Isaiah 50:4-9 is the third Servant of the Lord song. It focuses on the eagerness of the Servant to obey the instructions and commands of Yahweh - The Servant of the Lord is the Lord’s “Disciple.” He is taught by the Lord, and sets this pattern and standard for future disciples (54:13). God has enabled Him to carry His message of faith to Israel. He shows what it means to be a disciple of the Lord. He accepts that a disciple has a responsibility to teach others: He knows “how to sustain the weary one with a word” (50:4a). The Hebrew word includes being accustomed to being taught, so each day begins by learning from the Lord (50:4b-5).
Yahweh speaks and His Disciple obeys, a practice followed by the prophets. The irony of the Servant’s discipleship is that He suffers at the hands of people He is trying to disciple! He faces this ordeal with steadfast courage; His calling and commitment were significantly more important to Him than how people responded (50:6).
God is equally committed to His Servant. He will perform what He promises, so the Servant shows resolute courage with “a face like flint” (50:7). God is “near” (50:8a), so let the adversary (if he dare) come near to accuse Him (50:8b). The second way Yahweh supports the Servant is by giving Him victory. It is not the return to faith of Israel that is the sign of victory, for many will not return. For this disciple, victory comes from having faith in God (1 John 5:4). They who condemn the Servant “will wear out like a garment,” but not the Servant (50:9).
The song concludes by finding the Servant performing His discipleship duties. He has committed His way to the Lord and conveys that message to Israel. His message is simple: Those in Israel who genuinely seek answers to their plight have only one recourse: trust in God. If they truly fear Him, they will obey His Servant. They can “lean on” Him. He invites all who desire to come out of darkness and into the light He provides (50:10).
The only recourse for people who seek genuine, God-inspired solutions to their unfavorable circumstances is to place their trust in the Lord. However, those who choose to live by the light of their own fire will lie down in the fire God has prepared for them (50:11).
Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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