“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)
To tremble like devils and because of devils is not a good thing. But there is such a thing as a “good trembling.” Good trembling takes hold of those who come face to face with the need to stop moving in their own mind and start moving in strict accordance with God’s Word. “… But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
Saul of Tarsus had this good trembling come over him when he suddenly realized what a dunce he had been. “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6) His mind had been hardened in pride and he had confidently done and said so many things that were wrong. But all the bravado was now gone. The lion had been turned into a lamb who meekly asked: “Lord, what should I do?”
Ephraim, the idolatrous northern kingdom of Israel, had set up Baal worship which was the catalyst for affliction and destruction coming upon them. But the Lord said, when he spoke with trembling, when he returned carrying words of repentance, he “exalted himself.” (Hosea 3:1)
God resists the proud and haughty; those who think they know it all, and are not open to course correction. But His eyes look to those who are poor and contrite in spirit and who tremble at His Word. The Pharisees searched the scripture not to find the Word, but to have their own interpretations validated. They were those who were blind, yet thought they saw. We get saved when we acknowledge how blind, deaf and dumb we have been. But, this attitude of trembling does not end when we first come to the Lord; it is to be the continuous position of our heart.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)
If God would exalt us, we must humble ourselves before Him. We must ever be saying, “Lord, teach me Your way. Show me Your path. Open my eyes to behold wondrous things out of Your Law.” We must be willing to discard ideas of our own or others that we picked up along the way. We must be ready to receive things we had not seen before. We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.