Saturday after Epiphany

Isaiah 66:1-24

The One Who Trembles at His Word

We have reached the end of Isaiah, and in many ways we have come full circle.  You will remember in the very first chapter, the Lord says, “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?  Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.  New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations – I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates” (1:12-14).  So here in the last chapter, we hear the Lord say, “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.”  And then we have the reason for the Lord’s rejection of their offerings, and just as we saw in chapter one: “These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations.”

Worship is so important to God.  And He demands that we worship Him with integrity.  We often think that we can cover our sins with our Sunday worship; that, well, somehow, showing up on Sunday morning and singing hymns and sitting through a sermon, makes things we did during the week alright.  But hear what God says, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”  Did you hear that?  “Trembles at my word!”  Wow!  And I thought God was just looking for chums who have warm fuzzies when they worship Him.

It would appear that God thinks worship is serious business.  He refuses worship that is mixed with unrepentant hearts, people who think they can have their God and their sin, too.  (Well, they can, just not the true God.)  He refuses worship from those who think they can make up their own rules, or change the rules, laid down in Scripture.  At the heart of worship is sincerity – a desire to be changed in the presence of the living God.  And that begins with a humble and contrite – some might even say, broken – spirit, a spirit that trembles at His word.  And what does it mean to tremble?  It means that when we hear His word read and faithfully proclaimed, it is not for us to debate.  His word is, and is meant to be, to and for us, sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).  It is meant to cut, to chip away, to kill if need be, for the purpose of bringing life.  We cannot come into the kingdom and not expect to be refined.  As John the Baptist said at the beginning of Advent: “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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