Dec 7, 2023
With an open ear and an affectionate heart, the Servant obeyed the LORD (Is 50:5). He received from God the message, and with faithfulness He subjected himself to the difficulties necessary for the message’s deliverance to the weary (Isaiah 50:4, 6).
How does one endure such pain, such hardship, such a testing of His heart’s strength and His mind’s fortitude? How does one stand firm to the end under the intensity of such heat? What would keep the Servant from bending, dropping out, and giving up?
7 But the Lord God helps me; (Isaiah 50:7 ESV)
The Servant endures because the Servant knows a helper, one who enters into the battle and assists. He enters the trial and he walks through the flame strengthened, assisted, shielded, and aided by another. That other is the LORD God.
This help, however, does not always come in the way we might think or expect. God did not help the Servant unload His burden, like a strong man might help a weak lift a log off his entrapped leg so that he might no longer lay under the weight. Instead, God strengthens and helps the Servant carry the burden farther. His strength helps the Servant stay under the weight, endure the weight, and carry the weight to the desired destination. The LORD willed that the Servant carry the burden, not get out from under it. So his help came not to relieve the Servant but to help him endure it’s weight.
The reality of God’s present help leaves profound effects in the Servant.
1. First, the Servant bears no emotional or public shame. He feels no shame in His heart, and God silences those who would gather around to make a mockery of Him.
7 ...therefore I have not been disgraced... and I know that I shall not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:7 ESV)
2. Second, the Servant knew boldness and confidence even in the presence of His adversary.
7 ...therefore I have set my face like a flint... (Isaiah 50:7 ESV)
He said, “Bring it on!” to those threatening him.
8 ...Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. (Isaiah 50:8 ESV)
He can do so, not because of confidence in His own strength, but because the Lord would serve as His help.
8 He who vindicates me is near. (Isaiah 50:8 ESV)
The enemy cannot succeed nor prevail against the Servant for the LORD will not allow the Servant to fall prey.
3. Third, the Servant knew security before the LORD. He possessed assurance that the LORD would not reject Him, abandon Him, and turn on Him.
9 Behold, the Lord God helps me; who will declare me guilty? (Isaiah 50:9)
The LORD looks upon His Servant with approval even though the world would look on Him with disapproval. The LORD accepted Him even when the world rejected Him. The LORD saw His righteousness even as the world declared Him unrighteous. This confidence made Him strong against the thought that all His pain, all the mockery, all the attacks, and all the struggle were evidences of the LORD’s abandoning Him. In spite of what it may have seemed, the LORD remained a very present help in time of need. At the end of the day, no one will remain to accuse Him falsely any longer, for the LORD will vindicate Him and show Him right.
9 …Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up. (Isaiah 50:9 ESV)
God upheld and vindicated His Servant, Jesus
The Servant, whom we now know as Jesus, the Son of Moses, came to this earth to declare the message entrusted to Him. The world hated both Him and His message.
37 ...you [the religious leaders] seek to kill me [Jesus] because my word finds no place in you. (John 8:37 ESV)
Enraged with anger, the enemies struck , spit upon, and disfigured Jesus’ face. They despised the instrument carrying the message. They fought to silence the Word, for they could not bear it.
They sought to shame Him by tearing from his body the clothes which hid his nakedness. They taunted Him with calls to miraculously call out the identity of His abusers who were hidden from his blindfolded eyes as they pummeled His body. They accused Him of the high crime of blasphemy. They slandered him for mingling with the prostitutes and the drunkards. They dismissed Him as the servant of God and the rightful heir to the throne of God’s kingdom.
But, Jesus, with the joy set before Him, endured by the help of God and in time God vindicated Him by raising Him up from the dead. Through the cross God made so clear the truth about the one hanging from the tree that even soldiers with blood on their hands confessed the truth,
54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54 ESV)
Though today many still mock and attack Jesus and His message, one day God’s vindication of the Servant will find fullness.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)
Endure with Strength, for God Is Your Help.
The help given to the Servant stands available to those who are now in Christ. If you belong to Christ, the LORD God is your help.
You too can set aside all shame. You will not in the least know embarrassment for placing your trust in the LORD. He will not let you down. Relying upon him will never prove foolish.
You too can know great confidence. Yes, the road ahead may present difficult days. Being faithful will require you to endure intense heat and great weight, but you can turn to the flame with resolve, determination, courage, and expectation of victory because the LORD is near. He will not let you fail in your obedience.
Finally, you can rest in knowing that before the LORD you are accepted and approved. Yes, it is true that in yourself you are guilty. You are stained with sin. You have failed and fallen short of God’s glory. But, Jesus has washed away your sinful record. He has removed your sins.
In addition He has give to you His own record. When God judges you He judges you on the basis of Jesus’ complete righteousness. For this reason, you have no reason to fear that somehow or at some time God has or will reject you. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you.
When the enemy seems to prosper and you struggle under the difficulty of obedience, you might wonder if God remains for you. Be assured. If you are in Christ, the LORD remains near. A present help, constantly ready to uphold you. Therefore, go today and endure, for God is your help.