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. (Isaiah 57:15)
There are always ‘two sides’ to biblical truth. The first is knowlege – the actual truth itself – and the second is wisdom, which is essentially the practical application of truth. Knowing something is wonderful, but being able to actually use it in our lives is what differentiates between words and the Living Word. Words exist in and of themselves, but the Word brings life. It transforms our lives from the simply physical, mental, and emotional to the spiritual. As I pondered the practical reality of Jehovah Shammah, the example which came to mind was Moses, which wasn’t really what I expected when I asked for understanding. Yet, as I tried to look elsewhere for answers, I kept returning to that simple phrase of ‘take off your shoes.’
Today’s verse brought immediate clarity. It’s so easy, when digging into the Bible, to limit ourselves to what we believe is relevant, but the Holy Spirit will often drop us into unexpected territory in order to open up our understanding. As I read this verse, I was immediately convicted of the eternal truth that our God is and always will be Holy. We know this. Like Moses we can readily accept this, and that we must show reverence and fear in His presence. We have no issue with the truth that where God is, is holy. The key to the practical reality of Jehovah Shammah is contained within the truth of the holiness of God. We need to grasp this simple truth before we can proceed.
Living the practical reality of Jehovah Shammah means taking off our shoes.
In ancient times – and in some cultures and religions, even today – removing shoes was a sign of reverence and respect. The principle behind it was that of simply not tracking dirt into a holy place. Throughout the Bible, see instances of the reverential response of godly men to the holiness of God. But this is not a ritualistic or religious bondage. It’s a spiritual response. The physical act of removing shoes is irrelevant unless it emerges from the heart response. Today’s verse clearly reveals the central motif to understanding the practical reality of Jehovah Shammah – the contrite and humble spirit.
It is an astonishing fact the holy God – omnipotent and omniscient – has also chosen to be omnipresent by inhabiting His people. Our churches are not the dwelling place of God. They are the place of meeting, the place where believers – each the dwelling place of God – come together in corporate praise, worship, thanksgiving and fellowship. The church is the mechanism where all the separate parts of the body are united. It is perhaps more accurate to say ‘the body of Christ’ rather than ‘the house of God’ in our present age. Living the practical reality of Jehovah Shammah means each of us living as the vessel of a holy God.
The truth that emerges from today’s verse reminds us not only of God’s holiness, but also of the awesome privilege we have as royal children, as royal priests, and as vessels unto the Lord. It’s is beyond our human comprehension that a God who is holy beyond our ability to understand or explain has actually chosen to live in His people – not beside them, not with them, but in them. And yet, this is exactly what He has done. The truth of this is revealed in Jesus, who set aside His glory to dwell amongst us as a humble man. But this is a type of Jehovah Shammah. It is also the fulfillment of Jehovah Shammah, because now, with Christ raised from the dead and seated in glory, God has brought this to a marvelous place – we each are the building blocks of the new Jerusalem. The ultimate purpose behind living the practical reality of Jehovah Shammah is that God has chosen to reveal His glory through His people.
Living the practical reality of Jehovah Shammah means taking off our shoes, it means surrendering ourselves with humble and contrite spirits. It means acknowledging who and what we really are as well as the holiness of God. God lives in a high and holy place, and though He also lives within us, His purpose is that we become the high and holy place through His work in us.
None of this is possible without surrender. None of this is possible unless we yield ourselves to Him. For others to look at us and say ‘God is there’ means that we are not there. We manifest and reveal only God. People see God and they see His glory. It’s so important to grasp the truth that where the holiness of God is, His glory is there too – and God will never share His glory with another, not even with His people. Living the practical reality of Jehovah Shammah is putting aside self and seeking only His glory in all things, in and through our lives.
Gracious Father, holy God, we praise You and honour You today, and thank You for the wonderful privilege to be Your dwelling place in this world. Help us to come always with humble and contrite spirits, to yield willingly to Your will and purposes in and through us, so that You and Your holiness and glory will be revealed.