Bible Reading: Isaiah 66:1-6

“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2b)

Two of the greatest lies of pride we believe are “I am right” and “I am able”. These statements imply if I am right; therefore, God is wrong. If my ways are better, thus God’s ways are worse. Similarly, if I am able, consequently, I do not need God. If my good deeds are sufficient, I do not require a saviour. 

At the core of these lies, little do we realise what we truly believe. Pride is placing ourselves in a place that is only rightful for God. When we say “I am right” or “I am able”, what we are saying is, “I don’t need God. I am good enough to save myself and earn salvation”. When we say such, we steal God’s glory, which He reveals through His glorious work of grace (Eph 1:6). 

v. 3 speaks of the Jew who obeys the laws and Torah. He diligently gives up his offerings of ox and lamb. He makes his grain offering and even gives a memorial offering of frankincense. With all that he had done and worked for the Lord, surely God was pleased with Him? 

Yet, v. 4 reveals that “they did what was evil in my [God’s] eyes and chose that in which I did not delight.” Such ritual sacrifices are likened to murder and the worship of idols. This is not a play issue. It deserves “harsh treatment” from God. Pride is sinful before God because pride is standing up and saying “no” to God’s face. It is a rejection of His good providence. It is an unwillingness to trust Him in all circumstances. Such is saying, “I am better than God”. Truly now, we understand just how abhorrent our pride is to God. 

Who then is the one that pleases God? 

It is “he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at [His] Word”. In the original language, the word for “humble” is translated elsewhere are “poor and needy”. God seeks those who know they are desperately in need. God desires those who realise they are broken and need the Saviour. Further, the word contrite means one who is smitten — one who is really crushed in spirit. In the English language, contrite also connotes deep remorse for sin. Not only are we desperately in need, but we are desperately in need because our ultimate problem is that we have sinned and rebelled against the Holy God. Is our hearts such?

Last, one who trembles at God’s Word is one who waits and knows that God’s Word is his only hope. It is one who seeks it as if it were the last drop of water within the Sahara desert. How much do we long for God’s Word? Is God’s Word our only source of hope? 

Humility and a contrite spirit are what pleases God. Psalm 51:16 says, “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise”. 

In God’s providence over our lives, have we acknowledged God’s ways above ours and humbled ourselves under Him? Have we given up our pursuit for self to sit beneath God’s Word and instruction? 

Pray and seek God’s Word. Don’t just read but tremble. Cling to God’s promise in Deuteronomy 4:29, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

“(10) Create in me a clean heart, O God,

    and renew a right spirit within me.

(11) Cast me not away from your presence,

    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

(12) Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

    and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:10-12)