All of us are familiar with want ads. A prospective employer puts out a description of what the company is looking for in an employee. Maybe you’ve had the experience of circling ads while looking for a job. You circle ads which match your qualifications. What if God wrote a want ad. What would God be looking for in human beings? A number of Bible passages might come to mind (Psalm 15, Micah 6:8, Matthew 5:3-10, etc.), but I would certainly nominate Isaiah 66:2.
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. Isaiah 66:2, ESV
Humble. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines humble as “having or showing a consciousness of one’s defects or shortcomings; not proud.” Proverbs gives a number of warnings against destructive pride and encouragements for humility. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2, ESV). Phillips Brooks wrote, “The way to be humble is not to stoop until you are smaller than yourself but to stand at your real height against some higher nature that will show you how small your greatness is.” That higher nature is God. We must have humility before Him. Without humility, we won’t recognize our spiritual needs.
Contrite. Contrition, being contrite, has to do with remorse for having done something wrong. The etymology of the English word goes back to a Latin word meaning “grief.” The Hebrew word in Isaiah 66:2 means “broken.” It is the person with a broken spirit who recognizes sin in his or her life. Contrition leads to repentance.
Trembles at My Word. “My word” of this passage is God’s word. The trembling of this passage may reflect when God thundered from Mt. Sinai in the giving of the Ten Commandments. The people were afraid and trembled (Exodus 20:18). Yet Moses replied, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin” (Exodus 20:20, ESV). Reverence for God and His word will lead to the desire to know and do His will. Only 1 in 3 Americans believes that “holding the Bible to be God’s truth is absolutely necessary for someone to truly know God,” and 4 in 10 Americans say they would turn first to the Bible to test their own religious beliefs! The most important question any of us can ask ourselves it this. If I read in the Bible something that disagrees with what I currently practice or believe, am I willing to change to be in conformity with the Bible? That willingness to do God’s will is what it means to tremble at God’s word.
God’s want ad is not looking for perfect people, but for people who are aware of their need, willing to listen, and willing to trust and obey.