What does God think about you? As I read Isaiah 66 the other day, that question stared me in the face. The ancient words of the prophet stung fiercely.
"This is what the Lord says:
Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being," declares the Lord.
"This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
The next verses describe the failure of worshippers' sacrifices to please God and contain his assurance that he "will bring upon them what they dread." Why?
"For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me (Isaiah 66:1-2,4, NIV)."
No one answered. No one listened. These people, however were praising God. They sacrificed to him. They worshipped. They somehow missed what he wanted: a humble and contrite spirit couple with fear of his word.
As we strive for culturally relevant worship assemblies and organize aggressive parachurch ministries, as we make bold lifestyle decisions, let's remember to take time to ask, "What does God want? Am I still listening to him?"
The Bible contains numerous instances of people who thought they were doing God's will, but were not. Ananias and Sapphira, Saul of Tarsus, the Sanhedrin, and Diotrephes are only a few who missed the mark. Of course, Saul eventually "saw the light." They all (with the possible exception of Ananias and Sapphira) thought that they excelled in doing God's will. What a warning their example is to us.
As I contemplate my life in the mirror of the word of God, I see my failures in bold print. Yet, I also read words of assurance. If I will listen, really listen, and obey, God will give peace and comfort me as a mother comforts her child (Isaiah 66:12,13).