‘This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word’ (Isaiah 66:2).
The one who trembles at God’s Word need tremble at nothing else! But who is it that trembles at God’s Word?
1. He who understands God’s Word. There may be those who hear God’s Word and are unaffected by it because they do not understand it. Through wilful ignorance, they miss the meaning in God’s Word and see no danger to themselves in God’s declarations.
2. He who believes God’s Word. People have no reaction at all to that which they do not believe. Scoffers do not tremble and will not do so until God’s judgement on them is both undeniable and irreversible. Then they will believe and tremble, but to no avail.
3. He who takes God’s Word to heart. There are some who believe God’s Word but do not perceive it as applying to them. ‘Ah yes’, they say, ‘God will judge sinners, but that does not apply to me’. When we realise that the Word of God applies to us, we begin to fear and tremble before the Lord.
4. He who acts on God’s Word. Some may feign an emotional response to God’s Word, but such a response is meaningless unless it results in obedience. Obedience to the Word of God is the same thing as faith in the Lord Jesus. He who trembles at God’s Word acts on the warning of God by laying hold of the promise of God in Christ. True fear before the Lord always issues in faith in the Lord Jesus.
5. He who trembles at God’s Word even in the face of opposition (v5): ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, “Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!”Yet they will be put to shame.’The one who trembles before God and his Word fears no man’s reaction but obeys God rather than man (Acts 4:19-20).