For all these things hath my hand made, and all those thing have been, saith the Lord: But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of contrite (heart) spirit, and trembleth at thy word. ~ Isaiah 66:2
* Underlined portion & parenthesis were in my Great Uncle’s notation.
In the CSB translation is reads: My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word.
It is so hard to try and understand where my Great Uncle’s mind was at during these notations since I have zero context. I don’t know if these are sermon notes, bible study group notes, or personal notes. The best I get come from the portions that he underlined, so that while I may not understand what caused him to make these notations, I do know what caught his attention. In the CSB translation, the underlined portion would be: I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit.
Humble. Submissive. The opposite of this, would be prideful & domineering. How much scripture talks about humility, submissiveness, quiet/gentle spirit, peaceful, loving, kindness, meekness, compassion, etc.? A lot. Particularly in the New Testament.
As I continue reading the scripture with what my friend calls 20/20 Vision (20 verses prior and 20 verse after)… the picture is painted. Isa 66 is about the final judgement, and the words that are included talk about what that judgement will look like. In verses 3 & 4 there is a comparison of people. At first glace it appears to be a not evil vs. evil. “One kills an ox, another kills a person”… “One sacrifices a lamb, another breaks a dog’s neck”… It feels very “this or that”. Yet as verse 3 concludes, we read:
“all these have chosen their ways and delight in their abhorrent practices”
The first word that caught my attention was CHOSEN. In each of the circumstances listed in verse 3, God is saying that the person is making the CHOICE to do it. It is not out of obedience or instruction, but a choice they are making to do one thing versus the other.
The second word that caught my attention was DELIGHT. In each of these circumstances listed, they delighted in what they are doing. No one should delight in slaughtering an animal, or sacrificing an animal. To delight in the act reveals a dark nature about the heart of the one doing it.
The third word that caught my attention was ABHORRENT. That word means disgusting. Why would the Lord refer to something like sacrificing a lamb (which was part of the OT culture) as disgusting? Or, making a grain or incense offering… how could that be disgusting to the Lord? Because the heart behind the action was not pure. This was not about obedience and repentance, this was not about atonement or praise. Something in the heart of the person was not right.
Verse 4 continues: “So I will choose their punishment, and I will bring on the what they dread because I called and no one answered. I spoke and they did not listen; they did what was evil in my sight and chose what I did not delight in.”
Two things that jumped out at me about this verse:
- This confirms the issue was with the heart of the person not the action.
- If this is about the final judgement, this would be post crucifixion. In verse 3, the abhorrent includes: killing a person, sacrificing a lamb. Those who contributed to the crucifixion on Jesus, did not listen. They did what was evil in God’s sight, and chose what God did not delight in.
But whom has God’s favor? Back to verse 2, God looks favorable on the humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at His word. As we continue reading, verse 5 begins with:
“You who tremble at his word, hear the word of the Lord. “Your brothers who hate and exclude you for my names sake have said, Let the Lord be glorified so that we can see your joy! But they will be put to shame.”
There are those who call themselves our brothers and sisters, who may treat you unfairly or even discredit you all under the name of the Lord & think they are doing it for the favor of the Lord…. but God said they will be put to shame.
If you, dear reader, have experienced pain in the pews… spiritual abuse… toxic leadership… or other types of abuse, exploitation, etc. under the name of religion, or even touted as under the authority of God… know this… His word is true and the Lord says He will reckon with it.