The LORD sends Zion away. The life of the Suffering Servant. His great resolve. He followers are to trust the LORD.
NOTE: This text includes one of the four “Songs of the Suffering Servant” in Isaiah:
- Isaiah 42:1-17. Servant Song #1
- Isaiah 49:1-7. The LORD’s Servant will will evangelize the Gentiles
- Isaiah 50:4-6. The life of the Suffering Servant
- Isaiah 53:1-12. The Servant of the LORD
VERSE 1. The LORD says, “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorce, with which I have put her away? Or to which of my creditors have I sold you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, and your mother was put away for your transgressions.
VERSE 2. Why, when I came, was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it can’t redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea. I make the rivers a wilderness. Their fish stink because there is no water, and die of thirst.
VERSE 3. I clothe the heavens with blackness. I make sackcloth their covering.”
VERSE 4. The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him who is weary. He awakens morning by morning, he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
NAB translation. The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, That I might know how to answer the weary a word that will waken them. Morning after morning he wakens my ear to hear as disciples do;
a word that will waken them. Isaiah knew how to comfort the weary. And he knew how to afflict the comforted.
Morning after morning. Isaiah likely spent time with God, right away, each morning.
he wakens my ear. The LORD God makes things happen. We just need to allow him to work in us.
Psalm 80:3. Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. (NLT translation)
NLT translation. The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened, I have not rebelled or turned away.
For a disciple in love with God, this is the dream: to listen and heed. To not rebel or turn away.
VERSE 6. I gave my back to those who beat me, and my cheeks to those who plucked off the hair. I didn’t hide my face from shame and spitting.
Matthew 26:67. Then they spat in his face and beat him with their fists, and some slapped him,
SUMMARY: Isaiah is writing about the Suffering Servant, and how the Suffering Servant will restore all things. We Christians believe the identity of the Suffering Servant is Jesus Christ. Even though this Suffering Servant will do all sorts of great things, he will be rejected. People will try their best to disgrace him. The Suffering Servant says:
VERSE 7. For the Lord GOD will help me. Therefore I have not been confounded. Therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I won’t be disappointed.
NIV 1984 translation. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I shall not be put to shame.
Here are three key insights from this verse:
INSIGHT #1. The Servant is confident that the Sovereign LORD helps him
Are you confident that the Sovereign LORD helps you?
Are you on God’s side? Are you walking in obedience to the revealed will of God for your life? Are you in harmony with the prompting of the Holy Spirit? If so, then you can be confident that God is helping you.
To be confident is very difficult for some people. Maybe you’re unemployed. Maybe you’re in danger of losing your apartment. Perhaps an important relationship has ended. These are just a few reasons why it’s difficult for some people to be confident that the Sovereign LORD helps them.
The challenge is to be confident that God is helping you, despite all apparent evidence to the contrary.
INSIGHT #2. The Servant knows he will not be disgraced
The Servant knows that ultimately, no matter how the events unfold in the short-term, he will not be disgraced. No matter how much people rage out and shame him, in the end, his life will not be shameful. It will not end in disgrace.
Can you believe that your life will not end in disgrace? That ultimately, no matter how things happen, you will not be shamed?
That’s very difficult for some people to believe. People who are in an abusive relationship, people who face chronic illnesses: these and many others find it quite difficult to believe that they will ever escape what feels like a shameful existence.
For them, God has placed a kindly light at the end of the tunnel. Ultimately, they will not be shamed or disgraced.
INSIGHT #3. The Servant set his face like a stone
Some translations put it this way: I set my face like a flint. The Servant had a steely resolve. He was determined to do his task. Think of Jesus walking with great determination into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Determination and resolve are key. Of course, we do believe that God helps us. But we need to put our belief into action. We need to walk in obedience. We need to do the thing that God has called us to do.
Some people need steely resolve in order to get on God’s side. They need to become determined to walk in the will of God for their life. They need to come into harmony with the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Other people need steely resolve in order to become confident. That can be tough when unemployed, or losing your housing, or suffering the loss of an important relationship, or other major setbacks.
Still other people need steely resolve in order to believe that no matter what, their life will not end in shame.
And any Christian needs steely resolve to do the day-to-day activities of the Christian life.
Ezekiel 3:9. I have made your forehead as a diamond, harder than flint. Don’t be afraid of them, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”
VERSE 8. He who justifies me is near. Who will bring charges against me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me.
VERSE 9. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me! Who is he who will condemn me? Behold, they will all grow old like a garment. The moths will eat them up.
VERSE 10. Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? He who walks in darkness and has no light, let him trust in the LORD’s name, and rely on his God.
walks in darkness and has no light. For us disciples, whether we are in light or in darkness, our “strategy” is the same: to trust in the LORD.
let him trust in the LORD’s name. We disciples are to trust the LORD God with all our heart. He offers us the path of true wisdom. Will you trust in him and act upon his leading? Read more »
VERSE 11. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who adorn yourselves with torches around yourselves, walk in the flame of your fire, and among the torches that you have kindled. You will have this from my hand: you will lie down in sorrow.
BBE translation. See, all you who make a fire, arming yourselves with burning branches: go in the flame of your fire, and among the branches you have put a light to. This will you have from my hand, you will make your bed in sorrow.
all you who make a fire. That is, all those who walk in their own light. Walking in one’s own light instead of in the light of God is a path to disaster.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.