There are some verses that, no matter how often you read them, just seem to lift you up. Portions of Scripture that kinda’ make you soar. They stretch your imagination . . . humble your spirit . . . comfort your heart . . . renew your strength. Came across one of those in my reading this morning.
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
(Isaiah 57:15 ESV)
It is a word from God. And oh, what a God!
He is the High and Lifted Up One. That isn’t just where He’s located, that’s His very nature and character. He is exalted in essence. He towers over the things of men because of who He is. The plain on which He operates is so up there–so way up there. In all respects, He is lifted up. His being, His thoughts, His courses of action–all lofty, all high and exalted.
You want to think of God? Then look up–look way, way up. What’s more, He inhabits eternity! That’s where He exists. That’s His atmosphere. In the forever and ever, in the everlasting. His is a continuous existence. Time does not constrain Him. That’s why Peter can write, “A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day” (2Peter 3:8 NLT).
So tell me, doesn’t that stretch the brain a bit?
But as I pause and chew on this, what also blows me away is how complacent I can become about our high and lifted up God. The God who has been in my life so long, that my response can so easily become, “Yeah, very nice thought. Whatever. Move on.”
But what if I just stop and think about it–even for just a minute? Wouldn’t I be falling on my face? If not falling on my face, at least a hush coming over my soul, an “awesome” coming out of my lips, and the praise of wonder seeping out of my heart?
And then, when I am in awe of who He is, get ready to think about where He lives.
First, He dwells in the high and holy place. Ok, makes sense. A High and Holy and Eternal God would have to live in a high and holy place. That He would be unapproachable would seem reasonable. That He would be out there somewhere seems logical. That He would be distant wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
But then Isaiah reveals His other address, His other place of residence. He also dwells with those of a contrite and lowly spirit. That our God reigns on high is very true. But that our God descends and draws near the lowly is also very true.
He takes up residence with those who are like dust . . . those who are humiliated . . . those who are poor in spirit . . . those who can’t look up, who can’t even look you in the eye. The beat up are His abode. No room for Him in “Pride Inn.” But show Him “Humble Hotel” and He’s ready to move in.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
For though the LORD is high, He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar.
(Psalm 34 18, Psalm 138:6 ESV)
So whaddya’ think about that? He keeps His distance from the proud and arrogant and those who boast of being on top of the world, but He’s all over those who are humbled in the valley.
And He doesn’t just descend and draw near to the dust-bitten in order to stay with us in the dust. No, He comes down so that He might lift us up. His desire is to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
I love that word “revive!” He desires to restore . . . revitalize . . . reignite. We fall down, He lifts us up. We humble ourselves, He exalts us. Our hearts are broken and downcast, He mends them and raises them up.
What a thought! That the high and lifted up God who inhabits eternity would also dwell with the downcast and broken-hearted. That He who is above all, would descend and commune with those who are the least-of-all.
What an amazing God!
What amazing grace!
To Him be glory forever!