Today’s devotional: acknowledging the “otherness” of God

God is pretty familiar to us today. We hold casual conversations about Him; we attach his name to everything from toys to political movements; we write confident books and essays explaining His actions and His nature. Sometimes we even sprinkle our words with His name taken in vain.

The familiarity of God—His willingness to engage humanity personally, in words and terms we can understand—is one of the great distinguishing characteristics of Christianity. But we must be careful not to lose site of an important trait that sets God apart from us: His holiness. Lou Lotz writes at Words of Hope:

I remember reading somewhere that ancient Hebrew scribes were so awed by the holiness of Jehovah that they would wash their hands before they wrote his name on a scroll. Imagine that.

We’ve come a long way. Now we put God’s name on pencils, Frisbees, refrigerator
magnets. We write books and articles about God, explaining who he is and what he does. We have lost our appreciation for what theologians call the otherness of God. We are like the Pharisee in the parable, who is so taken with his own knowledge and piety that he forgets how holy God is. But the tax collector stands in the back of church, head bowed, beating his breast. He is unable even to lift up his eyes. He understands something of the otherness of God.

Read the full devotional at Words of Hope.

We know about—and are eternally grateful for—God’s love, grace, and mercy. But in addition to those traits, has the otherness of God ever been impressed upon you in the course of your Christian walk?

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