The Humble and Contrite in Spirit
66 Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.
“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.
These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and bring their fears upon them,
because when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes
and chose that in which I did not delight.”
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.
“The sound of an uproar from the city!
A sound from the temple!
The sound of the LORD,
rendering recompense to his enemies!
Rejoice with Jerusalem
“Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her
she delivered a son.
Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor
she brought forth her children.
Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
says the LORD;
“shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
says your God.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance.”
For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.
Final Judgment and Glory of the Lord
“For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the LORD shall be many.
“Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the LORD.
“For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD.
“For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make
shall remain before me, says the LORD,
so shall your offspring and your name remain.
From new moon to new moon,
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
declares the LORD.
“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
Isaiah 66 Commentary
by Hank Workman
As the book of Isaiah comes to a close it ends with drama, hope, and sobering warnings.
Throughout Isaiah’s writings, God has instructed him to return to some central themes. The positive is that of full out devotion to our God in humility and love for Him. It is a love that is tangibly shown through our obedience. You see, if we love God, we will put His words into action and live differently.
The second is for those who choose not to. These are the people, who claim to not care or give heed to God and His ways and those who give lip service but their lives reflect no evidence of. Both are lost. For the people of in Isaiah’s day, they certainly would go through the motions of what worship was to look like but their actions were empty. Arrogance filled them to the brim and overflowing and they only were giving an external change that had no such overhaul of their minds and hearts.
We serve a God of mercy. That said, to receive such grace we must be humble before Him and be obedient. Otherwise, His actions against the self-sufficient and proud bring a tragic outcome.
For those who remain faithful and in step with Him the reward is beautiful. Isaiah has pulled back the curtains throughout these 66 chapters of the reward of heaven and living eternally with God. Given more details to such a place and time, John in Revelation often mirrors much of the same imagery. For the faithless, there is a stark contrast of judgment.
Sometimes when we read things in black and white of eternal consequences we grow numb. Life is busy. We get distracted. We pursue our own ways and ask God to bless them after the fact. “There’s always tomorrow,” we say. However, that doesn’t change the reality. There will be a day when each one of us, every single one will stand before God. We will be brought into account for our life in Jesus.
Our love for Jesus must be stoked by the fires of the Holy Spirit within us. Only He can change the hardened heart, convict of sin and draw our knees to bend before the King of all kings now. These are things that must be lived out daily. Through our journey, the Spirit of God will help us face obstacles and defeat in this life with the hope of a glorious future. He will strengthen us to live as we should and be who we were each created to be.
Isaiah 66 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
As the book of Isaiah comes to a close, I am drawn to the writings of F.F. Bruce.
“As the book has stated again and again in a variety of places and ways, however, although the promises of God are universal in scope, they are not universal in depth. No one dare ever think that because hope is always God’s intended last word, one may sin with impunity.”
The closing words of this chapter remind us that those who continue in rebellion will not experience the hope of God. God displays His amazing love to us by showing that hope can indeed come from judgment. However, that hope is balanced with an understanding that there is a response from us. To somehow casually accept the cross and continue down our same path in life is simply not an option. In fact, one could really explore the question of how that is even possible.
God rationally communicates His plan for our lives and how He has made a way for us to get there. We must respond, not out of compulsion or compliance, but because our hearts are overwhelmed with grace. Those who are spiritually blind and continue in their rebellion against God do not see their need to change or understand how severely God feels about sin.
We cannot ignore the thoughts of God. They are brutally honest. The wicked will not triumph over God. Instead, they will be utterly humiliated.
“As they leave, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. The worms that eat them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never be put out. The sight of them will be disgusting to all people.”Isaiah 66:24 GNB
If this seems intensely grotesque to you, then consider the cost that was paid by Jesus to prevent such a fate from happening. God has made a way for us but we must respond! It’s not a one-time act, but a continual journey. Take that journey forward today, one step at a time.