CAMEOS OF CHRIST – HIGH AND LOFTY (Isaiah 57: 15)
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.
We can never have too high a view of Christ and those two words ‘high and lofty‘ remind us of the greatness of His person: for He is the ‘high and lofty One‘ that this verse refers to. Isaiah has linked these two words together on at least two occasions earlier in his prophesy. In chapter 6, he described the vision that he had when ‘in the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up [i.e. ‘high and lofty’], and His train filled the temple‘ (Isaiah 6: 1). It is the apostle John who tells us that Isaiah was speaking of the Lord Jesus (John 12: 41). Again, in chapter 52 he wrote of the Lord Jesus with the words: ‘behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled [i.e. ‘high and lofty’], and be very high‘ (Isaiah 52: 13). Whether Isaiah thinks of the past in this verse, or his present in chapter 6 or the future in chapter 52, the Lord is the ‘high and lofty One‘.
In the book of Job, Eliphaz makes the statement: ‘is not God in the height of heaven? And behold the height of the stars, how high they are!‘ (Job 22: 12). What Eliphaz means is that the stars are way beyond our everyday normal experience. In our modern day we have a clearer sense of the truth of that as we have been able to measure the incomprehensible distances involved. Isaiah reminds us that ‘as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [God’s] ways higher than [our] ways, and [His] thoughts than [our] thoughts‘ (Isaiah 55: 9). Solomon reminds us that ‘the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee‘ (1 Kings 8: 27) – He is ‘the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity‘. Our God is the TRANSCENDENT God. And it is the apostle Paul who explains that that TRANSCENDENT One is ‘Christ who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen‘ (Romans 9: 5).
But listen to this! The One who ‘dwell[s] in the high and holy place‘ also dwells ‘with him … that is of a contrite and humble spirit‘. Note those three words: HIGH … HOLY … HUMBLE. God’s transcendence does not make Him remote! We see that personified in the Lord Jesus Christ – ‘God was manifest in the flesh‘ (1 Timothy 3: 16); ‘Who, being in the form of God … He humbled Himself‘ (Philippians 2: 6, 8).
He is worthy of our worship and of our praise. The wonder is that He accepts it:
Though high, yet He accepts the praise His people offer here
The faintest, feeblest lay they raise will reach the Saviour’s ear