Isaiah 50:4-7 The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.
But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
This passage presents the third of Isaiah’s four Servant Songs, in which God’s ideal for Israel is summed up in an individual. In this song,
- the Servant listens to God, while Israel does not (Isaiah 50:2);
- the Servant is confident, while Israel is not (Isaiah 49:14);
- the Servant suffers for being obedient, while Israel suffers for being sinful (Isaiah 50:1);
- the Servant is vindicated, while Israel is found guilty (Isaiah 50:1)
The obedient servant (50:4-6)
The Servant recognizes that the Lord has given him the “tongue of disciples” so that he speaks as a disciple, as a learner, as one who has been taught. Because of this learning, he has the knowledge necessary to speak effectively. Specifically, he knows how to “sustain the weary one with a word.” He knows what those who are weary need to hear so that their faith may be strengthened…
Are you weak in faith? Do you sometimes find yourself flagging? Do you sometimes wonder whether the life of faith is worth it? Jesus knows you. He knows your temperament, your tendencies and your circumstances. He knows the words you need to hear when you need to hear them. He knows how to sustain you, the weary one, with a word, opening your heart to the scriptures or to the words of a brother or sister. In obedience to the Father, but with you in mind, he did not turn back, but endured scourging, humiliation, crucifixion.