The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears,
and I have not been rebellious;
I have not drawn back.
Isaiah 50:4-5 NIV*
Reading this, I feel something inside whisper this is how it should be: close to God, taught by Him, useful to others… to sustain the weary is a needed gift.
The end of verse 5, about not being rebellious and not drawing back, gives me a bit of a pause, but we do need to make the choice of His will or our own.
Then come verses 6 – 7:
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.
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.
Isaiah 50:6-7 NIV*
This is Jesus, His suffering. What He voluntarily endured out of obedience and trust toward God the Father. For us.
He was not rebellious, and didn’t draw back, so we can be saved from our sin – and ourselves – and thrive in relationship with God today.
I don’t think I could face that level of obedience. I don’t even want to think about it. Rebellion, drawing back?
God calls us each to walk a different path with Him, and this hardest path He entrusted to His own Son. For all the martyrs and suffering saints in the world, there are others whose faith leads them in quiet and unremarkable lives.
But to be a Christ-follower is to face at least occasional opposition from those who oppose Him. Rejection and ridicule, however subtle, are part of the package. Nobody’s going to want to choose that.
Lord, help me choose You, for You have chosen me. Give me a hunger for You that won’t let me draw back or rebel against You. Help me want You more than I want self-protection. Help me trust You like Jesus, secure that the Sovereign Lord is my help.
I’d like to learn words to sustain the weary. And I’d love it if You’d wake me each morning and open my ears to Your teaching. Please give me an obedient and trusting heart. Because of Jesus, amen.
“Somewhere in the Middle,” from Casting Crowns‘ The Altar and the Door cd, talks about this struggle. But for this week’s song I chose the next one on that album, “I Know You’re There.” May the lyrics and melody be our prayer and help us to surrender in trust to our great God.