The heaven is my throne - (See the notes at Isaiah 57:15). Here he is represented as having his seat or throne there. He speaks as a king. heaven is the place where he holds his court; from where he dispenses his commands; and from where he surveys all his works (compare 2 Chronicles 6:18; Matthew 5:34). The idea here is, that as God dwelt in the vast and distant heavens, no house that could be built on earth could be magnificent enough to be his abode.
The earth is my footstool - A footstool is that which is placed under the feet when we sit. The idea here is, that God was so glorious that even the earth itself could be regarded only as his footstool. It is probable that the Saviour had this passage in his eye in his declaration in the sermon on the mount, ‹Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God‘s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool‘ Matthew 5:34-35.
Where is the house that ye build unto me? - What house can you build that will be an appropriate dwelling for him who fills heaven and earth? The same idea, substantially, was expressed by Solomon when he dedicated the temple: ‹But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded!‘ 1 Kings 8:27. Substantially the same thought is found in the address of Paul at Athens: ‹God, that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands‘ Acts 17:24.
And where is the place of my rest? - It has already been intimated (in the analysis) that this refers probably to the time subsequent to the captivity. Lowth supposes that it refers to the time of the rebuilding of the temple by Herod. So also Vitringa understands it, and supposes that it refers to the pride and self-confidence of those who then imagined that they were rearing a structure that was worthy of being a dwelling-place of Yahweh. Grotius supposes that it refers to the time of the Maccabees, and that it was designed to give consolation to the pious of those times when they were about to witness the profanation of the temple by Antiochus, and the cessation of the sacrifices for three years and a half. ‹God therefore shows,‘ says he, ‹that there was no reason why they should be offended in this thing. The most acceptable temple to him was a pious mind; and from that the value of all sacrifices was to be estimated.‘ Abarbanel supposes that it refers to the times of redemption.
His words are these: ‹I greatly wonder at the words of the learned interpreting this prophecy, when they say that the prophet in this accuses the people of his own time on account of sacrifices offered with impure hands, for lo! all these prophecies which the prophet utters in the end of his book have respect to future redemption.‘ See Vitringa. That it refers to some future time when the temple should be rebuilt seems to me to be evident. But what precise period it refers to - whether to times not far succeeding the captivity, or to the times of the Maccabees, or to the time of the rebuilding of the temple by Herod, it is difficult to find any data by which we can determine. From the whole strain of the prophecy, and particularly from Isaiah 66:3-5, it seems probable that it refers to the time when the temple which Herod had reared was finishing; when the nation was full of pride, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy; and when all sacrifices were about to be superseded by the one great sacrifice which the Messiah was to make for the sins of the world. At that time, God says that the spirit which would be evinced by the nation would be abominable in his sight; and to offer sacrifice then, and with the spirit which they would manifest, would be as offensive as murder or the sacrifice of a dog (see the notes at Isaiah 66:3).
It was not enough for the disciples of Jesus to be instructed as to the nature of His kingdom. What they needed was a change of heart that would bring them into harmony with its principles. Calling a little child to Him, Jesus set him in the midst of them; then tenderly folding the little one in His arms He said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The simplicity, the self-forgetfulness, and the confiding love of a little child are the attributes that Heaven values. These are the characteristics of real greatness. DA 437.1
Again Jesus explained to the disciples that His kingdom is not characterized by earthly dignity and display. At the feet of Jesus all these distinctions are forgotten. The rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, meet together, with no thought of caste or worldly preeminence. All meet as blood-bought souls, alike dependent upon One who has redeemed them to God. DA 437.2
The sincere, contrite soul is precious in the sight of God. He places His own signet upon men, not by their rank, not by their wealth, not by their intellectual greatness, but by their oneness with Christ. The Lord of glory is satisfied with those who are meek and lowly in heart. “Thou hast also given me,” said David, “the shield of Thy salvation: ... and Thy gentleness”—as an element in the human character—“hath made me great.” Psalm 18:35. DA 437.3Read in context »
How precious are the lessons of this psalm. We might well devote study to the last four psalms of David. The words also of the prophet are very precious: “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten Me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”—Special Testimonies On Education, April 22, 1895. FE 371.1
No movement should be made to lower the standard of education in our school at Battle Creek. The students should tax the mental powers; every faculty should reach the highest possible development. Many students come to the college with intellectual habits partially formed that are a hindrance to them. The most difficult to manage is the habit of performing their work as a matter of routine, instead of bringing to their studies thoughtful, determined effort to master difficulties, and to grasp the principles at the foundation of every subject under consideration. Through the grace of Christ it is in their power to change this habit of routine, and it is for their best interest and future usefulness rightly to direct the mental faculties, training them to do service for the wisest Teacher, whose power they may claim by faith. This will give them success in their intellectual efforts, in accordance with the laws of God. Each student should feel that, under God, he is to have special training, individual culture; and he should realize that the Lord requires of him to make all of himself that he possibly can, that he may teach others also. Indolence, apathy, irregularity, are to be dreaded, and the binding of one's self to routine is just as much to be dreaded. FE 373.1Read in context »
The greatest wisdom, and most essential, is the knowledge of God. Self sinks into insignificance as it contemplates God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. The Bible must be made the foundation for all study. Individually we must learn from this lesson-book which God has given us, the condition of the salvation of our souls; for it is the only book that tells us what we must do in order to be saved. Not only this, but from it strength may be received for the intellect. The many books which education is thought to embrace, are misleading, a deception and a delusion. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” Satan is now stirring up the minds of men to furnish to the world literature which is of a cheap, superficial order, but which fascinates the mind, and fastens it in a network of Satan's contrivance. After reading these books, the mind lives in an unreal world, and the life, so far as usefulness is concerned, is as barren as a fruitless tree. The brain is intoxicated, making it impossible for the eternal realities, which are essential for the present and the future, to be pressed home. A mind educated to feed upon trash is unable to see in the word of God the beauty that is there. Love for Jesus and inclination to righteousness are lost; for the mind is built up from that upon which it feeds. By feeding the mind upon exciting stories of fiction, man is bringing to the foundation “wood, hay, stubble.” He loses all taste for the divine Guidebook, and cares not to study the character he must form in order to dwell with the redeemed host, and inhabit the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare. FE 451.1
God has most graciously granted us a probation in which to prepare for the test which will be brought upon us. Every advantage is given us through the mediation of Christ. If the human agent will study the word, he will see that every facility has been freely provided for those who are seeking to be overcomers. The Holy Spirit is present to give strength for victory, and Christ has promised, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”—Special Testimonies on Education, 157 (1896). FE 452.1Read in context »
“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” Isaiah 66:1, 2. During the closing days of 1898 we had many experiences to teach us what these words mean. My heart was greatly burdened, and matters were then opened before me in regard to the evils that would arise from disposing of the land near the school to be occupied with dwelling houses. We seemed to be in a meeting for counsel, and there stood among us One who was expected to help us out of our difficulties. The words He spoke were plain and decided: 6T 184.1
“This land, by the appointment of God, is for the benefit of the school. You have had evidences of the working of human nature and what it will reveal under temptation. The greater the number of families that settle around the school buildings, the more difficulties there will be in the way of teachers and students. The natural selfishness of the children of men is ready to spring into life if everything is not convenient for them. This land about the school is to be the school farm, and this farm is to occupy much more space than you have thought it would. Work in connection with study is to be done here according to the counsels given. Avondale is to be a philanthropic center. God's people in Australasia are to be moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord to give sympathy and means for the support and encouragement of many charitable and benevolent enterprises, which shall be the means of teaching the poor, the helpless, and the ignorant how to help themselves.” 6T 184.2Read in context »
God speaks to us in nature. It is His voice we hear as we gaze upon the beauty and richness of the natural world. We view His glory in the beauteous things His hand has made. We stand and behold His works without a veil between. God has given us these things that in beholding the works of His hands, we may learn of Him. TDG 241.2Read in context »