What God Wants
God needs nothing from us, but there is something He wants from us. Do you have it?
Today’s reading: Isaiah 65-66; 2 Thessalonians 1
1Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? 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 66:1-2
9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10
In the closing chapters of his prophecy, Isaiah describes the coming new heavens and new earth. Every pain, every disappointment, every sorrow of this world will be eliminated and forgotten (65:17). Who will enjoy this new creation? Who will have God’s favor? Surprisingly for those who don’t know God well, it is not those who have pompously tried to impress God. God doesn’t need our works. He doesn’t need a “house.” He inhabits the universe. There is nothing we can build for Him that would adequately reflect His glory.
But there is something in humans that gets God’s attention: a humble and contrite spirit that shows itself in trembling at His word. God is glorified properly by all who bow before Him and who take His word seriously. They may also be used by Him to do great things, but the key element of their lives is a heart that bows in worship before Him.
Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, puts his call to holiness in the context of the return of Jesus Christ in judgment. Believers suffer at the hands of those who neither know God nor obey the gospel of Christ. Paul wants his readers to focus on living in a way that is worthy of the kingdom of God, worthy of His calling. He prays to God to work in them to this end, and he charges them to make every effort in this direction, too.
God looks for the contrite, humble heart, one that fears no one but God. Does He find that in you?