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Devotional Names of God

Qadosh Yisrael – The Holy One of Israel

Christopher D. Hudson

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One of the great titles of God is “the Holy One of Israel.” It’s a name that tells us a lot about our Maker, and a name worth exploring.

“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’”
Isaiah 48:17

One of the great titles of God is “the Holy One of Israel.” It’s a name that tells us a lot about our Maker, and a name worth exploring.

The word holy is found 625 times in the New International Version of the Bible. It means literally “to cut” or “to separate.” The idea, then, is that holy things are separated from all unclean, impure, sinful things. To be holy is to be set apart. It means to be distinct.

In calling Himself “the Holy One,” God is letting us know He isn’t like other so-called gods; He’s in a class by Himself. Furthermore, the kingdom He is building requires subjects who are set apart and who operate according to standards that are dissimilar from the common standards all around them.

We see God’s expectations in verses like these:
• “You are to be my holy people.” (Exodus 22:31)
• “Be holy, because I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16)
• “Make every effort . . . to be holy.” (Hebrews 12:14)

So how can unholy people like us live up to such commands? The only answer: “And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood” (Hebrews 13:12).

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In short, we can only be holy through the death of Christ. We can only be holy if Jesus first makes us holy—by His grace and through our faith.

Holiness was God’s goal for Israel, and it’s also God’s goal for us. By living in pure, God-honoring ways, we distinguish ourselves. We live differently than our neighbors.

We aren’t trying to act “better than anyone,” because holiness isn’t a competitive thing. We are trying to be like Jesus, because true holiness is an attractive thing. Remember how the least holy people were drawn to Jesus?

Are you letting “the Holy One of Israel” make you holy?
In what ways do you struggle to see yourself as holy and to live a holy life?

Prayer:
Holy God, thank You for Jesus, who makes me holy. Help me reflect Your holiness to those around me without coming across as “holier-than-thou.” Amen.

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