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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trembling Hearts (Isaiah 66:2b, 5a)

"This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. . . Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word"

Excitement, fear, cold temperatures, illness, etc. cause trembling. Trembling is an involuntary physiological reaction to both internal threats (insecurity, pride, fear, etc.) and external threats (near and actual automobile incidents, darkness, job and family tension, etc.). Visible trembling mimic or reveal internal conditions.

To remain unmoved or shaken (whether visible or not) when hearing the Word of God proclaimed indicates boredom, apathy, and death.

What conditions some listeners to "tremble at his word" while others blow it off like a piece of lint and remain undisturbed?

How can some sit under the Word year after year and yet remained indifferent while others easily weep and mourn over what they hear?

Or, to make it more personal: How often do I feel disconnected with or by what I read and hear?

An even better question begs an answer: how can I nurture a trembling heart toward the Lord and His Word?

Verse 2 provides the answer. It is a matter of one's disposition--the disposition of humility and contrition, where one is in-touch with the awareness of his/her inability, inadequacy, and neediness.
  • For some, like Moses, it takes a forty year wilderness experience to demote self with all of its baggage (self-righteousness, self-indulgence, self-sufficiency, etc.).
  • For others, like Mary, it takes an announcement by an angel regarding a virgin birth.
  • And for still others, like Peter, it takes walking a few steps on the water and faltering when his eyes drift from Christ onto the wind driven waves.
  • And for me, it takes an honest assessment of my failures, my insecurities and flaws, and quest (sounds better than lust) for affirmation and acceptance by others.
Humility and contrition are an acquired spiritual taste--they don't come naturally and the flesh resists them. Yet, these dispositions tremble the heart toward the Word and they attract the heart of God.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Isaiah 66:1-24
  • What contrast does the LORD make between those He esteems and those He does not esteem?
  • What specifically separates the two groups?
  • Read Moses' last words to the children of Israel before his death in Deuteronomy 4:4-9. What role does the Book of the Law have in Israel/Judah (and her kings) in the preceding years?
  • What event does the LORD describe at the conclusion of Isaiah?
2 Kings 21:1-17
  • Which period of Hezekiah's life was Manasseh born? What does this tell you about Hezekiah's request for a longer life?
  • What kind of man and king was Manasseh?
  • What does God do to get Manasseh's attention?
  • What does this tell you about God's operation in the lives of those who do evil? What is God's goal?
  • Why does Amon only reign for two years?
Turning truth into prayer
Oh, LORD, I humble myself before You, confessing my inadequacy and my dependence upon You. Help me to revere and tremble at Your Word.