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January 12, 2014

Text:  “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

Isn’t it a sweet thought that God wants you to be his companion? God does not really need us to be his friends. No, God is self-sufficient.  He isn’t lonely.  Man and woman need someone to complete them, but not God. Yet he invites you to live with him in the eternal home. Indeed, God made man, witnessed Adam’s disobedience, and sent his Son to die to prepare an eternal home for him.  “Do we all have one father? Has not our God created us?”  Malachi 2:10

Despite the fact that God loves you and has taken great pains to provide for your salvation, that does not mean that you are a friend of God.  God is righteous and holy and those who dwell with him as friends must also be holy. “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” I Peter 1:16b  Though you cannot make yourself holy, you must accept the grace of God to receive the  righteousness of the father. Also,  you must grow in holiness by the teaching of God’s Holy Spirit.

First, our text tells us that God lives in heaven, while his creature man lives on earth. What a difference in the environment between the two! Heaven is a place of righteousness where the holiness of God blesses its inhabitants with eternal life. Man dwells on earth where  there is rebellion against God, unrighteousness, sin, pain, sorrow and death!  God desires that man live with Him and enjoy eternal life, having escaped the wages of sin.   “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

As the Israelites approached Canaan to conquer the promised land,  Balak,  king of Moab saw the threatening hordes about to destroy his country. So Balak roused the leaders of his country and went to Pethor to find the prophet Balaam to curse Israel and end the threat. Balaam at first refused, but God finally relented and told him to go to Moab but he could only proclaim the word God allowed. Twice Balaam tried to curse Israel; and twice God made him bless the Moabites.  But in his first attempt to curse the Moabites, Baalam speaks these words: “Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!” Numbers 23:10b (ESV; other versions say “righteousness!”)

Boldly said! But let us ponder this.  It implies, If  you want to die the death of the righteous, you must first live the life of the righteous. Most inhabitants of this world forget this principle.  You must remember and obey God’s word in order to be holy like God.  “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his ordinances and his statutes  which I am commanding you today”.  Deuteronomy 8:11  Keeping company with God’s holiness and his word produces a transforming spiritual growth.

You must keep company with God and let him direct the changes you need to have his friendship. Do not try to make you own way to invite God to live with you. Follow his will. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Here is a little rule: “Don’t aim  high; aim low.” What? Everyone has to have something to aim at. Worldly people aim at money, position, and acclaim. Christians aim at other things. Isaiah gives us some aspirations  which seem low, but are instead lofty: a contrite heart, and a lowly spirit.(See text above.)  Here are things one must embrace in his own life.   Peter prescribed the same idea.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” I Peter 5:6

Do these things and God will live with you!                                                                                                                          

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