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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1211

Where God Lives
Part One

December 20, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1211 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I don’t know, just kind of out-of-the-blue, Isaiah 57 is the scripture there that came to my mind. And I don’t know, I’ll just ask the Lord to open it as He will.

You know, Isaiah was a prophet during a…I was going to say, during a difficult period in Israel’s history, but what period was not difficult? It seemed like the majority of the Jewish culture and the people of Israel…there was a constant falling away, there was a constant pull toward the world and toward living for self.

And he actually describes, in this passage prior to the scripture I want to get to, he actually describes the heathen practices that they had adopted. These were, supposedly, God’s people in the world. They were worshipping the heathen god, Moloch. And how many of you know what that involved? There’s a whole lot of sexual lust that was embodied in their religion, in a very destructive way. But they actually would take their children and burn them to death as offerings to Moloch! I mean, you think about how far people can fall when they start separating themselves from God and trying to do their own thing. You have no idea what’s in here!

( congregational amens ).

We have no idea what’s in here and how far people can fall. I’ll tell you, we need the Lord!

( congregational amens ).

We need the Lord! That song we just sung, “Lord, I Need You.” My God! Do we realize how much we need Him? Oh, how we trust in ourselves and suppose that we’re good people! Oh, my God! There’s not a bit of goodness in any one of us, outside of God’s mercy and grace and what He would do.

But anyway, he describes their sin and their resistance to anything that he would try to say to them. But always there’s a message of hope to people who aren’t going this direction, who have a different spirit and a different heart and they’re willing to humble themselves before God.

And so he says, in verse 14, “And it will be said: Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people. For this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (NIV). Praise God!

“I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me—the breath of man that I have created.” And so on. But here’s an expression, even now, in the middle of this broken world, God is still looking for a place to live! He’s looking for people with whom He can dwell!

( congregational amens ).

That’s astonishing! Does that not say something about His character and about His nature? And of course, the first thing He says, that He’s a high and a Holy…He lives, “…in a high and holy place….” And boy do we have examples of that throughout the scriptures! We see this picture where God has had these special encounters with people. And in every case, they came away just totally blown away!

Isaiah himself, of course, as we’ve pointed out many times, saw the Lord, “…high and lifted up…” (KJV). And his total sense of who he was and what was the deal with the human race suddenly became totally changed, in a flash! It didn’t take an explanation. It took simply, oh my God! Just being there, and he knew, ‘I don’t belong to this scene. I am unclean, I have…oh, God! There’s no way I can qualify myself to be part of this!’

And isn’t God good? Every time it seems like there’s this kind of encounter, you see God reaching out and doing something about it, making it possible for someone to be in that scene! He said, I’ve taken…He took a coal…had an angel take a coal off the altar, touch his lips. There was an atonement made by the sacrifice.

You see the picture there…looking forward to Christ and what He did and how He put away the sin? You and I can’t do it…nothing we can do about it. But He did! He put away the sin and He said, I’ve touched your lips, I’ve cleansed you. And in the strength of that, he was given a commission to go out and preach and to give God’s message out. But I mean, what an encounter that was!

And you remember when…was it Moses? I think it was Moses that wanted to know God, wanted to see Him. And God put him in a special place, in the cleft of a rock and said, I’m gonna cover you with my hand, and I’m gonna let you see my back parts. I’m gonna let you sort of see Me as I’m moving past and moving away. You can’t see My face and live. Oh, what a lesson!

And then the Lord showed him His goodness, and His power, and His mercy, and that revelation carried him. You know, many of the Elders of Israel, some of the ones that later on didn’t do so good, they saw a manifestation of God. And over and over and over again you see this sense, when people encounter God, they know, hey, I have no part…I am just so different. I can’t possibly relate. The gulf is too great for me to possibly bridge.

Yet over and over again God is saying, I love you! I want to be…I want there to be a harmony! I want to be able to dwell with you! I made you so I could live with you! I’m not…I’m not looking for an excuse to rub you out and just put you to death. I hate that! I don’t want people to die! I want people to live!

But the reality is, He does live in a high and holy place. And you remember how…He dwelled, in one sense, He dwelled with the people of Israel. But how did He do it?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! There was a…He had them build a tabernacle. There was such a picture of what was coming with Christ, and what it took for God to dwell with people who were sinners! And the only place that He lived…His presence was literally confined to one little chamber of that tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. Now, what happened if somebody just went on in there?

( congregational response ).

( fingers snapping ).

They were dead! I mean, God wanted them to know, to understand, and to be taught about the Holiness of God. And when you understand that, you understand the sinfulness of man. You understand that we’re not there, we’re not like that. And so, He made provision—very careful provisions for the High Priests to go in once a year.

But this was a place of sacrifice. This was a place where sin was atoned for, and on that ground only could a Holy God dwell with sinful man! Somehow, sin had to be settled, had to be put away. Oh, praise God for the Cross!

( congregational amens ).

My God! Like Paul said, we were enemies!

( congregational amens ).

We were…you! Me! We were God’s enemies! In our minds…everything about us, we were His enemy. We were against everything He stands for. And don’t look at me and say you’re not like that. Every one of us is! Oh! This is a Holy God! This is Somebody that wants to live with us! You know, what kind of a people should we be? Oh, I’ll tell you, we have an awesome God!

But He does live in a high and a holy place. And folks, we don’t ever need to lose the sense of awe. Oh, there’s a lot of folks that have brought Him way down ‘til He’s our ‘great buddy in the sky’ and very tolerant of our…you know, we can sort of be careless in this area, and careless in that area, and He understands, it’s all taken care of. Oh, my God!

There are two extremes. I mean, one is that you go way overboard this way and try to live up to some rules. And the other one is, it’s all okay. Folks, there’s a middle ground where we have a sense of who He is and there’s a deep awe and a respect for this Holy God!

You think of what David experienced when he was bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem. Now here was a man after God’s own heart. He just didn’t really understand quite what he was doing. He had his heart in the right place. He wanted to do something good. But he didn’t do it the way God had said. God had given them very specific provisions as to who was to handle it, and how it was to be handled, and they were having a party. And so the ox stumbled.

Well, the guy standing nearest did the thing any one of us would have done. He reached out and put his hand on the Ark and he died instantly. God was sending a reminder. This is not a God you just treat with disrespect. Oh, how easy do we just participate and just drink in the spirit of the world around us. May God help us to find that middle ground where we’re not ‘holier than thou,’ because in ourselves, we aren’t. But where we experience His Holiness and His…we look at the world and look at ourselves through His eyes.

You see, if we look at the world through His eyes, we’re gonna see all the things that are wrong, but we’re also going to have a heart of compassion for people who are caught by that, instead of this denunciation as though we’re somebody. Oh God, help us to have that…to really get the balance of what it means to express His Spirit.

But here’s a God who lives in that place. And boy did Isaiah know what that meant. But oh, what an awesome thing he says after that. “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit…” (NIV). There is a humility, there is a kind of a person that a Holy God can actually live with in a real practical sense, in the middle of this broken world! What an amazing thing!

You think about…I mean, human nature, by its nature, is proud. We suppose that we can do stuff. We suppose that we’re smart enough to figure out what life is about and to pursue happiness. God, what a horrible, ridiculous goal is ‘happiness.’ Happiness depends upon pleasant happenings. So, what you call happiness lasts about five seconds and then you’re empty again. It makes no sense at all!

I know it’s in our Constitution to pursue happiness, but I want something deeper than that. I want something better than that. Because if you and I are devoted to seeking personal happiness and fulfillment, who are we doing that for? Who’s at the center of that? It’s self! And once you put self on the throne, you become the enemy of every other person on this planet because they’re trying to do the same thing. And you’re just gonna have one heck of a fight. You’re just gonna have a war!

And that’s where the human race is at—that’s where they’re at. They’re at war one with another and with God! Because I want what I want, when I want it! And boy, does this go to the…this is not just the people of the world! This affects every single one of us, because our nature drives us in that direction!

And we don’t like to…I mean, the idea of humbling myself, and being able to say, whoa, I’m wrong. You know, everybody else is wrong. We don’t have any problem with that, because that fits our narrative. They’re all wrong! They do this! They’re this way, they’re that way! If everybody else would simply straighten up and fly right, my life would be perfect!

Your life would be exactly the way it is now and you’d be a frustrated, angry somebody, never quite able to fix things exactly like you want them. It ain’t gonna happen in this world. Oh, God!

And these people, these idolaters, man, they were proud. You see the kind of a spirit that takes over people, that causes God to have to stand at a distance. And you think about the man who preceded David on the throne. Saul. Saul was a young man. He was about a head taller than everybody else, but he was shy. He was an introvert when he started out.

There was one occasion when they were gonna bring him out before the people. It might have been when he was anointed to be king, I forget. It seemed like. And, where is he? And the Lord had to reveal to the prophet, he’s hidden himself among the stuff. I mean, this is not a guy who was gonna put himself forward and say, hey, I’m here. I’m your savior now. This is the guy who said, huh, who me?

The Lord even talked about him later. It says, when you started out, “…you were once small in your own eyes….” That’s a good place to be, because we need Him. We weren’t made to be big in our own eyes. But he was that way. And so, there was a measure of blessing, and he became the king and time went along.

But he didn’t stay that way, did he? There was a pride that entered his heart, and there was a self-will that just began to take over. And there came a day, when he went out to battle, and God gave him a very, very specific instruction. This was not something where he could have waffled and say, God, You didn’t make it plain. I didn’t understand. God was specific! And he got out there and he had a better idea than God did. How many of you have ever had a better idea than God?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! He allowed things to go one way and you said, God, that’s not right. It needs to happen this way. If You’ll just straighten it up, we’ll be good. Well, anyway…and he did it before the people. I mean, everybody knew, God said this and we’re doing this. Well, you know, we’re very good, when we come up with our own ways of doing things, of finding a justification, a rationale, a reason…a rationale is a piece of logic that we come up with to justify something we’ve already decided. You know, this is what I want to do. I’d better come up with a good reason here.

( laughter ).

He said, I know, we’ll have a sacrifice. God will be surely pleased with that. That’ll make it okay. And so, they got the animals together and Samuel came around. And he said, bless the Lord, I’ve done what He said. And Samuel said, what’s this noise I hear, all these animals bleating? Oh, we killed everybody else, we brought the best of the flock back to offer a sacrifice to God. Oh, how good we are.

And the Lord said, does the Lord want sacrifice more than He wants obedience? “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” (NLT). And he said, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity…” (KJV). Now, I understand you’re all spiritual here. Nobody here has an ounce of stubbornness in your DNA, right?

( congregational inaudible ).

Yeah. I don’t know, this is kind of at the heart of what I was seeing and thinking. And of course, part of my reaction is, God, I can’t preach this. I’m as guilty as anybody I’m preaching to. But that doesn’t work. You’ve got to give out what the Lord wants.

But anyway, this was not a humble man. This was a man that God reached out to him in so many different ways, throughout his life, and he just…there was a stubbornness about him that…there was a self-will, there was a pride. I’m the king. I can do as I please.

And here he was…he got to the point where he knew that David was going to take the throne. And instead of humbling himself, his action, his desire was to actually kill David? You see where pride and rebellion begin to take you. You don’t stop. There’s no real exit unless you exit by humbling yourself and turning back from it.

But oh, there’s such a…but yet God’s heart…it’s not that He’s looking for perfection but He is looking for an attitude that when He shines the Light in our hearts, we can humble ourselves to that and say, truth, Lord! Truth, Lord!

You think of the humility of that woman that Jesus talked to. She was a foreigner. He said, I can’t do anything for you. I was sent to the Israelites. She said, that’s true Lord. But the dogs eat from the table. They, “…eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”(NIV).

Oh, my! You know how that touched the heart of Jesus? To see that need and that sense of humility…she wasn’t trying to say, I deserve this. She was saying, Lord, I just need You! The heart and the nature of God is to run to that kind of a spirit!

You know David, himself, despite the fact that he was a man after God’s own heart, got in a real bad place, didn’t he? He got careless. The very thing we need to be careful about. And it had to have happened over a long period of time, because he got so spiritually insensitive that somehow…the time of battle came and he said, I’m gonna sit this one out.

And while he was sitting out, he got tempted by a beautiful woman, and one thing led to another. Then she got pregnant and next thing you know he had to do something about the husband. He tried every way he could to sort of cover his sin.

You know, you don’t cover your sin. If you try, you’ll not prosper. God values honesty, doesn’t he? He values it when we just come to Him and say, Lord, it’s the truth. I need You. But anyway, time went along and he arranged effectively the murder of this woman’s husband, took her to be his wife, she bore a child, and to this point, this man after God’s own heart had no sense that he had done something terrible and done something wrong. Think about that.

Boy, let that be a lesson to us! How we need to stay close to the Lord and need to be where His Light can shine in the dark places of our hearts, because we’ve all got them. We’re not there yet. God’s doing a work in every one of our lives.

But yet, think about it. When God sent the prophet Nathan to David and gave him kind of a parable that pictured what he had done…and oh, David’s sense of self-righteousness rose up and…we’re gonna get this guy. Look at the terrible thing he did. Then he looked at him and said, “You are the man!”

Phew! Any other king would probably have taken his head off right there. But David humbled himself before the Light that God shined in his life. And there was a genuine, deep, heartfelt repentance that’s recorded for us in Psalms chapter 51. Oh, it’s a good thing to read, just to get a picture of what real repentance means.

And that brings the other dimension into this. It isn’t just that we’re humble, but how do we feel about what God has shown us about ourselves? Are we willing, first of all, to say, God, my life is an open book. I want You to look into my heart. I need You to help me. I need You to show me what’s wrong.

But what do we do when He does? Is there a stubbornness? Is there a resistance? You know, thank God, in David there wasn’t! There was a total surrender, and a repentance, and a turning from that. His attitude was not just of humility, but contrition. It means, I’m not on board with this. I see I was wrong. God, I’m on Your side on this battle here, this issue, this controversy. I’m coming over and joining You against me. And Lord, I need You to help me in this. I don’t embrace this. I turn from it. But oh, how many there are that have this secret place in their hearts in our world today.