God is Halal
“Your name is holy and worthy to be praised above all others.”
[Line 5 from “Morning Prayer”]
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
Old Testamant “holy” — קָדוֹשׂ (qādôš) — sacred, divine, separate
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
—1 Peter 1:13-22
New Testament “holy” — ἅγιος (hagios) — sacred, belonging to God
“Your name is holy” points us back to who God is—God is sacred, divine, and separate from everything else. The very word itself—holy—finds its meaning in God. That which is holy is that which is sacred and divine, like God. In the Old Testament, with its laws and emphasis on sacrifices and offerings, the emphasis of holiness leans heavily on separation, purification, and clearly outlining the difference between the secular and the sacred.
In the New Testament, the sacrificial system as it had been long practiced begins to fade. Holiness becomes more about the Church—the body of Christ in this world—becoming holy. Apparently, our name is also to be holy, too. No longer is holiness defined by specific times and places; rather, “holy” is determined by what we (the Church, these words were not written primarily for individuals) in the places where we exist and with the time that we are given.
In other words, the way we “live” (our words, actions, attitudes, etc) are not determined by the place where we stand (i.e. holy ground or sacred ground), but rather the holiness of the place where we stand is largely determined by the way in which we live as the body of Christ wherever we may be. The same goes for time—a particular time is not “holy” simply because it falls between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. in any given time zone on a day labeled as “Sunday” on the calendar.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies…
Old Testament “worthy” — הָלַל hâlal — Psalm 18:3 could more literally be translated “I call on Jehovah, who is halal. Most of us have at least heard the world halal in connection with Muslim eating habits. Halal food is food with is worthy, appropriate, or not forbidden to be eaten. Just as my Muslim friends are forbidden to eat non-halal food, so we ought not to praise any one any thing above the LORD, who is halal — most worthy, most appropriate, and in no circumstance is ever forbidden to be praised.
Because God is holy.
Because God is the Most High.
Because is, above all else, Love.