“Look with attention.” If I said, “Look and see” — how your eyes would go to the wall to see what I saw. The Lord says that to attract attention. When I am giving out a text, some of you are looking at the people around you, at some hat, or the shape of some bonnet. Look! Behold! God wants your attention: it is something important.
Now the Psalmist says: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” I have learned this, that the first thing we want to get a man to do is to learn the lesson that he was shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin. The nearer a man gets to God, the more he finds that out. A man does not know himself; he thinks he is a great deal better than he is. But the moment he sees himself in God’s looking-glass he says, “I was shapen in iniquity.” “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Every one has to learn that lesson. Daniel in the 10th chapter of his prophecy says: “My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” God was coming near him. Look at Job. If you had Job here, you would think he was the noblest man in Philadelphia; he would stand very high in the community; yet Job had to learn the lesson. He said: “I fed the hungry and clothed the naked. I did this and that and the other.” At last the Lord said: “Now Job, you gird up your loins like a man, and I will put a few questions to you.” And the moment the Lord spoke to him, he cried out: “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth, and I will speak no more.” Another word cannot be got out of Job. “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” When man comes to see God, he is in the dust, where he belongs.
Look at that wonderful man Isaiah, how beautiful he wrote. Turn to the 6th chapter. He saw God high and lifted up on his throne, and he cried out: “Woe is me; for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then came an angel and took a coal of fire from the altar and put it upon his lips and purged away his iniquity, and he says, “Here am I, send me.” He was ready; but he had to learn the lesson that he was born in sin and shapen in iniquity. Thanks be to God, there is a better way than that. We don’t like to hear how vile and sinful we are, but at the same time it is important that we know it; because if we don’t we will not believe the good news of the gospel.
~ From “Behold” in The Gospel Awakening