For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place…
I dwell... also in him that is contrite, and of a lowly spirit. The earlier test of religion had been formal, and precise obedience to all the claims and conditions of the Jehovah-covenant; the exact keeping of every ritual, social, and national requirement. St. Paul states the old test thus: "The man that doeth them shall live in them." It was the work of the prophets to introduce the new moral test, and prepare the way for the higher spiritual test of Christianity. The later prophets even venture to be severe on mere ritual obedience, as if, in the sight of God, it had become quite worthless. They intimate that God searches hearts, looks for right motives, asks not for what a man has, save as the man can, through his gifts, give himself to God. The "broken and contrite heart" are especially presented because this stands in most severe contrast with the self-satisfaction and self-will of unregenerate man. If a man is humble, sensible of sin and sorrow for sin, God knows he is such a man as can be made a monument of Divine grace. (Another treatment of this theme will be found under Isaiah 66:2.) It has been said, "God has three sorts of dwellings: first, in the highest; second, in the sanctuary; third, in humble hearts. The first dwelling is the universalis praesentia, the universal presence, by which he fills all (Ver. 23:24); but there he is too high and incomprehensible for us. The second is gratiosa, the gracious presence, by which he lets himself be found in the Word and sacraments, and also comes finally to us, and makes his dwelling in our hearts." And the test is whether our hearts are such as he can make his dwelling in. The three tests are -
I. DOES A MAN STRICTLY OBEY AND KEEP ALL RITUAL AND SOCIAL INJUNCTIONS? That test may suffice for children, and child-ages of the world; for we must begin moral education by requiring obedience to formal commands.
II. IS A MAN IN A RIGHT STATE OF MIND AND HEART? Such a state must include reverence before a God so great; thankfulness to a God so kind; humbleness through a sense of shortcoming before a God who makes such claims; and penitence through conviction of sin against a God so holy.
III. DOES A MAN ACCEPT GOD'S GIFT OF PARDON AND LIFE IN HIS SON CHRIST JESUS? "He that believeth on the Son hath life: he that believeth not on the Son of God hath not life." We cannot be tested only by the two first tests; the third searches, and perhaps condemns us. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.