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"On This One Will I Look"
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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When I was 17, I had moved away from home and was living in a bedsit near Kew Gardens where I was working for a year. God had provided the opportunity. It was a pivotal year in my life. He was drawing me.
One Friday night I turned to the book of Isaiah and read... and read... and read. It was a singularly peculiar experience; a very special one. It was as if I was transfixed by it. Those chapters were riveting. They had me ‘spellbound’ for several hours. I didn’t put the book down till gone 1 am.
With hindsight I can now see why, for most of the content of that book has relevance to us today. Many prophecies for the Church are hidden in its pages. A number of the prophecies have been directly fulfilled in our lives, in Helena’s life and mine, and probably yours too.
At that young age, in my inexperience, I didn’t understand much of what I was reading. But God was making me familiar with some of it. In a way, it’s a mini Bible in its own right. There are segments on seeking God; on righteousness; on prayer; on punishment of sin; on human nature and its waywardness; and many prophecies of judgement because of that wrongdoing.
In the final chapter we see this text:
On this one will I look:, on him who is poor [lowly, needy, humble, afflicted] and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My Word (Is 66:2).
Are You ‘Poor’?
Don’t you think it strange that God uses that word first in describing ones He loves? Why poor? What does God have against the rich?
Well, James said “Do not the rich oppress you?” (Jas 2:6.) And “Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith?” (2:5.)
The example of the rich young man in Matthew 19:22 illustrates the weakness of the wealthy. Wealth must be used for the kingdom of God (or given to the poor), not for selfish glorification and selfish pleasure, Otherwise, the rich will be excluded from the kingdom of God.
That’s why God proclaims in Isaiah 66:2 that He will look on the poor favourably for His kingdom’s sake. Unique qualities are developed in difficulty, in lack, in hardship, in struggles, among the downtrodden or outcasts. Those conditions tend to foster humility, perseverance, and other valuable spiritual traits. Conversely, prideful self-elevation, conceit, arrogance and complacency ‘adorn’ the storehouse of the rich.
The self-satisfied are not going to seek God. They’re not interested; they’ve got all they want. But the poor and needy can generally be touched. God can reach many more of them than the affluent.
Many of the affluent will become effluent, the detritus of God’s kingdom.
Are You Contrite?
Contrite means broken emotionally / spiritually for your former behaviour. This is the mindset that can repent. You can’t repent when you are content with yourself.
The parable of the wayward son in Luke 15:11 to 32 illustrates contrition. The feeling of utter remorse for having walked away / rebelled against God by doing our own thing is the very thing that endears us to God. He accepts us and heals us. He gives us a new motivation, a desire to live as He says.
Do You Fear God?
The fear of God has been bred out of too many by so much modern preaching which uplifts wealth and ‘success’ as humanistic substitutes for the basic traits of godly fear or reverence and humble contrition.
By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy, and before all the people I must be glorified (Lev 10:3).
This requirement was reiterated after God had struck dead the two sons of Aaron for violating God’s instructions. Wouldn’t you fear God in those circumstances? Yes you would. But it’s more difficult in ‘ordinary’ circumstances where it needs to come through personal choice and an act of your will.
This trio of qualities highlighted in Isaiah 66:2 is the threesome which all sons of God possess. As 66:5 reminds us, the ‘other side’, the false ones cannot abide us or these traits. They are anathema to them. Thus, are the two kingdoms separated and distinct.
Malcolm B Heap, March 2018
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