“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
Trembling is usually a sign that something is wrong; maybe a neurological disorder, an alcohol problem or perhaps fear or shock; or just feeling very cold! But something’s wrong. And yet there is a form of trembling that is not only right but even warrants God’s esteem – see Isaiah 66:2 quoted above.
Alec Motyer (‘The Prophecy of Isaiah’, p534) points out that “trembles” denotes a sensitive longing to obey, and that “This is the one I esteem” means “to this one will I/do I look…”. So we might say that God loves to look upon those who are eager to obey his word. He quotes a 19th century theologian: “One object in creation, amid suns and stars, secures the gaze of the great Creator”. Our eagerness to hear and obey the Word of God is not just an evangelical duty, and more than a delight: it “secures the gaze of the great Creator”!
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made” (Ps 33:6) and the Lord sustains “all things by his powerful word” (Heb 1:3); by that same word he deigns to speak to us, his creatures: words of authority, of judgment, of mercy, of grace, of wisdom, of comfort, of guidance, of truth, of holiness, of eternity.
It is so easy to read the Bible lightly or even lay it aside until a more convenient time. But here none other than the Creator and Sustainer of all speaks to us, words that are “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (II Tim 3:16). His word is truth, it gives life, it utters judgment and grace, it has power. Barry Webb (‘The Message of Isaiah’, p247) points out that where the recognition of the greatness of God and a heartfelt contrition before God (vv1,2) “is lacking, worship…becomes no better than pagan superstition, angering God and calling forth his righteous judgment”. (3,4).
May we be among those whom God sees as humble, contrite and trembling to obey his word.
Your brother in Christ