“In the High and Holy Place”

We worship God not only out of gratitude for his loving-kindness but also in recognition of His supremacy. He is our divine parent, and He has the ability and the desire help us improve, to make us more like Him.

Through the prophet Isaiah, God emphasized His own perfection and the perfection of the place where He lives:

Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isaiah 57:15

Twenty-five times, Isaiah refers to God as “the Holy One of Israel” and once as “the Holy One of Jacob.” In the Book of Mormon, Nephi, Jacob, and Amaleki all use these titles multiple times. Jacob, in particular, refers to God as “the Holy One of Israel” 14 times in just one chapter (2 Nephi 9).

At the end of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni emphasizes God’s ability and willingness to make us holy if we are willing to be changed:

If ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Moroni 10:33

Elder D. Todd Christofferson has taught, “Our Heavenly Father is a God of high expectations…. He proposes to make us holy so that we may ‘abide a celestial glory’ (D&C 88:22) and ‘dwell in his presence’ (Moses 6:57)” (“‘As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,'” General Conference, April 2011).

And after quoting Elder Christofferson, Sister Carol F. McConkie added, “Our Father in Heaven knows us. He loves us, and He has provided for us all that is required so that we can become holy as He is holy” (“The Beauty of Holiness,” General Conference, April 2017).

I don’t know if Eliza R. Snow had the Isaiah passage above in mind when she wrote the poem “My Father in Heaven” in 1845, but her affirmation that God dwells “in the high and glorious place” and that she once lived in His “holy habitation” certainly makes me think of that verse. In the poem, she shares the feeling that she is a stranger in this world, and she expresses the hope that she can one day return to live with God again.

Today, we know Eliza’s poem as the hymn “O My Father.” I hope you enjoy this arrangement of the hymn by Crawford Gates, performed by the Tabernacle Choir in the April 2009 General Conference:

Today, I will remember the holiness of God and His willingness to make me holy, if I am willing to humble myself and receive His grace.

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