The Character of Jehovah
Isaiah 57:15-21
For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place…

I. HIS EXALTATION. "High and holy:" high because holy, exalted far above the meanness of human thoughts and the impurity of human ways. Far above creatures of all species and all ranks, it is needless further to designate him. He is the Incomparable One. He dwells in eternity (cf. Isaiah 9:6). His Name is "the Holy One" (Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 30:11; Isaiah 40:25; Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 43:3, 8; Isaiah 47:4); his place the high and holy place, or temple (Isaiah 6:1).

II. HIS CONDESCENSION "Wherever the Scripture bears witness to the Divine mightiness, it brings out side by side with it the Divine humbleness (Deuteronomy 10:17, 18; Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 68:4, 5). It is not an Epicurean view of God (Acts 17:18), nor the Gnostic view that God had left the world to the management of inferior beings, by himself created. Though illimitable and unapproachable, he delights to make his abode with men. "He cannot direct the affairs of his people from without. He desires to be enthroned in their hearts." He is with them that are of a contrite, or crushed, spirit - souls bowed down with a sense of sin and unworthiness (Psalm 34:18; Psalm 138:6), to make alive their spirit, to impart strength and comfort, even as genial rains and dews fall upon the drooping plant. Such a lowly state of mind can only have been produced by affliction (Isaiah 61:1; Isaiah 65:14; 66:2; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 147:2, 3).

III. HIS FAITHFULNESS AND LOVE. He will not be angry with his people for ever (Psalm 103:9). The soul could not hold out in a prolonged contention with its Maker. Its power must fail; it must sink into destruction. "If we are God's children, we are safe. We may suffer much and long. We may suffer so much, it may seem scarce possible we should endure more. But he knows how much we can bear, and will lighten the burden and remove the load" (Psalm 128:38, 39). Why has he smitten them at all? It is because of their sin. Unjust gain is put for sin in general (cf. Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 5:1; Ezekiel 33:31; Psalm 119:36), even, as in other places, the shedding of blood, He has seen their ways, both of sin and aberration, of suffering and amendment. Having hidden himself, he will now interpose to heal their wounds, and to guide them by a clearer path (Isaiah 58:11). (For sin as disease, and pardon as healing, cf. Jeremiah 33:6; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 41:4; Jeremiah 3:22; Jeremiah 17:4; 53:14:4.) And as the result of all this, he creates the "fruit of the lips" (cf. Hosea 14:2), i.e. praise and thanksgiving; of which the subject would be peace (cf. Ephesians 2:14-17) to the near and remote, Jew and Gentile, or with reference to the holy city; no degree of remoteness was to disqualify true Israelites from the enjoyment of the promise.

IV. THE CONTRAST. The impure and the unpardoned alone shall know no peace. Those who are in a state of alienation from Jehovah shall be, on the contrary, like the restless, ever-shifting sea (Jude 1:13; cf. Ovid, 'Tristia,' 1:10. 33). They have no fixed happiness, no substantial peace; a rage of passion ever ferments within them; past guilt casts up its mire in memory; feat's of the future torment. How different from the scene where "the good man meets his fate, quite in the verge of heaven"!

So fades a summer cloud away;
So sinks the gale when storms are o'er;
So gently shuts the eye of day;
So dies a wave along the shore. ? J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For 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.

WEB: For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Man's Greatness and God's Greatness
Top of Page
Top of Page