Humility and reverence bring blessing.

Isaiah 66:2b “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.”

As Isaiah wraps up his writings, Isaiah notes that God addresses his people and their wicked ways. He says that unless a person has a humble and contrite heart, one’s sacrifices would not be accepted. That was a harsh word for the Jews because their lives revolved around the temple rather than the God who lived in the temple. They were caught up in the ritual rather than the One who gave them the ritual. God said that their sacrifices might as well have been made with unholy, defiled sacrifices such as pigs and dogs. They were an abomination to him because the people had chosen to follow their own way rather than his.

Although we don’t offer up animal sacrifices anymore because Jesus was the ultimate, final sacrifice to atone for man’s sins, we still offer up “sacrifices of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Heb. 13:15), still offer “give your bodies to God…a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable” (Rom. 12:1), and “the sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God” (Ps. 51:17).

God looks for people who humble themselves under his mighty hand and who have a broken, repentant (contrite) spirit before him. These acts show our willingness to abide by his direction, instruction, and guidance. These acts show our willingness to place God on the throne of our hearts and accept his authority as King of kings and Lord of lords, as the ultimate authority in the universe. These acts show our willingness to rely upon his provision rather than trying to do everything in our power and ability.

The interesting note is that God says people who have the humble, repentant spirit before him “tremble at [his] word.” Do we even fear the Lord anymore, not in the sense of strike-me-down-dead fear but a reverent, holy fear of the Lord? The very idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God should make us quiver inside and put a fear in us, knowing that he is the one who gives life and can take life (see Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5).

People have become so lax and take for granted our God that they behave similarly to the ancient Jews of Isaiah’s day. They choose their own ways rather than listen to the Word of God and do what he says to do. There is no more genuine fear of the Lord Almighty! People let us learn to be silent at times, humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and revere him again by doing what he says. The days grow short leaving not much time before he sends his Son to gather his people home. We have much work to do for the kingdom. Let us be busy about the Father’s business doing what he tells us to do not just busywork for the sake of doing something.

Are you sacrifices acceptable to God? Are you placing your life on the altar of heaven as a living sacrifice, dying to self that you may pick up your cross and follow Jesus? If you humble yourself and keep a repentant heart before God, he says that you will be blessed. Do you want to be blessed and receive a heavenly reward, or do you want to continue doing things your way and miss out on what God has to offer? You decide.

Father, today I humble myself before you again. I have a repentant heart and ask that I never stop having a repentant heart before you. I know that I make mistakes, but I choose to come after you by denying myself what I want in life and accepting your yoke by picking up my cross, my instrument of death to self, and then follow you and the example you set before us. I believe and do as you said – to fear the One who has the power to kill the body and throw it into hell. Men don’t cause me to fear. May my heart always reflect humility and deep respect for the Lord my God who made me and redeemed me. May your people come to know a healthy, reverent fear of God again because, as Solomon said, it is the beginning of wisdom. I accept your blessing for having done what you asked of me. This I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.