Who Tremble at His Word

Isaiah 66:2b,5 ESV

“But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.”

“Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word:
‘Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, “Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy”;
but it is they who shall be put to shame.’”

Humble and Contrite

Since I am reading here from the Old Testament, I wanted to see what the New Testament had to say about being humble. So, I read this: “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’.” “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:6,10). “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).

So I also looked in the Greek interlinear to get a better understanding of what this word “humble” means. It means to make or to become low. And it says that this “happens by being fully dependent on the Lord – dismissing reliance upon self (self-government) and emptying carnal ego. This exalts the Lord as our all-in-all and prompts the gift of His fullness in us” (source: biblehub.com interlinear). I believe that is a good definition of humble.

And this fits with Jesus’ words when he said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow him in obedience. For if we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for the sake of Jesus, i.e. if we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, then we have eternal life with him (Luke 9:23-26; cf. Romans 6:1-23; 1 Peter 2:24).

And to be contrite is to be penitent (repentant), humbled by our own sins, grieved and crushed over our sins, especially in light of the holiness and righteousness of God. So, by the grace of God, and in his power and strength, we turn from our sins and we turn to follow Jesus Christ with our lives, in obedience to his commands, and in walks of holiness and righteousness, because God the Father persuaded us to do so (John 6:44).

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Hear the Word

And what does it mean to tremble at God’s word? I believe it has to do with honor and respect, i.e. with the fear of the Lord. It has to do with taking God and his word seriously, believing what it says, and believing not only God’s promises (including the conditions for those promises), but also believing and heeding his warnings. But so many who profess faith in Jesus Christ in America are not being taught the fear of the Lord, and so they are not putting it into practice in their lives, either.

So, we who tremble at the word of the Lord are to hear (listen to) his word. And what are we to hear and to understand? We have people professing faith in Jesus Christ, even pastors, who hate us and who have already (or who will yet) cast us out for the sake of the name of Jesus. Honestly though, in America it is not for his name, but for the sake of who he is and what he stands for and what he taught. For in America, many who profess the name of Jesus don’t have issues with his name. They have issues with some of the things he taught and that the apostles taught, which they reject.

And let me give you a personal example of this. My husband and I had a weekly college ministry out of our home to some 25-30 young adults (college age) for 7.5 years. Over those years we tried to connect that ministry with several church congregations (institutional churches/businesses). Some of those worked and some didn’t, but those that worked only worked for a time, and eventually they came to a close, and as far as I know, it was not due to any fault of our own.

At this one “church,” after about 6 months or more of ministry there, one of the deacons came and talked with us and told us that it would be better if we went someplace else because the church staff just didn’t like us. We had no previous indication of this by any of the staff. We had even cooperated with them by changing our logo to suit them because they said the message of the logo (which was Galatians 2:20), wasn’t what their church was about. So we have no real understanding of why they cast us out, but I assume it was because we didn’t fit with their marketing schemes and goals.

But I have been encouraged to leave other institutional market-driven “churches” (businesses), and not for doing anything wrong by God’s standards, but mainly because I was standing on the truth of God’s word and they were going the way of the world. And some of them thought I would just be a better fit someplace else. One pastor told me he was warned about people like me, i.e. people with “strong convictions,” which were the convictions of the Scriptures, not my own personal convictions.

But some of them are convinced that what they are doing is right, and that they are following God, while what they are following are humans and their marketing schemes and goals and their marketing training in how to build and to grow their “churches” (businesses). And my husband and I were church planters twice, so we went through that training, and so we have some knowledge of the things they are teaching them, which is a lot based off business models and marketing goals and not much off the Scriptures.

But sadly, those church leaders and pastors and church people who are listening to humans and to the world of big business and their marketing schemes over and above the truth of the Scriptures will be put to shame. God will judge them for what they did with his word and with the people under their care and with his servants and messengers, too, who are following after the truth of God’s Word, and who are Not following the teachings of men who are following business marketing schemes.

[Hated and Persecuted: Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:18-21; Jn 17:14; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 3:13; Judged by God: Mk 12:1-11; Lu 13:10-17; 1 Co 1:18-27; Php 3:2-19; 1 Pet 3:13-17; Jude 1:3-19; Rev 3:9]

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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