The four Servant Songs of Isaiah are poignant poetic portrayals of the Messiah designed for readers and hearers to recognize Him as the promised Redeemer and Saviour of the world when He makes His appearance on earth, and to respond to Him in faith, hope and love for eternal blessings.
The third Servant Song of Isaiah (Isaiah 50:4-11) prophetically presents the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the obedient disciple or student who humbly submits to the Father’s (Adonai Yahweh’s) instruction or tutelage, and may hence be named THE SERVANT SONG OF DISCIPLESHIP.
We are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps (1 Peter 2:21) and predestined to be conformed to His likeness (Romans 8:29). We are exhorted to look to Christ as we run our spiritual race or journey (Hebrews 12:1-2) through our sanctification process. We are given four Gospels and more to take long looks at our Lord Christ to help us follow Him faithfully. We are also blessed with four Servant Songs and much more to aid us in our focus on our Saviour Messiah, so that in gazing upon Him fully we may truly learn of Him and become authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.
In the third Servant Song, we are ushered into the very sacred closet of our precious Saviour to watch Him stir and awaken to the call, attention and instruction of the Sovereign Lord. Isaiah 50:4 reveals the daily devotion of the most distinguished disciple. We can see a sample of the fulfilment of this prophecy in Mark 1:35. After a programme – full, action-packed Sabbath day (Saturday) (Mark 1:21-34), our dear Lord woke up very early on Sunday morning to meet the ‘Teacher’ Father in a solitary place.
‘He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.’ (Isaiah 50:4b)
“So Jesus said, ‘…….I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.’” (John 8:28b)
“….The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, Who is doing His work” (John 14:10b)
“These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 14:24b)
The Messiah is given an instructed tongue that speaks the Father’s words, not human words or words of the carnal nature. He speaks words of grace like those recorded in Matthew 11:28-30 and words of power and wisdom like those in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). What a stark contrast this is from the depraved tongue described by David in Psalm 5:9 (quoted in Romans 3:13-14) and by James in 3:6-10! ‘The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. …..no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.’
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men. May we be given regenerated tongues that shun evil, slanders and lies, and speak truth and words of blessing and grace that sustains the weary, lift up the fallen, strengthen the weak and enlighten the ignorant.
Having an instructed tongue and tutored ears which receive vital directions from the Father, the Messiah responds with full obedience and total submission with no resistance, no rebellion and no retreat (Isaiah 50:5). Isaiah 50:6 shows us a superb servant who courageously accepts and effects all that the Sovereign Lord ordains for the salvation of desperately hopeless sinners like us – this strand of thought continues in full development in the fourth Servant Song. The prophetic lines of Isaiah 50:6 become profound realities in Christ’s sufferings as recorded in Matthew 26:67; 27:30-31; Mark 14:65;15:19-20; Luke 22:63-65.
And He bids us follow in His steps: ‘To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.’ ‘When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.’ (1 Peter 2:21,23).
Are we following our Master in our responses to insults and suffering? If so, that would be genuine discipleship exemplified by our Lord who became the obedient servant thoroughly tutored by our Father God.
As Christ’s own disciples, may we learn and practice Christ’s spiritual discipline of daily devotion of receiving instruction from our Father God. Then we will be empowered by His Holy Spirit to face threats and challenges victoriously in faithful obedience and humble submission to His holy purposes and sovereign will.
By Mrs Leong-Lian King Teng (YCKC Bulletin 27&28 July 2013)