Summary: The 3rd Servant Sermon teaches that obedient & faithful life is centered on obeying God’s Word. Through all the darkness & suffering the Servant holds to God’s trustworthiness. Then this Servant invites God’s disciples to trust God & walk in His Word.
ISAIAH 50: 4-11
THE SUFFERING SERVANT’S TRUST
Following God’s declaration that He will deliver His people from their transgressions and rebellions begins the third (42:1-9 & 49:1-7) Servant Sermon in Isaiah. This obedient and faithful Servant’s life is centered on obeying God’s Word. The Servant’s obedience to God leads to physical and emotional suffering. Yet through it all the Servant holds to God’s trustworthiness. Then this Servant invites God’s disciples to trust God and walk in His Word even in the darkness.
God’ disciples are to receive instruction daily. Even in periods of darkness, the disciple is to submit to the suffering (hardships such as lashings and insults) encountered because of his faithfulness to God (unlike the rebellious ones spoken of in 30:8-14). This faithful disciple receives God’s strengthening in and through his suffering (for YAHWEH is there to help).
I. IN-DEPTH DISCIPLESHIP, 4-6.
II. ENCOURAGEMENT TO CONTINUE, 7-9.
III. HOPE OR WARNING, 10-11.
Verse 4 gives a especial function and the sustenance of the Servant. The LORD God has given Me the tongue of disciples (or the learned), that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
The Servant was to declare God’s Word to the world but first the Servant had to have a sustaining word from the LORD. He had such a word because each morning He listened to God’s Word for a fresh word. It is God’s holy Word that sustains the weary. God trains us to minister His Word through thoughtful daily meditation on His Word. A disciple is one intimately acquainted with the master and has learned what the master knows. The disciple learns from the master through the crucible of life.
These words are written prophetically about the Lord Jesus. “The tongue of a disciple"can be rendered, one who has disciplined himself to learn. The secret of spiritual advancement is a willingness to be taught by God. We must open our heart and mind and spirit to Him. We must have a way and open the way for divine impressions to reach us. When we fancy that we know all we need to know, we become so set in our ideas that God finds it almost impossible to get anything different than we think across to us.
Unteachableness is a barrier to progress If a person will not learn what possibility has he of advancing? May God deliver us from our reluctance to accept instruction! To receive through whatever means, humbly and without hesitation, whatever He desires to teach us is how we prosper in the school of Christ.
[Far too many people just talk even when they have nothing of value to say. That is not wise and certainly not intelligent. Albert Einstein was the featured speaker at a dinner given at Swarthmore College. When it came time for him to speak, he astonished everyone by standing up and announcing, "I have nothing to say." Then he sat down.
A few moments later he stood up and added, "In case I have something to say, I will come back and say it." Six months later he sent a message to the president of the college: "Now I have something to say." Another dinner was held and he gave his speech.
Perhaps you have had opportunities "to speak a word in season" to those who are weary, but you didn’t feel as if you had anything to say. If so, follow the example of the Servant of the Lord, the promised Messiah, whom we read about in Isaiah 50:4-10. Because He listened to God’s Word and obeyed what He heard, He had a message to give to others.
Open God’s Word with an eagerness to learn and do what He tells you to do. Think of the Lord, as present and speaking to you, disclosing His mind and emotions and will. Meditate on His words till you know what He is saying.
Then, as the Servant discovered, in time God will give you "the tongue of the learned". If you listen to the Lord, you’ll have something worth saying. Open your ears to God before you open your mouth to others.]
This Servant of the Lord who was willing to pay the cost of discipleship. Discipleship is costly because of what it requires from us. A disciple is to be open and teachable. Being open to the truth is a quality of all godly men. How can we learn if we are closed-minded? Like Isaiah’s servant, we can remain receptive to whatever God has for us. The servant has an open ear and mind.
[But this matter can go awry if we are not careful. Right after the Civil War, a host of people became teachers because they thought teaching was an easy way of making a living. In his autobiography, Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington tells about one of these fellows. This man went from village to village teaching a little and receiving pay for it. In one town the people asked if he taught that the earth is round or flat. The teacher replied that he was prepared to teach that the earth was either flat or round, according to the preference of a majority of his patrons. Truth by survey. A true disciple is teachable but not gullible. To avoid being gullible you must open your mind and your heart to Christ.]