Isaiah 50:4-9

The Determination and Obedience of the Servant

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Read Isaiah 50:4-9

We come this morning to the third message on the Servant Songs of Isaiah. Previously we have considered Isaiah 42:1-7, which spoke of the chosen Servant of God, even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The mission that was given to Him as the elect Servant of God was to redeem the elect the whole world over, a people that were given to Him by the Father.

Then in our study of Isaiah 49:1-6 we considered the salvation of God from the perspective of Him who came to accomplish it, even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. From the very beginning His was a mission of saving sinful men, even from before time began, yet He did not come until that very right moment in history, when all had been prepared for His arrival. It appeared as though His mission had failed during His time upon the earth, yet He had accomplished a salvation that has continued to reverberate around the world ever since, with sinners the world over being brought into the Kingdom of God as a result of His finished work.

This morning our attention turns to the third Servant Song of Isaiah as it is recorded in Isaiah 50:4-9. In this passage we see the determination and obedience of the Servant of God in the work of accomplishing His Fatherís will and the salvation of sinners. So please turn to Isaiah 50:4-9 and we will study the passage together.

'The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back (Is 50:4,5).'

What we see here in these opening verses of our passage is a Person being prepared for His role in salvation as the Servant of Almighty God. The passage describes God as the Lord God, which in the original languages highlights the omnipotence and sovereignty of the Almighty Creator God that is preparing His Servant for His earthly mission. Nothing is left to chance in His preparation, for the same God who created the universe out of nothing through the power of His own creative Word, is now preparing His Son as His Servant that will deliver all sinners that have been given to Him by the Father in the covenant of grace.

Note that the Servant will not be coming as just some average Joe Blow, for according to this passage He has 'the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary (Is 50:4b).' From even before His earthly, yet supernatural birth, Jesus as the Servant of God was being prepared for His role upon the earth, even that of the salvation of lost sinners. He is given a tongue that will be able to bring forth the greatest wisdom, for 'the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD (Is 11:2).' Here then is a tongue that is expertly fitted for the great task that awaits Him, being fitted by the Holy Spirit who rests upon Him.

And why has the Servant received such a gifted tongue? It is 'that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary (Is 50:4b).' Here then is the purpose of such preparation for His ministry. He must be able to bring relief to those who have been so hard pressed and pushed down by sin, to those that have grown weary of the burden of sin that weighs them down, and of those that are desperate in their spiritual poverty. The Servant of God comes to a world that is full of people that have nothing to bring to God, even though they have wearied themselves in the pursuit of many things, some even a righteousness that they might be able to bring them to Him. But the Servant, He has Words that bring relief from such burdens. Words that speak comfort to the soul and peace to the conscience. Those that hear Him will hear the Words of life, and those that heed these Words will receive it.

Here then is the Servant of the most high God who says to such people, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Mt 11:28-30).' Here then is the One who has the Words to relieve you in the midst of your most difficult and distressed moments, One who will lift you up out of the downcast depths and set you on the mountain tops of joy, and of One who will present you faultless before the Lord of all the earth even though your righteousness be as filthy rags. Here is the One who will speak a word in season to your grieved soul if you go to Him for His rest.

Sinner grieved by the weight of a lifetime of sin, what will you do with your grief? Sinner weighed down by an accusing conscience and fearful of the judgment to come, where will you go with your sorrow? Will you go to this One who is able to take that grief away, or will you continue to keep that grief into eternity where it will be increased beyond measure? Why continue in it, here is the way of relief! Here is rest for your weary souls!

Christian, do not be cast down by sin, but cast your sin upon this One who will speak words of comfort to your sin weary soul. He will not trample you down or cast you off forever, but He will bind you up and speak words of encouragement to you that you may face your daily pilgrimage with renewed vigour. Oh the time will come when He will greet you with words of welcome to a heavenly country where all such grief will be gone forever.

Here is the Servant of God who never turns back from His Fatherís instruction and Word, for when the sovereign and Omnipotent God speaks to Him, He obeys for His ear is open to His Fatherís will. His will is to do the will of the Father, and that without a hint of rebellion or a contrary step. There was not one moment in time or space when the elect Servant of God chose to go another way, 'and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back (Is 50:5b).'

Here you have a picture of Jesus going the full way in the salvation of sinners as the Father has directed Him, with not a look to the left or to the right, but with an unreserved commitment to obey His Fatherís will. If there was some other way to bring about the salvation of the elect He was happy for the Father to do it that way, but if there was no other way to bring the elect to the very gates of heaven and then through those gates into a blessed eternity, then 'not my will, but thine, be done (Lk 22:42c).'

Yes, even to the point of death and beyond the Servant of God was prepared to go and to exceed in order to bring about the salvation of all those who believe and who will believe. That which His Father had desired to be fulfilled would be fulfilled, even the very accomplishment of salvation for the elect, 'he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philip 2:8b).' All these must be saved, for not one may be lost, and whatever is necessary to be done in order for that to be achieved as Godís appointed means in bringing such a purpose to pass, Jesus was willing and determined to achieve. He would not be turned aside by the worldís allurements, by the Devilís temptations, or even by the Fatherís afflictions as He contemplated them in the Garden of Gethsemane, 'for this cause came I unto this hour (Jn 12:27b).' This salvation must be brought to pass, even at the cost of My own life,í such was the Servantís determination to save the elect in fulfilment of His Fatherís will. Such was Christís determination to save you Christian who have exercised faith in Him, and who have been given to Him by the Father.

So you see Christian what we come to remember today, even a Saviour that was determined to die that you might live and be relieved of your sin burden. From the very beginning this was His goal, obedience to the Father, and thereby your salvation. Remember that Christian as you come to the LordĎs Supper today, for you were very much at the fore front of His mind as He lived and died in this world in order to bring you home. Donít forget Him, for He has never forgotten you.

He would not turn aside, not even for a moment until He had successfully purchased your salvation at the cost of His own blood. He came to get you and to bring you home, and this He is determined to achieve with unyielding resolve. He would not back out of His agreement with the Father, for He must be about His Fatherís business.

'I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting (Is 50:6).'

In the verse now before us we have something of a preview of the great Isaiah 53 passage, as we are now given an insight into what the Servant of God would suffer in order to obey His Fatherís will and to bring His people into the Kingdom of God. Here Oh Christian you see your Saviour voluntarily give Himself up to His persecutors. They didnít force Him to suffer, for He says that 'I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair (Is 50:6a,b).' What do you think, that the nails kept Him on the cross, that the soldiers held Him in place when He was whipped, or that fear of men held Him back when He was spat upon? No, but it was His determination to save you Christian, and that flowing from obedience to His Father and love for you. What love is this, what determination that would see the Creator God submit Himself to such indignity and cruel treatment at the hands of His creatures? He would not withdraw from the Fatherís plan of salvation, you He must save.

'Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be (Mt 26:53,54)?'

The Lord Jesus Christ had all the power necessary to stop the process of our salvation dead in its tracks if He so desired, but that was not what He desired, for it was not what His Father desired. 'Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God (Heb 10:7).' He came, suffered and died because this was the clear desire of His Father for Him in order that the elect would be saved. Have you got that Christian? I mean have you really got that? Do you really see what was occurring here for your salvation?

The Father put in place an operation to save men, whereby His only begotten Son would come to the place of men, live, be killed, and live again, in order to save those whom He had chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world. Jesus Christ came in voluntary obedience to His Fatherís will and accomplished fully what His Father had purposed in order to save His people from their sins. He wasnít forced to undergo anything that happened at the cross, and certainly not because of anything in man, but all in obedience to His Fatherís will. He was bound by nothing but His Fatherís will, which was also the same as His own.

He was not stuck with the indignities placed upon Him by sinful man, or with the pain inflicted on Him by the ungodly because of the power of man, whether that be through sheer force of human evil, or through some future decisions of sinners to choose Jesus as their own personal Saviour. No, no, He came in order to do what God wanted Him to do, to save a people that God had chosen Him to save, and for a people that would embrace this accomplished salvation through faith because of the application of it to them through the irresistible operations of the Holy Spirit. You are saved Christian because God the Father chose to have mercy on you through the sending of His Servant to suffer all these indignities and cruel treatments of men, and because the Servant of God agreed to do it.

Remember that this is the God who created the Universe through mere words uttered from His mouth. Do you really think that He would allow this to happen for any other purpose but obedience to His Father, 'Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously (1 Pet 2:23).' He chose to go through all of this to save you in accordance to His Fatherís will. Christian, this He did for you.

'For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed (Is 50:7).'

What enabled Him to endure such tremendous difficulty and wickedness throughout His earthly ministry culminating in the cross? It was this very conviction, that His Father had not abandoned Him, but was with Him every step of the way. 'I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved (Ps 16:8).' This was His Fatherís will for Him, and His Father would strengthen Him and spur Him on to accomplish His will in Him. With this knowledge ever before Him, that He was not abandoned by the Father but was in fact participating with the Father in the accomplishment of His Fatherís will and the salvation of men, He pressed on until He had achieved His purpose in coming. Almighty God is cooperating together and working together to bring you home Christian. 'What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31)?'

All might look foolish and stupid to the worldís wisdom, with the Lord of glory hanging ignominiously on the cross, and even dying the death of a Roman criminal, yet this was not the very end. The very end would come in the last day, when this very same Servant will rise to judge the living and the dead before Whom all must give an account, and before Him every knee shall bow and confess that He is Lord. These very ones who meted out such treatment upon the Lord of glory will meet their Maker and receive His justice. He will there be acknowledge as above every other name and power. The Lord knew that at the end of His mission there would be glory and not disgrace.

Those whom He came to seek and to save will be all before Him, and be welcomed into the heavenly kingdom, and not one will have been lost. The Lord knew that 'He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied (Is 53:11a).' He knew that He would greet you in that last day, that He would see you take occupation of your heavenly mansion and enter into the joy of the Lord in the eternal kingdom. His accomplished salvation will indeed be fully realised in that place.

With the assurance of His Fatherís aid and the sure end of His mission, the Servant of God therefore set His face like flint toward His final goal, 'who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb 12:2b),' Here is determination, here is steadfastness in the face of His enemies and Hell itself, for He would strive toward the fulfilment of His mission with great resolve knowing that He would succeed. None of His enemies had a hope of preventing the successful completion of his mission, for He would accomplish this salvation of men according to the purpose of His Father.

'He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up (Is 50:8,9).'

Will the work of salvation be successfully completed? Will the Servant accomplish His mission without falling into sin and without unrighteousness? Indeed He will, and His Father will vouch for Him in it all. He has satisfied all of divine justice and law, and has come out of His mission unscathed by sin, and therefore God will declare Him just to all.

Who then will contend with Jesus and condemn Him? Who will argue against the successful conclusion of His mission to save the elect? Who will debate unfairness with God, or unrighteousness in the justification of the elect? Will anyone come forward?

Not even Pilate His earthly judge will come forward, for he 'having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him (Lk 23:14b,15).'

But even if there be an earthly contender or a spiritual contender, and there have been many that have sought to shout down the claims of sovereign grace in the salvation of the elect, they will all pass away and come to nothing. In the very end, the Judge of the earth will be found to have done right, and the elect will be found in the Kingdom of God upon the most secure grounds, even the very blood and righteousness of Christ Himself. There can be no more secure ground than the blood of Christ, for He has spilled His blood for the salvation of the elect in accordance with divine justice.

Christian do you see the end result of the Servantís work? It is your fully realised salvation, for Christ has become your Surety of salvation. If you are to be rejected, having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and His accomplished work of salvation, then so must the Lord of glory be rejected and turned away, for your case is now His case. If you are to be condemned, so must He, for He has taken your case as though it was His very own.

Oh Christian we have much to remember today as we take part in the Lordís Supper, for Jesus Christ has indeed gone through all this in order to bring you into the Kingdom of God. May we never forget the Servantís work for our salvation. Amen.



UPDATED: 19 April 2014


Sermons - Isaiah

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