Pastor Steve Ellison Column: Where is the House?
As we survey the Bible examining the questions asked by the Creator of the creatures, we find ourselves at the conclusion of the magnificent and far-seeing book of Isaiah. Fittingly, it seems that the last chapter of Isaiah is looking at the end of time. The discussion of the Millennium is continued from chapter 65, which concludes with a description of the new heavens and new earth. The Millennium promises to be a marvelous age in which communication with God is improved. Creature behavior will be much improved as well.
Isaiah 66:1-2 conveys some important truth, Thus says the Lord, "Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? 2 "For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being," declares the Lord. "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. (NASU) God is both transcendent and immanent. God is spirit; thus, these descriptions are simply to aid the understanding of finite man. The size of God is beyond the comprehension of mortal man; however, if heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool, then He is more than we can imagine and fully capable of ruling and reigning. There is no way that mankind could construct a place large enough or worthy of housing the Creator. The whole universe is His dwelling place. Solomon, builder of the original Temple rightly understood the situation, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built! (1 Kings 8:27, NASU)
Jesus and Stephen put verse one to good use in the New Testament. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus used it to warn against the folly of swearing oaths, "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You Shall Not Make False Vows, But Shall Fulfill Your Vows To The Lord.' "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet. (Matthew 5:33-35, NASU) Stephen used it to point out the hypocrisy of the hard-hearted members of the Sanhedrin, The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: 'Heaven Is My Throne, And Earth Is The Footstool Of My Feet; What Kind Of House Will You Build For Me?' Says The Lord, 'Or What Place Is There For My Repose? 'Was It Not My Hand Which Made All These Things?' (Acts 7:48-50, NASU) Our God is beyond comprehension. He needs nothing from us, but He does desire something from us.
God desires men, women, boys, and girls to be tender-hearted worshippers of Him, worshipping Him in spirit and truth. The Creator expects the creatures to come to Him in humility and contriteness. One of the great truths about the God of the Bible is that He is beyond our imagination or comprehension, but He is also near to us. In fact, He took on flesh, in order to be our Kinsman Redeemer. Isaiah 57:14-15 is a great encouragement to the creature, "Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people." For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite. (NASU) Oh, praise His name!