“To This Man Will I Look”                                             

Isaiah 66:2

            Though he refuses to dwell in material shrines, our great, infinite, immense, sovereign, almighty Lord God does dwell in the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners, born of his Spirit and saved by his grace! He says, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” The poverty here spoken of is not a material poverty, nor even spiritual poverty. Material poverty does not secure grace. And all men are spiritually poor. The Lord here declares that he will look to and dwell in those who are poor in spirit, of a broken and contrite heart, and tremble at his word (Ps. 51:17; Isa. 57:15).

            God has chosen for his holy temple the hearts of saved sinners (John 14:23; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). Only chosen, redeemed sinners, regenerated, born again, called, and saved by the grace and power of God the Holy Spirit are poor, contrite, and trembling before God. All those things that we think of as important, distinguishing, and attractive are utterly contemptible before God. “God is no respecter of persons!” It is nowhere written that God dwells with men of rank, wealth, intelligence, education, power, fame, or of a specific religious order or denomination. Rather we read, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Those points of character most specifically despised and ridiculed by the world are the very traits of character for which God looks and which grace alone can create in the hearts of men.

            Those who are poor in spirit are sinners who know themselves to be utterly without merit before God. Those who know they are guilty, doomed, damned, lost sinners, utterly incapable of doing good, totally dependent upon God’s sovereign mercy and Christ’s all-sufficient merit are the people with whom God almighty takes up residence (Matt. 5:3).

            Those who are in their spirits contrite before God are the objects of his saving mercy and grace in whom he resides. Contrition is not the cause of grace, but the result. The person who has seen Christ in his redemptive fullness, grace, and glory is broken and contrite before him  (Isa. 6:1-5; Dan. 9:4-10; Ps. 51:1-17).

            Those who are the objects of God’s saving operations of grace are poor and contrite people who tremble at his Word. Believers are people who truly reverence the Word of God. We tremble before it because we have an internal, unceasing awe of God’s majesty, holiness, grace, and glory. We do not tremble with slavish fear. We know that God’s mercy, love, and grace toward us in Christ is immutable. We know that the Almighty will not cast us off. Eternal love will never reject those it has chosen. But we tremble lest we should abuse that grace, mar its beauty, or dishonor our God. We tremble lest we should sin against our great and gracious God and Savior. We rejoice with trembling and tremble with joy (Ps. 2:11).

Don Fortner