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Who Inhabits Eternity 

Isaiah 57.15 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • September 8, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 

Prelude

  1. Isaiah said something when he introduced a quote from God 
    1. that has always intrigued me:

      15 For thus says the High and Lofty One
      Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
      “I dwell in the high and holy place…”

      – Isaiah 57.15a
    2. We think of eternity as time without end, but 
      1. here Isaiah pictured it as a place to live. 
      2. God lives in eternity. 
  2. Yet, that also makes sense to us because 
    1. He is God and 
    2. He dwells where eternity is. 
      1. He is God and 
      2. has no beginning and no end. 
        1. What is time to God? 
        2. Remember Peter once said:

          8 [B]eloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

          – 2 Peter 3.8
          1. As adults we may say that our childhoods seems like yesterday, but 
          2. it only lives as a memory in our minds. 
            1. In truth, we know that childhood was years or decades ago; 
            2. we cannot look upon our childhood at the present time, 
              1. watching it being played out before us. 
              2. We live within time. 
      3. With God a thousand years ago, ten thousand years ago, whatever, 
        1. is a different experience for Him. 
        2. He lives outside of time. 
          1. He can watch all of time simultaneously. 
          2. Therefore, He can see things happen, 
            1. although they are yet future for us. 
            2. That is why He could tell a prophet what would happen and 
              1. that prophet reported it and 
              2. recorded it in Scripture, and 
                1. it happened precisely as He said that it would, 
                2. unlike the people who keep trying to predict the future, 
                  1. whether the National Enquirer type of people, 
                  2. scientists, politicians, crazy preachers, and so on. 
  3. Let’s see the context of Isaiah’s quote, and then 
    1. let’s explore more of what the prophet said about God, 
    2. including what God Himself said in that passage. 

Persuasion

  1. The Context 
    1. Isaiah 57.1

      1 The righteous perishes,
      And no man takes it to heart;
      Merciful men are taken away,
      While no one considers
      That the righteous is taken away from evil.

      – Isaiah 57.1
      1. Something was going to happen, and 
      2. the sign of it 
        1. was the disappearance of the righteous. 
        2. They were dying off, but 
          1. no one took it to heart to figure out why. 
          2. They were disappearing for a reason. 
      3. The Lord was taking away the righteous because 
        1. a massive destruction was on its way, because 
        2. of their sin of idolatry. 
    2. Isaiah 57.3

      3 “But come here,
      You sons of the sorceress,
      You offspring of the adulterer and the harlot!”

      – Isaiah 57.3
      1. From that verse and following, He invited them to consider their ways. 
      2. They served gods in every place in the land of Israel. 
    3. Isaiah 57.7

      7 “On a lofty and high mountain
      You have set your bed;
      Even there you went up
      To offer sacrifice.”

      – Isaiah 57.7
      1. Note the language here. 
      2. They were committing some of their idolatrous practices 
        1. upon the lofty and high mountains. 
        2. By this the worshippers believed they were closer to their god, or 
          1. that their gods lived on the lofty and high mountains. 
    4. Isaiah 57.11–13

      11 “And of whom have you been afraid, or feared,
      That you have lied
      And not remembered Me,
      Nor taken it to your heart?
      Is it not because I have held My peace from of old
      That you do not fear Me?
      12 I will declare your righteousness
      And your works,
      For they will not profit you.
      13 When you cry out,
      Let your collection of idols deliver you.
      But the wind will carry them all away,
      A breath will take them.
      But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land,
      And shall inherit My holy mountain.”

      – Isaiah 57.11–13
      1. They did not remember God because He had been silent. 
        1. They believed that His silence meant 
        2. that He had ignored their sin or was ignorant of it. 
      2. However, He would declare their works. 
        1. When that disaster came upon them, 
        2. He challenged them to let their gods deliver them. 
    5. That led Him to announce who He is in contrast to their gods. 
  2. Isaiah 57.14–15a
    14 And one shall say,
    “Heap it up! Heap it up!
    Prepare the way,
    Take the stumbling block out of the way of My people.”
    15 For thus says the High and Lofty One
    Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
    “I dwell in the high and holy place…”

    – Isaiah 57.14–15a
    1. Dwell upon the majesty of the first half of verse 15. 
    2. Jehovah God is high and lofty. 
      1. Remember what the Lord had charged them with in verse 7:

        7 “On a lofty and high mountain
        You have set your bed;
        Even there you went up
        To offer sacrifice.

        – Isaiah 57.7
      2. Then He told them that He is high and lofty, and 
        1. not because He resides on some mountain
          1. a mountain higher than theirs, but 
        2. because He inhabits eternity. 
          1. He is in heaven, 
          2. looking over all the high and lofty mountains of the earth, 
            1. laughing at the idolaters in Israel 
            2. for imagining that they were worshiping gods 
              1. on those puny bumps on the earth. 
              2. To see the insignificance of our mountains, 
                1. Consider whether you see mountains sticking up 
                2. along the edge in a full view of the earth. 
    3. Jehovah God inhabits eternity. 
      1. Eternity is His living place. 
      2. What is eternity? 
        1. We just know that it is not bound by time. 
        2. He exists beyond time. 
        3. He exists beyond the universe. 
      3. To say that He inhabits eternity means 
        1. that He has no restrictions on the length that He exists. 
        2. We mark our lives by our ages, because 
          1. we have a beginning and 
          2. our bodies shall have an end. 
            1. At the present we live in time. 
            2. God has always lived in eternity. 
      4. How impressed we are when someone can live a long time. 
        1. I have met a few people over 100 years old, but 
        2. what is that to the God who inhabits eternity? 
      5. Think of what it means that He inhabits eternity: 
        1. He is exalted beyond our wildest imagination. 
        2. His nature is unchanging. 
        3. His nature is holy, for 
          1. He is free from any form of corruption, 
          2. allowing Him to inhabit eternity. 
        4. In eternity He makes a full revelation of Himself. 
      6. In connection with saying that He dwells in eternity, 
        1. the prophet also said that God’s name is holy.

          “He is so far above all creatures of all ranks that it is not needful to specify his name in order to designate him. No one can be compared with him; no one so nearly approaches him that there can be any danger of confounding him with other beings.”

          – Albert Barnes, Isaiah, page 323.
    4. Jehovah God dwells in the high and holy place. 
      1. High above us, far away from us. 
      2. It is high above us because 
        1. it is a holy place 
        2. for a holy God. 
      3. He dwells in heaven itself:

        27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!”

        – 1 Kings 8.27

        20 “But the LORD is in His holy temple.
        Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

        – Habakkuk 2.20

        13 Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!

        – Zechariah 2.13

Exhortation

  1. The Lord said that He inhabits eternity, but 
    1. when we go back to that original passage, 
    2. we make a discovery. 
      1. He inhabits another place:

        15 For thus says the High and Lofty One
        Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
        “I dwell in the high and holy place,
        With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
        To revive the spirit of the humble,
        And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
        16 For I will not contend forever,
        Nor will I always be angry;
        For the spirit would fail before Me,
        And the souls which I have made.
        17 For the iniquity of his covetousness
        I was angry and struck him;
        I hid and was angry,
        And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
        18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him;
        I will also lead him,
        And restore comforts to him
        And to his mourners.”

        – Isaiah 57.15–18
    3. The same God, the very same God, 
      1. who inhabits eternity, 
      2. also inhabits the people who have a contrite and humble spirit. 
        1. Those people, the humble, 
        2. He dwells with them 
          1. to revive their spirits and 
          2. to revive their hearts. 
  2. He does not want to contend with us forever. 
    1. He does not want to be angry always. 
    2. He knows that if He were to be that way, 
      1. our spirits, 
      2. the souls which He has made, 
        1. would fail before Him. 
        2. How can anyone endure a fight with God? 
  3. However, He wants us to know that His anger was fully justified. 
    1. He stated that Israel, and by extension modern man, had been covetous. 
    2. Therefore, He struck Israel, 
      1. He hid Himself from the nation but 
      2. they kept backsliding. 
  4. However, the Lord desired to heal His people, 
    1. He wanted to heal them and 
    2. to restore comforts to them. 
      1. Of course, that was predicated on their repentance, 
      2. as verse 15 shows, because 
        1. He will dwell with the contrite and humble spirit. 
        2. He refers to people 
          1. who are broken up over their sins and 
          2. who humble themselves before Him. 
  5. Imagine that! 
    1. The God who resides in eternity 
    2. will also reside with any person, 
      1. as long as they are contrite over their sins, and 
      2. they have repented from pride and arrogance, 
        1. humbling themselves before Him. 
  6. God has two palaces: 
    1. Eternity and 
    2. the humble.

      “The infinitely great One cares even for the infinitely little.”

      – Joseph Parker, Preaching through the Bible, Volume VIII, Isaiah 27–Daniel, page 250

      “What a transition, from the halls and corridors of eternity, to the human bosom!”

      – J. R. Macduff, The Biblical Illustrator, Volume 8, Isaiah, page 287
  7. VII.The only logical response to the God who inhabits eternity is: Humility. 
    1. As mere creatures that is how we should be. 
    2. As creatures who have sinned that is definitely how we should be. 
      1. The God of eternity dwelling with us 
      2. is not only predicated upon our repentance, but 
        1. the path to God still had to be opened up for us. 
        2. This is what the ministry and death of Jesus is all about:

          14 Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

          Hebrews 4.14

          19 we have…an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast and entering into that which is within the veil; 20 whither as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

          Hebrews 6.19–20

          26 For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens…

          – Hebrews 7.26