This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word (Isaiah 66:2b NIV).
We all love to be esteemed by men. We also make every effort to obtain the respect and admiration of men. And knowingly or unknowingly these efforts get carried over to our relationship with God. We try to get God’s favorable attention on us by our efforts at good works and sacrifices. Yet God’s Word is clear in this respect. It says that God is neither impressed by our efforts to build great edifices in His honor nor is He moved by the sacrifices we make.
That does not mean that God is despising our good and sincere efforts. But He is showing us something greater than these. He is telling us the qualities in a man that He esteems. Now that is not a simple thing. If we crave to be esteemed by men; is it a small thing to be esteemed by God? Not at all. So it would be wise to heed what God has to say about the one He esteems.
First of all, God esteems the humble man. Maybe humility could be best described as being constantly aware of God’s greatness and our own smallness at the same time. It is also being aware of one’s qualities as well as one’s limitations at the same time.
Secondly, God esteems the one contrite in spirit. In this world we are encouraged not to feel unduly sorry for our wrongs. But in God’s eyes, the worth of a person is valued in terms of how much broken his heart is when he realizes how he has sinned against God and wounded his fellowmen.
Finally, God esteems the one who trembles at His word. We all are guilty of treating God’s Word lightly. We are happy to read and meditate on the promises and comfort ourselves with those blessed thoughts. But His Word is also as much about warnings and judgments and summons to obedience. Those should make us tremble because they are true. And if we ignore it or treat it lightly we will be doing so at our own peril.