The One to Whom the Lord Looks – Words of Grace Blog – May 24, 2024

The One to Whom the Lord Looks – Words of Grace Blog – May 24, 2024

How does one bring a preaching series on the book of Isaiah to a close? That is the question I have asked myself this week. After a few mental “run-ups” to this final sermon, I realized there is no need to try to make it something more than what the final chapter already is. Isaiah 66 is a grand vision of the greatness of God and his grace toward people.

Isaiah 66 opens with one of the more well-known passages in the book. The Lord declares his greatness by letting us know that he sits in the heavens and rests his feet on the earth, so no house made with human hands can ever contain him. The Lord is beyond bounds and has no constraints. As Isaiah 57:15 says, he “inhabits eternity.” Try to get your mind around that.

But then we hear another stunning statement about God that also boggles the mind. He looks to the one who is humble and contrite, and who trembles at his word. Of all the happenings and all the people on earth, the Lord sees the ones who everyone else overlooks. He takes notice of them, and he dwells with them to revive their spirit (Isaiah 57:15).

To whom does the Lord look?

The Lord looks to the one who is humble before him. Reading Isaiah humbles us. The majesty of God is on every page. The frailty and finiteness of man are on constant display. The spiritually sane person does as Isaiah himself did and falls before God undone. This kind of humility feels life-threatening, but God sees it and blesses it.

The Lord looks to the one who is contrite about sin against him. There is no escaping the guilt of sin so descriptively portrayed in Isaiah. The only question is: will we be broken over it or will we stiffen our necks and carry on in it? Contrition seems like an admission, and so it is the last thing we want to feel. But again, when God sees it, he responds favorably and with grace.

The Lord looks to the one who trembles at his word. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).” To tremble at God’s word is to receive it with an internal response that corresponds to its eternal and authoritative nature. In Isaiah, sinners are portrayed as yawning at God’s word and ignoring it. But those who wait upon the Lord tremble at his word and receive his renewing grace.

As we come to the last chapter of Isaiah, we see that the great God of the universe takes notice of the lowliest on earth who see him clearly and so live humbly, broken, and responsive to his word. These he calls his own and brings them into the newness to come.

Isaiah closes with this message. We will hear it on Sunday. I look forward to seeing you then.