Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
June 2021 (3)
May 2021 (5)
April 2021 (4)
March 2021 (5)
February 2021 (4)
January 2021 (5)
December 2020 (4)
November 2020 (4)
October 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
August 2020 (5)
July 2020 (21)
June 2020 (29)
May 2020 (28)
April 2020 (31)
March 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (5)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

POVERTY, CONTRITION, AND TREMBLING
by Philip Owen

Yes, God intends for us to serve Him, but that service is not to consist of merely external actions, regardless of how impressive they might appear.  Through Isaiah, God explained to His people that, because He can do everything and anything, nothing we do is essential to Him in any way.  Our service does not aid Him so much as provide Him with an opportunity to bless us:  “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool:  where is the house that ye build for me?  and where is the place of my rest?” (66:1). What is human endeavor by comparison with the work of God?  Is He looking for a physical temple to dwell in?  Not ultimately.  He is looking for hearts in which to dwell.  “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66:2).  In this verse, the Lord gives us a snapshot of the person who pleases Him.  That person possesses three qualities.

He is poor, that is humble, in spirit.  There is no room in the kingdom of God for those who are impressed with themselves and want everyone around them to be impressed with them as well.  The man or woman to whom the Lord “will look” is one whose predominant characteristic is poverty of spirit.  Such an idea is alien to the twenty-first-century mind.  But believers are called to have the mind of God, not of their contemporaries.  Poverty of soul is the description given to those who recognize that they have nothing to offer God and that all that they are and have is the product of His beneficence toward them.  To be poor or humble in spirit is to depend wholly on the Lord and on His gracious supply.  It is to look in faith to the Lord for the supply of all our needs, for the direction for all our activities, and for the strength for all our service.  We are to be holy beggars, bringing nothing of ourselves with which to buy, barter, or bargain, but by faith resting in the gracious infinite generosity of our Lord.

He is contrite in spirit.  The Hebrew word translated contrite means smitten and speaks of one who is dejected.  In some sense, a contrite spirit is the opposite of a proud spirit.  It is a chastened spirit, one that has recognized, as Paul was to testify many centuries later, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18).  If a poor spirit is the recognition of our neediness and dependency upon God for everything, then a contrite spirit is the acknowledgement that we are in every way unworthy of the blessings that God so freely bestows on us.  One of contrite spirit keeps close accounts with God.  We are to be sensitive to our sin and to confess and forsake it the moment the Spirit of God brings it to our attention.  A prevailing characteristic of the one to whom God “looks” is that he remains in a constant state of confession of sin.  We should be continually aware of the sins that separate us from the fellowship of God’s presence and the many things that “come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).  Living such a life does not produce groveling misery, but joy, strength, and habitual victory in the Lord.

He trembles at God’s Word.  This trembling is not an abject fear and constant misery:  it is the attitude of faith.  It is the measure of the reality of our love for and faithfulness to the Lord.  Many would-be servants of God serve in capacities of their choosing and at times of their convenience.  The one to whom God “will look” is one who is subservient to God’s Word.  Service in self-will is of no service whatsoever to God.  The true servant of God “trembles” at God’s Word.  God’s will, as revealed in the Word, is uppermost in His mind.  The Word is not an impediment to service, something to be explained away, or something to be ignored:  it is at the very heart of service.  We are neither faithful Christians nor faithful servants if we have little regard for the Word of God.  And by regard, I do not mean merely that we read, study, and memorize it, but that we yield our wills to it—obey it.  There is no substitute for a reverent obedience to the Word of God, and no amount of service or sacrifice can supplant the necessity of our bowing in faith and obedience to the holy, just, and good counsel that God has given us there.   Do you want to be well regarded by the Lord?  Give heed to our text.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page