The lyrics and melody to what would become a remarkable song were composed by a procrastinating 19-year-old seeking God’s belated inspiration. He sat alone, lights dimmed, after midnight seeking direction at a new grand piano. Only a few hours remained before this song was promised, to his Pastor and Father, for performance at the new church auditorium dedication.
Seeking direction, he hummed a tune and softly lipped some lyrics that came into his mind. He wrote the lines that flowed rapidly and finished the song in 15 minutes. Then he went home to bed. In a few hours, he awoke to engage his younger brother and sister in rehearsing his new song.
The youthful trio performed in the church sanctuary soon thereafter. Mom cried because her kids had never sounded better, and the congregation responded with unbelievable affirmation!
Later; when a recording executive purchased the tune, he predicted, “This song will live beyond you. It will be bigger than you can imagine.”
Geron Davis penned that song “Holy Ground,” and it has since been performed at countless churches, weddings, funerals and times of joy, reflection or heartache. It’s attracted recording artists as diverse as gospel legends The Gaither Trio and Broadway star Barbara Streisand.
“Holy Ground” is truly a song that resonates the amazing presence of God.
Where do you go to stand on Holy Ground? Where do you go to seek the Lord Almighty’s presence?
The Gaither’s recording begins …
When I walk through the doors, I sensed His presence
And I knew this was a place where love abounds
For this is a temple the God we love abides here
Oh we are standing in His presence on holy ground
For much of my life, the H.E. Butt Foundation Camps on the headwaters of the Frio River have been my favorite place to go enjoy God’s presence and stand on Holy Ground. Entering the camp entrance, guests descend a steep majestic road to the sign, “Yes, You Drive in the River!” and encounter the always-flowing Frio River. This experience of descending into the Frio River has captured my heart on every visit since first encountering this sacred place as a seventh grade camper.
At this awe-inspiring Hill Country retreat, I have experienced the love of Jesus abounding like nowhere else. God’s presence flows through every step as you walk within the crystal clear river.
God’s creation echoes through the impressive limestone canyon walls and your visual senses are passionately awakened by bountiful examples of His creation within the camps’ one-of-a-kind special places like Blue Hole. In every visit over seven decades, I have experienced the faith-filled confidence that I was standing in God’s presence on Holy Ground.
Perhaps we each need special places, like HEB Foundation Camps, to best comprehend what it means to Stand on Holy Ground. Yet, the biblical truth is that Holy Ground exists wherever a Believer in Christ stands and encounters God’s presence.
The word “Holy” and its derivatives like hallowed, holiest, holiness appear more than 500 times in the Bible. God is holy! He is exalted and worthy of our complete devotion as One perfect in goodness and righteousness. He gives us His Holy Spirit to sanctify us (make us holy), and we are called to share in his holiness. The word “saints” means “holy ones.” In the New Testament, it is applied to all Believers.
The phrase “holy ground,” on the other hand, is rare; it appears only twice in the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, when Moses saw the burning bush and God Himself told him to take off his sandals, because he was standing on “holy ground.” The New Testament clarifies that the ground on which Moses stood was holy because the presence of our Holy God made it holy.
In the New Testament, “Holy Ground” is not a place, rather it becomes the Person of Christ living in and through us, and Jesus’ presence changes everything.
God said, “Light up the darkness,” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.
(The Message - 2 Corinthians 4:6)
The face Moses could not see was now revealed, with all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge, now found in Christ. When we lock eyes with Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith, it changes us and we find ourselves standing in His presence on “Holy Ground” every time we sense God’s presence.
In His presence I know there is joy beyond all measure
And at His feet sweet peace of mind can still be found
For when we have a need He is still the answer
Reach out and claim it for we are standing on holy ground
Prayer: God thank You that You have made known to us who You are in Christ, who is the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his being.” Thank You that “holy ground” is not a place but a person — being found in You, Jesus, and You in me through the Holy Spirit. Let my heart be one in awe of You, burning for You and changed by You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Jeff Anderson is Servant Pastor of SERV Kerrville, a nonprofit collaborating with community partners to empower lifelong learning. He welcomes your comments at jeff@LeadershipInc.us. You are encouraged to visit www.hebfdn.org for information about The HE Butt Foundation Camp guest opportunities.