Isaiah 66:1-6 states, “Thus says the Lord, Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being, declares the Lord. But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog’s neck; He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine’s blood; He who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so I will choose their punishments and will bring on them what they dread. Because I called, but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen. And they did evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight. Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word: Your brothers who hate you, who exclude you for My name’s sake, have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy.’ But they will be put to shame. A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple, The voice of the Lord who is rendering recompense to His enemies” (NASB).

These verses speak of Jews who have not repented of their sins and who are not following the Lord. However, these same people were pretending to be Godly people, which did not please the Lord. The Lord explains to the hypocritical Jews in Isaiah 66:1-3 that He does not need anything that they try to give to Him, including the temple and sacrifices. He already owns everything in heaven and earth. What He wants is their hearts. He wants them to sincerely follow Him, repent of their sins, and have genuine respect for His Word. Verse 3 explains that the Lord does not value any of the hypocrites’ attempts to please Him. The consequences for their evil deeds are described in verse 4.

Now in verse 5 the Lord has a message for the faithful Jews. Their hypocritical brethren, who hate them, have excluded them for His name’s sake. It appears that the faithful Jews are being excluded from temple worship or some other blessing. The reason for excluding them is for the Lord’s name sake, which displeases the Lord. The hypocritical Jews are pretending to be Godly people as they say nice words to their faithful brethren, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy.’ However, the Lord promises to bring shame on these hypocritical Jews. Verse 6 declares the judgment that the Lord will bring on His enemies.

Let us be like the faithful Jews who were repentant and trembled at God’s Word. Let us not take for granted the sacred writings that we hold in our hands. As we read in Hebrews 4:12, “ For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (NASB). Let us permit God’s Word to mold us and strengthen us to live our lives for our precious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (240.4) (DJ)