13 Listen, you far away ones to what I have done; and know, you near ones, my power!” 14 Sinners are afraid in Zion; trembling has seized those atheists: “Who of us can live alongside this devouring fire? Who of us can live alongside relentlessly consuming ovens?” 15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who rejects gain by extortion, who pulls back his hand from the taking a bribe, who stops up his ear from hearing blood and shuts his eyes from looking on evil. 16 That one will live among high places; mountain fortresses will be safe for him. His bread will be provided; his water will be sure.
fear of heights
The atheists in Jerusalem had rejected the God of their people because they were convinced that no one could live alongside (literally, as registered aliens among) such a God. Yahveh is a devouring, consuming fire, and he is relentless. He never stops. So, they figured that if they just live as if this powerful God did not exist, they could be OK. They could not live among high places where God was, so they decided to just stay in low places where it was safe. But Isaiah rejects that kind of thinking. Fear of heights cannot bring lasting safety. God is real, and the only true safety is found in acknowledging his presence and power. Living an disciplined life in submission to God’s holiness was all that Yahveh asked of them, and they had the ability to do that.
LORD, forgive us for refusing to live the life you require. Teach us how to scale the heights and live in your presence without fear, trusting in your Son’s sacrifice and your Holy Spirit’s guidance.