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The Greatness of God | January 8th Sermon | Isaiah 66:1-2



Read Isaiah 66:1-2

 

 

What is happening in Isaiah 66?

 

Isaiah 66 ends the famous book of Isaiah with a strong look to the future generations of God’s people.  This chapter ends the inspiring trilogy penned by Isaiah, all of them dealing with events certain to take place in Israel in the days following the death of the great prophet, such as the destruction of their nation, their captivity, and many other events reaching all the way down to the birth of Messiah, the establishment of Christianity, the call of the Gentiles, the second destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and even to the final judgment day itself.

 

"These last two chapters relate to the calling of the Gentiles, the establishment of the Christian church, the reprobation of the apostate Jews, and their destruction executed by the Romans."

--Adam Clarke

 

Another writing sums it up this way. "This final chapter points to the final days of Judah and the coming glory of Zion in the new dispensation."

 

This chapter, this ending, of a massive prophetic book looks towards the coming glory of whom only God can bring.  God is sovereign and at work—there is a future of hope and salvation.  God is reminding His people of who He is above them, how great He is and how His people must approach Him in genuine worship, love and reverence.

 

 

1.      God establishes His greatness and sovereignty to start this chapter.

 

“Heaven is My throne; and earth is My footstool.  Where is the house that you will build Me?”

--Isaiah 66:1

 

The focus here is not whether God demands a place for worship or that He even dislikes the temple rather God is setting forth the priorities that His children, His followers must follow.  The temple is important, but it is ONLY important because God is the centre of worship in it.  God is also reminding His people that He doesn’t dwell in a “sacred” space.  There is no earthly space that can contain God because God cannot be contained by anything made on earth by humanity.  This is because God created all of this! Including us! A created thing is always under its master and controlled by its master. 

 

Much of God’s word reiterates or reminds us of God’s power and sovereignty.  Stephen the Martyr is a good example in Acts 7:49-60

 

‘"Heaven is My throne, And earth is the footstool of My feet; What kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord,‘Or what place is there for My repose?  ‘Was it not My hand which made all these things?’'"

--Acts 7:49-50

 

In Quoting Isaiah 66:1-2, Stephen, is reminding the jewish council (who’s about to kill him) of who is actually in charge.  He is reminding them that they only exist because of the grace and power of God almighty. 

 

Solomon, in writing Ecclesiastes, basis His entire book on the futility of humanity verses the eternity of God.

 

11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

--Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

Nothing can contain and/ or destroy God.  Nothing. 

 

Why is God saying this? Because He is reminding His people of how important He is to them in their lives.  He is demanding a form of worship in this chapter, an instruction of how to be in relationship with Him.  That relationship starts when we realize that He is the master of everything in our lives—this is hwo we need ot approach God.  Not to demand something from Him rather to come at His feet, sit on His footstool and worship His almighty power in our lives.  This humble form of worship will drive is to gratitude and self-lessness rather than entitlement and selfishness.

 

 

2.     God wants genuine hearts in worship of Him, fully in love with Him, and in fear of Him.  God must be both revered and loved.

 

“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.”

--Isaiah 66:2

 

To understand how Isaiah ends we must remember of how it began:

 

“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord.“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.“When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you this trampling of My courts? “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.

--Isaiah 1:11-12

 

God establishes the need for His judgement upon His people in Isaiah 1; they have foolhardy worship.  Their worship of Him is hypocritical and empty because their hearts are defiled.  The entire book of Isaiah is about God judging His people, correcting them, and small remnant that will be saved because of their repentance to Him.  God doesn’t want us to be perfect; that is impossible, rather God wants a relationship with His people.  God sees our hearts and He wants us to strive in having a clean heart.  God wants worship that is full of our genuine hearts, that isn’t empty, that isn’t hypocritical.  He wants honest worship full of love and reverence for Him.

 

“In our studies of the prophets, we have frequently encountered the writings of scholars who try to make it out that God cared nothing for the observance of forms, sacrifices and ceremonies, but only for "social justice." This is a false view. What God condemned was insincere and hypocritical worship. God indeed is concerned for "social justice"; but, in the final analysis, all moral and social justice derives from the holy commandments of God, properly honored, respected, and obeyed.

--Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible.

 

Let us look at the word Contrite for this is how commands His children to approach Him and and His word:

 

נֵכֶה –nake

 

Means: Smitten, Stricken, Lame or disabled (crippled)

 

Contrite is literally “‘lamed’ or disabled, here used with spiritual significance: one who is aware of the damage wrought by sin, of personal inability to stand upright before God.”

--J. Alec Motyer

 

God wants His people to approach His word with fear and trembling.  He doesn’t want us to be scared and run away rather He wants us to show respect and reverence for His word and who He is.  This is why we must strive to teach the gospel correctly, to teach God’s characteristics correctly.  God doesn’t simply want us to do amazing things and perform amazing charity rather God wants us to chase after His heart, to know Him and to build a strong relationship with Him.  God wants our hearts.  When God has our hearts, then we will want to help others, do social justice and do charity as worship to Him (not ourselves).

 

 

This chapter, this ending, of a massive prophetic book looks towards the coming glory of whom only God can bring.  God is sovereign and at work—there is a future of hope and salvation.  God is reminding His people of who He is above them, how great He is and how His people must approach Him in genuine worship, love and reverence.

 

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