When I was young, my bedroom looked like a tribute to the king, Elvis Presley. I had pictures and collector items such as a decanter, a pennant flag with his likeness on it, and a metal plate with a medley of images of his progressive look from all black leather to his famous karate-style apparel. I obviously also enjoyed his music. One of his many songs was titled, “Return to Sender.” One verse says, “I gave a letter to the postman; he put it in his sack. Bright and early next morning, he brought my letter back. She wrote upon it: Return to sender, address unknown, no such number, no such zone.”
In the book of Isaiah, we see the two addresses of the One True King, and the promise that when we reverently and repentantly reach out to Him, He hears us, and will not send our letters back. In fact, He will repair, restore, and revive our relationship with Him.
Both of these addresses of God are revealed in Isaiah 57:15 which reads, “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 revive the heart of the contrite” (NASB).
The Holy King’s first address is “a high and holy place.” This is His heavenly dwelling, that place where Jesus is seated right now, at His Father’s right hand, patiently awaiting the announcement of His second coming to earth. God is reminding Isaiah — and us — that He alone is King of the universe. Elvis may be the king of Rock and Roll, but he, like all humankind, will one day bow his knee to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Isaiah was given a vision of this King in his book, chapter 6:1-5. Before this, Isaiah had his eyes on his earthly king, Uzziah. He was once a good king who turned bad, and the Lord was against him. It took his death to get Isaiah focused on the right King. When he saw this Holy, high, and exalted King, he said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!” You, too, will have a similar response when you truly see the King of Holiness. Yes, He is a God of grace and forgiveness, but never forget, His Holy, perfect, pure nature will not allow sin into His presence. Our sin is detestable in His sight; it grieves Him. It is sin that causes our fellowship with God to be hindered. When we truly see Him, our sin will be exposed and we, like Isaiah, will say, “Woe, I’m ruined!”
But, praise God, when we honestly admit our sinfulness and repent and turn from it, “we” become the second address of God! He dwells with “the contrite and lowly of spirit.” This is why my personal mission statement says, “I want to live in such a way that God is comfortable living in me…” If you are living in sin as a Christian, God may still own you and be on your property, but he will not dwell in fellowship in a home that is infested by sin. Many families have a house, but not a home. A house is just a building for shelter; a home is that, but more. A home is a place where relationships flourish. Do not be deceived and think you can have closet, secret sins and have a right relationship with God. It was Paul who said, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will reap” (Galatians 6:7, NASB). From the outside, our lives may look great, we can speak the Christian lingo, show up every Sunday for worship, even participate in ministry, but God knows our hearts. In fact, I believe this was the sin of “unclean lips” that both Isaiah confessed that he and his people had. I say this based upon what God says about them in Isaiah 29:13, “Then the Lord said, because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service. But they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote” (NASB). Much of modern day Christianity doesn’t want to hear this. It wants to hide in its halfhearted, lukewarm, rote faith that never deals with the Holiness of God that exposes their sin. It reminds me of the words of the late missionary C.T. Studd when he said, “Before the world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God…We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.”
This leads us to the result of acknowledging the One True King as Holy and seeing ourselves rightly before Him. His promise is that where He dwells, he brings revival. Isaiah says it is “in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the contrite.” Leonard Ravenhill once said this about revival. “It means to revitalize, it means to restore lost power, it means to recover lost energy…revival is an act of mercy in the sovereignty of God.” After Isaiah repented and dealt with his sin, he was called by God to go and minister, and his response was, “Here am I; send me.”
Is the One True King, the Lord Jesus Christ, truly the Lord of your life? Is God comfortable living in you? Or, do you need revival? Here’s a good test to these questions: “If He’s not Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all.” It’s true — He dwells on the throne of the entire universe as the Almighty and Holy God, but he also makes His address with those broken over their sin. When you look in His eyes, you will see the reflection of who you really are, and it’s at that point you will be compelled to repent.
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