Friday, July 17, 2009

High and Holy, Near the Lowly - Isaiah 57 Part 5

"For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
'I dwell on a high and holy place,
and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
in order to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.'"
(vs 15)

Just one simple verse this day - but Oh, what a verse! Here is a picture of the transcendent and imminent God. Here is the portrait of the afflicted child and the presence of the compassionate and fixing Father.

Notice what this one verse tells us about our God.

He is "the high and exalted One." There is none so great and mighty, nor so high and lifted up as God. There is no one like Him. He alone is God - above and beyond all things.

He "lives forever". He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the eternal past, present and future. He is the immutable God who does not grow old and wear out like a garment. He is the great I AM, the Ancient of Days, the One who was and is and is to come.

His "name is Holy." Not only are ways holy, but even His name. Holiness is so inextricably united to His being that it is the title by which He is known. He is a God without sin. Righteous in all of His thoughts and actions. This very prophet grabbed a glimpse of this holiness in Isaiah 6:

In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory." And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.

Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the LORD of hosts."

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, with a burning coal in his hand which he had taken from the altar with tongs. And he touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is forgiven."

His name is holy and we are undone apart from a touch of His holy grace.

This high and exalted, eternal and holy God "dwells on a high and holy place." He is transcendent. He is far above us, beyond our abilty to reach, and separate from us. Yet, He is "also with the contrite and lowly of spirit." He is imminent. He is close to the brokenhearted and will bind up their wounds. What a glorious God. "He that dwells in the highest heavens dwells in the lowest hearts and inhabits sincerity as surely as He inhabits eternity!" (Matthew Henry)

The thought of these things blows my mind!! Here is the practical application of another of God's names: Immanuel, God with us! Christian, do you realize the privilege that is yours? Other parts of chapter 57 have contained honest language for the scoffer and the idolator. They have spoken plainly to the one who would trust in himself and in his own formed and fashioned gods. They have declared the ultimate outcome of hard-heartedness. Oh, but here we see good news - here is the result of broken-heartedness and is it not beyond our wildest imaginings?!

"I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit. In order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." As is so often the case, I turn to Mr. Henry's comments.

"In His grace and mercy, He has a tender pity for the humble and contrite. If they be His people, He will not overlook them though they are poor and despised and trampled upon by men. He will have tender regard to those, who being in affliction, accommodate themselves to their affliction. With these God will dwell. He will visit them graciously and will converse with them by His Word and Spirit, as a man does with his own family."

Beloved, see the God who is in the furnace of affliction with you, He who is high and exalted, He who is eternal and holy. Oh, contrite one, He who is power beyond measure and wisdom beyond description is He who is with you. Fall upon His breast. Lean upon His everlasting arms. He is with you "in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."

Do not despise the Lord's chastening. In His rod is relief. "Blessed is the man whom Thou dost chasten, O LORD, and dost teach out of Thy law; that Thou mayest grant him relief from the days of adversity. For the LORD will not abandon His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance." (Psalm 94:12-14).

This great God is your Father - flee to Him with a humble heart and find rest for your weary souls.

In His glorious grace,

No comments:

Post a Comment