The Most High and The Most Nigh

Carlo Mendoza 

"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

TIME Magazine recently conducted some research about how Americans perceive God. From this poll, they were able to construct four categories:

1. 31% of Americans believe in an Authoritarian God who is deeply involved in daily life and world events. God is also angry and can punish the unfaithful or ungodly.

2. 23% of Americans believe in a Benevolent God who is deeply involved in daily life and world events, but is mainly a positive force that is unwilling to punish.

3. 16% of Americans believe in a Critical God who does not really interact with the world, but is unhappy with the current state of the world and will exact divine judgement.

4. 24% of Americans believe in a Distant God who does not really interact with the world and is not angry. God is more of a cosmic force that sets the laws of nature in motion.

Have you ever given much thought about how high God really is? The fact is the entire universe cannot contain Him and that He lives outside of the continuum of time and space altogether.

Have you ever given much thought about how near God really is? He desires to be near to us, and not just near, but so close that He actually wants to live with us, in us, and through us!

In the verse above, the prophet Isaiah gives us a picture of God’s transcendence, but at the same time reveals the imminence of God. If we fail to recognize both of these truths about God, like so many, we will have an erroneous view of Him, which will lead to either a lack of reverence, or an outlook of abandonment.

Many people are ecstatic about a God who would love them so dearly that He would reside within the very hearts of His people. The thought of such a God who would dwell “with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit”, speaks of such a tender acceptance. This beautiful truth reminds me of the same words Jesus spoke to His disciples.

John 15:15 – "No longer do I call you servants,for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you."

However, this is just one side of the same coin. To only look at the nearness and dearness of God alone, would result in mentally bringing Him down to a place or irreverence, which would be a discourtesy to God to say the least. So, even though Jesus can be the closest Person to us, we should not let that intimacy and proximity cause us to forget the authority and superiority of the Godhead. In fact, King Solomon, who had the privilege and honor of building the temple of the LORD, questioned how such a great God would be able to inhabit a man-made structure.

2 Chronicles 6:18 –“But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!”

On the other hand, numerous people hold to a view of God that makes Him out to be strictly distant and detached, to the point that God doesn’t really care about the affairs of humanity as a whole, let alone each and every one of the 7 billion plus individuals on our planet. So, it would serve us well to keep in mind this balance of the most high God also being the most nigh God. Yes, God is so high that our brains can’t completely fathom Him; and yes, God is so holy that our sins have separated us from Him. But at the proper time, God has bridged that gap by becoming human and furthermore dying on a cross to pay for our sins so that we could be near to God, so near that His Spirit would live in us.

Let us pay homage to our high and holy God who is has graciously provided salvation to the lowly and contrite.

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