And although a double emphasis is sometimes employed in Hebrew, a triple repetition is more rare. God deserves the top praise.
The vision that Isaiah sees is similar to that glimpsed by Jesus’ disciple John on the island of Patmos. There the six-winged creature had “eyes all around, even under its wings” and never ceased to say, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).
These creatures have a rightful fear of the Lord, which is a concept that has fallen out of favor today. But a healthy fear implies awe, reverence, a hatred of evil and a desire for holiness and purity to reign. It doesn’t preclude intimacy with God. Rather, we can develop a deeper relationship with him when we love what he loves and weep with him over the sin in this world – and in our hearts.
May we continue to grow in a rightful fear and deep praise for our superlative God.
Prayer: Lord, you are holy, holy, holy! May our praises echo those of the six-winged creatures forever crying, holy.