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Previous Editorials:    "To This Man Will I Look"

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  "To This Man Will I Look"  

"Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."   Isaiah 66:1-2

"The Jews gloried much in their temple. But what satisfaction can the Eternal Mind take in a house made with men's hands? God has a heaven and an earth of his own making, and temples of man's making; but he overlooks them, that he may look with favour to him who is poor in spirit and serious, self-abasing and self-denying; whose heart truly sorrows for sin: such a heart is a living temple for God." — Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

" unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord?"
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:"

(Romans 11:33-34 and 1 Timothy 3:16)

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Isaiah 66:1-4,   and   John Gill's Exposition on Isaiah 66:2

David asked the question every sincere Christian ponders. "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:4) Of all the unimaginable glory of God's created universe, why would God take such special interest in man? Yet it is man, a broken and contrite man that stirs the heart of God most.

God controls the movement of galaxies, universes, and everything therein. God controls time itself. He is Omnipotent. But unto man, has God given the control of his own will. Understandably so then, is God moved by a man who chooses by his own will to seek after and to know his Creator.

There is no yielding of a building, of its timbers or furnishings. There is no praise therein, no love or devotion. No matter how glorious the adornment, how rich the cost, how priceless its appeal, there is no will to surrender unto the great Creator. It is man who places such value in a building, to adorn it in hopes of drawing other men. But it does not attract the Almighty. God's ways are much higher than ours.

We have made church (the building) something it was never meant to be, an attraction to men's vanity. But the true Church (the saints) has but one meaning, one purpose, to be the exact replica of Christ on this earth, to be the instrument of God's glory, power and praise. When the Church fulfills her calling, the glory will fall upon her again.

Herein is the true Church, the true Temple of God; "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (I Corinthians 3:16-17)   Scripture says that, "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:14)   This is the goal of the Church, of every Christian, to be so conformed to Christ, to the Word, that we might walk among men as a light of hope.

God said, "to this man will I look". The Hebrew word look - nabat means to scan, to look intently. God is not just looking at, but searching for men who will humble themselves before the Almighty. "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap..." (Ezekiel 22:30)

Beloved, think of it. God has proclaimed that, "heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool" yet desires to live within a man who has yielded himself and will walk with the Almighty. "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23)

But God is not only looking for the man with a humble and contrite spirit, but for the man that "trembleth at my word."  A man who trembles at the Word of God is a true believer. He believes that whatever God has said, God will do. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)  This man is not double minded, he is not easily moved, and according to God's word, nothing shall be impossible to him.

"Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."   Isaiah 66:1-2

This man is the true Temple of God, the true Church, this is the man that God looks unto!
Is God looking at you?

— Randy Munter    Editor and Webmaster

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Isaiah 66:1-4

I.   The temple is slighted in comparison with a gracious soul, Isa_66:1, Isa_66:2. The Jews in the prophet's time, and afterwards in Christ's time, gloried much in the temple and promised themselves great things from it; to humble them therefore, and to shake their vain confidence, both the prophets and Christ foretold the ruin of the temple, that God would leave it and then it would soon be desolate. After it was destroyed by the Chaldeans it soon recovered itself and the ceremonial services were revived with it; but by the Romans it was made a perpetual desolation, and the ceremonial law was abolished with it. That the world might be prepared for this, they were often told, as here, of what little account the temple was with God.

      1.   That he did not need it. Heaven is the throne of his glory and government; there he sits, infinitely exalted in the highest dignity and dominion, above all blessing and praise. The earth is his footstool, on which he stands, over-ruling all the affairs of it according to his will. If God has so bright a throne, so large a footstool, where then is the house they can build unto God, that can be the residence of his glory, or where is the place of his rest? What satisfaction can the Eternal Mind take in a house made with men's hands? What occasion has he, as we have, for a house to repose himself in, who faints not neither is weary, who neither slumbers nor sleeps? Or, if he had occasion, he would not tell us (Psa_50:12), for all these things hath his hand made, heaven and all its courts, earth and all its borders, and all the hosts of both. All these things have been, have had their beginning, by the power of God, who was happy from eternity before they were, and therefore could not be benefited by them. All these things are (so some read it); they still continue, upheld by the same power that made them; so that our goodness extends not to him. If he required a house for himself to dwell in, he would have made one himself when he made the world; and, if he had made one, it would have continued to this day, as other creatures do, according to his ordinance; so that he had no need of a temple made with hands.

      2.   That he would not heed it as he would a humble, penitent, gracious heart. He has a heaven and earth of his own making, and a temple of man's making; but he overlooks them all, that he may look with favour to him that is poor in spirit, humble and serious, self-abasing and self-denying, whose heart is truly contrite for sin, penitent for it, and in pain to get it pardoned, and who trembles at God's word, not as Felix did, with a transient qualm that was over when the sermon was done, but with an habitual awe of God's majesty and purity and an habitual dread of his justice and wrath. Such a heart is a living temple for God; he dwells there, and it is the place of his rest; it is like heaven and earth, his throne and his footstool.

II.   Sacrifices are slighted when they come from ungracious hands. The sacrifice of the wicked is not only unacceptable, but it is an abomination to the Lord (Pro_15:8); this is largely shown here, v. 3, 4. Observe,

      1.   How detestable their sacrifices were to God. The carnal Jews, after their return out of captivity, though they relapsed not to idolatry, grew very careless and loose in the service of God; they brought the torn, and the lame, and the sick for sacrifice (Mal_1:8, Mal_1:13), and this made their services abominable to God; they had no regard to their sacrifices, and therefore how could they think God would have any regard to them? The unbelieving Jews, after the gospel was preached and in it notice given of the offering up of the great sacrifice, which put an end to all the ceremonial services, continued to offer sacrifices, as if the law of Moses had been still in force and could make the comers thereunto perfect: this was an abomination. He that kills an ox for his own table is welcome to do it; but he that now kills it, that thus kills it, for God's altar, is as if he slew a man; it is as great an offence to God as murder itself; he that does it does in effect set aside Christ's sacrifice, treads under foot the blood of the covenant, and makes himself accessory to the guilt of the body and blood of the Lord, setting up what Christ died to abolish. He that sacrifices a lamb, if it be a corrupt thing, and not the male in his flock, the best he has, if he think to put God off with any thing, he affronts him, instead of pleasing him; it is as if he cut off a dog's neck, a creature in the eye of the law so vile that, whereas an ass might be redeemed, the price of a dog was never to be brought into the treasury, Deu_23:18. He that offers an oblation, a meat offering or drink-offering, is as if he thought to make atonement with swine's blood, a creature that must not be eaten nor touched, the broth of it was abominable (Isa_65:4), much more the blood of it. He that burns incense to God, and so puts contempt upon the incense of Christ's intercession, is as if he blessed an idol; it was as great an affront to God as if they had paid their devotions to a false god. Hypocrisy and profaneness are as provoking as idolatry.

      2.   What their wickedness was which made their sacrifices thus detestable. It was because they had chosen their own ways, the ways of their own wicked hearts, and not only their hands did but their souls delighted in their abominations. They were vicious and immoral in their conversations, chose the way of sin rather than the way of God's commandments, and took pleasure in that which was provoking to God; this made their sacrifices so offensive to God, Isa_1:11-15. Those that pretend to honour God by a profession of religion, and yet live wicked lives, put an affront upon him, as if he were the patron of sin. And that which was an aggravation of their wickedness was that they persisted in it, notwithstanding the frequent calls given them to repent and reform; they turned a deaf ear to all the warnings of divine justice and all the offers of divine grace: When I called, none did answer, as before, Isa_65:12. And the same follows here that did there: They did evil before my eyes. Being deaf to what he said, they cared not what he saw, but chose that in which they knew he delighted not. How could those expect to please him in their devotions who took no care to please him in their conversations, but, on the contrary, designed to provoke him?

      3.   The doom passed upon them for this. Theychose their own ways, therefore, says God, I also will choose their delusions. They have made their choice (as Mr. Gataker paraphrases it), and now I will make mine; they have taken what course they pleased with me, and I will take what course I please with them. I will choose their illusions, or mockeries (so some); as they have mocked God and dishonoured him by their wickedness, so God will give them up to their enemies, to be trampled upon and insulted by them. Or they shall be deceived by those vain confidences with which they have deceived themselves. God will make their sin their punishment; they shall be beaten with their own rod and hurried into ruin by their own delusions. God will bring their fears upon them, that is, will bring upon them that which shall be a great terror to them, or that which they themselves have been afraid of and thought to escape by sinful shifts. Unbelieving hearts, and unpurified unpacified consciences, need no more to make them miserable than to have their own fears brought upon them.

From: (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible)

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John Gill's Exposition on Isaiah 66:2

Isa 66:2 - For all those things hath mine hand made,.... The heavens and the earth, which are his throne and footstool; and therefore, since he is the Creator of all things, he must be immense, omnipresent, and cannot be included in any space or place:

and all those things have been, saith the Lord; or "are" (l); they are in being, and continue, and will, being supported by the hand that made them; and what then can be made by a creature? or what house be built for God? or what need of any?

but to this man will I look. The Septuagint and Arabic versions read, by way of interrogation, "and to whom shall I look?" and so the Syriac version, which adds, "in whom shall I dwell?" not in temples made with hands; not in the temple of Jerusalem; but in the true tabernacle which God pitched, and not man; in Christ the antitypical temple, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily, and in whom Jehovah the Father dwells personally; see Heb_8:2 as also in every true believer, who is the temple of the living God, later described, for these words may both respect Christ and his members; the characters well agree with him:

even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word; Christ was poor literally, and his estate and condition in this world was very low and mean, 2Co_8:9, or "afflicted" (m), as some render it, as he was by God, and by men, and by devils; or "humble" (n), meek and lowly, as the Septuagint and Targum; it was foretold of him that he should be lowly; and this character abundantly appeared in him, Zec_9:9 and he was of a "contrite" or broken spirit, not only was his body broken, but his spirit also; not through a sense of sin, and consciousness of it, but through his sorrows and sufferings:

he also trembled at the word of God; that is, had a suitable and becoming reverence of it; it was at the word of the Lord he assumed human nature; and according as his Father taught, and gave him commandment, so he spake; and, agreeably to it, laid down his life, and became obedient to death: and now the Lord looks, to him; he looks to him as his own Son, with a look of love, and even as in human nature, and is well pleased with all he did and suffered in it; he looked to him as the surety of his people, for the payment of their debts, and the security and salvation of their persons; and he now looks to his obedience and righteousness, with which he is well pleased, and imputes it to his people, and to his blood, sacrifice, and satisfaction, on account of which he forgives their sins, and to his person for the acceptance of theirs; and he looks to them in him, and has a gracious regard for them: they also may be described as "poor"; poor in spirit, spiritually poor, as they see and own themselves to be, and seek to Christ for the riches of grace and glory, which they behold in him, and expect from him; and are both "afflicted and humble", and become the one by being the other;

and of a contrite spirit, their hard hearts being broken by the Spirit and word of God, and melted by the love and grace of God; and so contrite, not in a mere legal, but evangelical manner:

and such tremble at the Word of God; not at the threatenings of wrath in it, or in a servile slavish manner; but have a holy reverence for it (o), and receive it, not as the word of man, but as the word of God: and to such the Lord looks; he looks on these poor ones, and feeds them; on these afflicted ones, and sympathizes with them; on these contrite ones, and delights in their sacrifices, and dwells with them, and among them; see Psa_51:17.

From: (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Ezekiel 43:10-12
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10   Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.
11   And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
12   This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

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Exodus 40:33-35

33   ...So Moses finished the work.
34   Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35   And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

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