Read Isaiah 50
Israel’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience
50 This is what the Lord says:
“Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce
with which I sent her away?
Or to which of my creditors
did I sell you?
Because of your sins you were sold;
because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.
2 When I came, why was there no one?
When I called, why was there no one to answer?
Was my arm too short to deliver you?
Do I lack the strength to rescue you?
By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea,
I turn rivers into a desert;
their fish rot for lack of water
and die of thirst.
3 I clothe the heavens with darkness
and make sackcloth its covering.”
4 The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.
6 I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
Let him confront me!
9 It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
the moths will eat them up.
10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.
This chapter begins with a reflection on those who have forsaken God, followed by an example of the One who will never forsake us. As Israel chose to live in sin, they ran away from God, the very One with the power to sustain and save them.
However, the middle of the chapter gives us a picture of what it truly looks like to be a follower of God. In each instance, this person (who foreshadows Jesus) entrusted himself to his Creator. He is willing to be beaten, mocked, and condemned because he knows that the Lord will sustain Him. He “set his face like flint,” meaning he was completely resolved on being faithful to the Lord. He’d rather follow God than succumb to the fear of man.
These verses illustrate the difference between a life that is marked by self-confidence and one that is rooted in confidence in God. Particularly in the last section of the chapter we see two distinct responses to darkness. There is one who even in the darkness chooses to rely on the Lord for strength. But there is another for whom when darkness befalls them, they do all they can to get out on their own. So they light their own fire, or go their own way, which leads to destruction.
The key lesson for us is that we must decide in advance that our situation will not decide our faithfulness. We must choose to be faithful when we are beaten and faithful when we are celebrated. Because as followers of Jesus we want to live how he lived. From the gospels, it’s clear that Jesus was completely resolved on following His Father no matter where it led. He knew His Father would provide in the midst of His pain. Ultimately, He knew that the Father would provide ultimate vindication. Even when our life isn’t going how we’d want it to, our Father is with us and for us. Faithfulness to Him is the goal for we know He has our best interests in mind. Whether we experience our vindication on earth or in eternity we know it is coming. So harden your resolve, set your face like flint, and stay faithful to the Father!
- What most stood out to you about this passage?
- How do you remind yourself that the Lord is near when your life’s situation doesn’t make it feel like He is?
- Where have you been rebellious recently? What would it look like to replace that rebellion with righteousness?
Did You Know?
According to an article from GotQuestions.org, flint is a very hard, dark rock that is used figuratively in the Bible to express hardness, as in the firmness of horses’ hoofs (Isaiah 5:28), the toughness of an impossible task (Deuteronomy 8:15; Psalm 114:80), and the inflexibility of unwavering determination (Ezekiel 3:8–9). Our resolve to be faithful to God should feel like flint. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we must be firmly faithful no matter the situation!
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