"How precious are Your thoughts unto me, O God!"
"For this is what the high and lofty One says — He who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place — but also with him who is contrite and humble in spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite." — Isaiah 57:15
This verse may with reverence be termed, God's own description of His two dwelling-places. How amazing the contrast and disparity; inhabiting eternity, AND — the human bosom! The great of the earth associate with the great — kings have their abodes in palaces. One of God's palaces — is the lowly heart. Inconceivable is the distance of those stars whose light takes millions of years in traveling to our earth; and yet what is this? A mere span, compared to the distance which separates the creature from the Creator. We are "but of yesterday." Our days are as an handbreadth, "as a dream when one awakens!"
Eternity is the lifetime — the biography of the Almighty — ages and eras are the pages of the vast volume! If our distance from Him be great as creatures — it is greater still as sinners! Yet this high and lofty One, dwelling in the high and holy place, and whose name is Holy, condescends to be the inmate of the humble, contrite spirit, and to listen to its penitent sighs. Oh, unutterable, unimaginable stoop! The sovereign earthly king visiting the abode of poverty — is earth's illustrative picture and symbol of condescension. Yet what, after all, is this — but one perishable mortal, visiting another perishable mortal.
But here is Omnipotence — dwelling with weakness;
Majesty — dwelling with nothingness;
the Infinite — dwelling with the finite;
Deity — dwelling with dust!
How this "precious thought" ennobles, elevates, consecrates the human soul. That home of earth is ever afterwards rendered illustrious, where royalty has sojourned. "If any man loves Me," says Jesus, "he will keep My words, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him."
What, O Lord, is man, that You are thus mindful of him — that You visit him? Prepare my heart for Your reception. Rend Your heavens and come down — fill its temple-courts with Your glory. May all its powers — sprinkled, like the sacred vessels of old, with the consecrating blood — be dedicated to Your service. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit — a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." Destroy every pedestal of pride. Make me humble — keep me humble. What have I to be proud of? Nothing. I am dependent continually on Your bounty. My existence — my health — my strength — my reason — are aloan from You the Great Proprietor, who can, in the twinkling of an eye, paralyze strength, dethrone reason, arrest the pulses of joyous life, and write upon all I have, "Ichabod, the glory has departed!"
Much more is this the case in spiritual things — I am a pensioner from hour to hour on redeeming grace and love! But for Jesus — I would be lost forever! It is lying low at the foot of His cross that I can learn how the Greatest of all Beings can be the most condescending of all. "I cease to wonder at anything," said a believer, "after the discovery of God's love to me in Christ!" "Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?"
John MacDuff (1818-1895)