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TODAY’S WORLD: You can’t be serious!

But we MUST be when it’s the Bible!


SKYWORD 051The final chapter of Isaiah begins with a majestic statement that becomes a question. The Lord Almighty proclaims His greatness: “The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool,” He declares (v.1). How high the heavens are above us! We cannot reach such realms of glory by ourselves. As mere mortals, we are earth-dwellers. Although travel by air is second nature to many of us, we are very much restricted to this globe on which we live and to its immediate atmosphere. Poetically, God is pictured as using this earth as a place where He can rest His feet. How far beneath Him we are! “Where is the house that ye build unto Me?” He asks. How can we possibly build a house for Him, or expect Him to restrict Himself to a place of our choosing? The notion is absurd. God is far above our level.


Yet the next verse offers us hope and reveals the incredible grace of our God. Although so far above us and impossible to contain within our own confines, God is not unmindful of us and takes note of a certain kind of person. Isaiah informs us that the Lord is especially interested in those who are poor and whose spirits are contrite. He looks to bless the one who trembles at His Word. The Lord Jesus pronounced a particular blessing upon “the poor in spirit” (Mt.5:3) and declared that the kingdom of heaven was theirs. God looks for those who recognize their own spiritual poverty and whose spirits are contrite — in other words those who are truly sorry for their sin.




But one other feature is highlighted in this verse, and it concerns the one who trembles at His Word. We ought to be moved and humbled by it.


In today’s fashionable church there is very little trembling over God’s Word. In fact the Word of God — if it is even read — is often hardly recognized as such because the sacred text has been reduced to contemporary language “to make it sound better”. Rather than reading from a reliable translation of the ancient texts where accuracy was paramount and word order was preserved, a vague kind of paraphrase is used where thoughts are interpreted by the “translator” and where words are expressed in phrases.


A “translation” of this kind usually isn’t that. Once it has been read, it cannot be studied because listeners have the gist of what it means anyway and the text is too simple to say anything more about. In order to produce a text that is gripping, producers of various modern translations have, in effect, acted as though they know more than God. Their own freedom in determining sentence structure has caused particular words in the original text to be replaced by thoughts. Wanting to produce something flowing and “living” for their readership, they have ended up forgetting that the intention should have been to accurately translate God’s own living Word (1 Pet.1:23)!


For many today God’s Word is not adequate on its own. Church, we are told, has become too sombre. Indeed, there are currently courses and workshops that folk can attend in order to learn how to introduce comedy into services! Something has gone seriously wrong somewhere. We need to get back to the Word of God. It has not been given for our entertainment but for our edification. We must reject all trivia and superficiality and humbly place ourselves beneath God’s infallible truth. Without this, His blessing will evade us.


How tragic it is to come across those who have been lured away and have turned from the path of obedience to the Word! In a world where distortions of true Christianity abound and where unbelievers can be bitterly opposed to those who commit themselves to Christ, we need to reverence God’s Word and tremble at its content.



… him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word.   (Isaiah 66:2)