1. INFINITE CONDESCENSION
"How precious also are Your thoughts unto me, O God!"
The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: 'I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts.' 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 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 with nothingness, the Infinite with the finite, Deity 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 a loan 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—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 an ardent 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? Psalm 113:5-6