“For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15 RSV).
The dissonance of this verse is astounding! The God who dwells in the highest heaven, who inhabits eternity, also resides with the contrite and humble of spirit. Why does He dwell there? To revive them. To lift them up. It seems impossible to imagine that the King of the universe dwells with the contrite and humble.
Within the ancient world, the gods were capricious, caring about their sacrifices and the mighty; human morality did not move the gods. Neither did human poverty. The God of the Bible is fundamentally different. People’s obedience and repentance moved Him.
The suffering, the poor, those on the fringe of society—He identified with them. The mighty, He cast down; the proud, He resisted. The contrite, He revives their heart. The humble, He revives their spirit.
The economy of God’s kingdom turns upside down the normal order of things. He often values what others overlook or despise, and He despises what we tend to value.
The Hebrew word translated as “contrite” literally means “crushed.” Those who are crushed. The God who inhabits eternity dwells among those who feel crushed.
The structure of the verse indicates that the crushed and contrite are also the humble in spirit. The “humble in spirit” doesn’t merely mean those who are humble; it carries with it the sense of those whose spirits are low, depressed. Have you been there? The God of the universe dwells with you.
Our weakness does not hinder or prevent God’s presence. His greatness does not distance Him from our brokenness. Rather, He dwells with us there. He does not leave us there; His presence comes to revive us.
Father, You dwell in eternity, yet You reside with us in our brokenness to revive us. How great are You, O Lord! Amen.