…“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. – Isa. 66:2 NIV
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The Prophet Isaiah remains one of the major Prophets of God, not just during his time on earth but even after, as most of his warnings, which though were directed at the people of his time remain relevant to the Christian today. It just seems that mankind never stop the cycle of transgressing the laws of Jehovah, only for them to seek forgiveness and restoration when He begins to express His disapproval of their disrespect for Him. His period of prophecy transcended the reign of five kings of Judah, namely Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh, with a substantial part of his messages focused on the need for the people to heed the call to repentance, as he urged the people to retrace their steps and return to Jehovah. As it is usual then and now, most of the people rejected the message, preferring instead to remain in their sins, despite the several appeals of Jehovah to them that they return to Him, and letting them know that He will stop listening to their pleas if they refuse to heed His appeal to them – Isa. 1:10-20.
Although most of the people turned deaf ears to the appeal that Jehovah made through the Prophet Isaiah, some of them decided to yield to the Call and Jehovah acknowledged their obedience to Him with a promise to forgive and restore them. The entire book of the Prophet Isaiah was therefore one of a Call to repentance with Jehovah revealing through him, what will be the reward of hearkening to Him as against disobeying Him.
Some have also taken the graciousness of Jehovah for granted, believing that they will always be able to appease Him, once they bring the necessary sacrifices or get involved in activities that will glorify His name. He is a merciful God , they must have concluded, who will always relent in whatever punishment He has chosen to impose on His people once the people can do something that will physically or spiritually build His House (Isa. 66:1-2a), or can bring animal sacrifices or observe all the great ordinances with regards to worship – Isa. 66: 3-4.
All need to know that all those acts of worship will be meaningless to Him, as the only personality that He will esteem and will enjoy His mercy at the time of judgement will be all those who in relation to Him are humble, contrite in spirit and tremble at His Word. It was not going to be about offering all those sacrifices, either in terms of worship or shedding of blood. King David, no doubt was aware of this when he noted that the Lord does not want or delight in such sacrifices as the only sacrifice He delights in and is willing to accept is the one that comes from someone with a broken and a contrite heart – Psa. 51:16-17. So it becomes clear that it is not about the physical acts of people but the state of their thoughts. He will only esteem people who in relation to Him are;
- To be humble is to show a modest estimate of one’s importance. However, one begins to wonder whether there is really any importance that any reasonable person will want to display before Jehovah, the El-Shaddai, more so claim to be modest about it, but that is the reality of the world that we live in today. Though it may be an unconscious act, many people have no other location to seek recognition for their relevance and importance outside the house of Jehovah and indirectly before Him, as they make all efforts to have their views supersede that of Jehovah. Whatever Jehovah says matters little to them once it is not in line with their wishes and desires, though, they are always quick to recite the portion of the Lord’s Prayer that seeks to have the Will of God done on earth as it is being done in heaven – Matt. 6:10. Anyone with such a thought cannot present an acceptable sacrifice to Him as it will be considered meaningless. He simply desires obedience rather than sacrifice – 1Sam. 15:22-23. Being humble at all times, especially in reference to Him is not a favour but an act that He richly and rightly deserves.
- Contrite in spirit. To be contrite is to show remorse or penitence. It is the reaction expected of someone who acknowledges and admits to being guilty with the hope of receiving forgiveness. The one who presents any sacrifice or comes before Him with the intention to worship must be remorseful not physically but spiritually even though, the spiritual remorse will eventually manifest physically. Jehovah is not interested in physically rooted remorse but a spiritual remorse as the former will be more of pretense. The true act of remorse comes from a heart of conviction and may become visible to all physically but more importantly, must be spiritually visible to God. That is the only time that subsequent acts of sacrifice and worship will be acceptable to Jehovah – 1Kgs. 21:29.
- Tremble at His Word. To tremble at the Word of Jehovah is to allow for His Words to weigh heavily on one’s heart, so that it is priority at all times. The one who trembles at the Word of Jehovah, will be eager at all times to hear Him speak on all issues, with the sole intention to implement all that He has said. The one who does not strive to know the view of Jehovah about every situation, especially those challenging ones cannot claim to be tremble at His Words.
Stop relying on those sacrifices or actions of worship as a path to always receive His mercy and favour as it gives the impression that Jehovah can be bribed with them. All of them will be meaningless to Him if the above three points do not accompany all those acts of worship. They are all secondary, with regards to getting his attention and they must be done in line with the above identified points for them to trigger the required and expected recognition. May all our sacrifices not be rendered meaningless before Him in Jesus name. Amen.