Friday, October 06, 2017

"I'm 46!"

Isaiah 50.4 TEV

“The Sovereign Lord has taught me what to say, so that I can strengthen the weary.

Every morning he makes me eager to hear what he is going to teach me.”

The verse above is contained in one of Isaiah’s “Servant Songs”[1] and describes the mission and work of Jesus Christ who was to come 700 years after Isaiah’s prophetic vision. Some scholars hold to a multiple identity of Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant.” John Calvin, for example, thought the “Servant” passages referred to the prophet Isaiah himself, to Christ, and to all servants of God in every age.[2] Others ascribe a mythological character to Isaiah’s “Servant” or consider the “Servant” to be one in the same with the nation of Israel as implied by Isaiah 49.3:

“He said to Me, ‘You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.

I agree with John Calvin. Depending on the context, the “Servant of the Lord” may correctly identify Jesus Christ, the prophet Isaiah, the nation of Israel, or any and all servants of God.

It has been occasionally true that “the Sovereign Lord has taught me what to say.” I can remember precious moments in past times when I was able to “strengthen the weary” with my words. Most days I rise early to read my Bible. In my morning ritual I am often aware of a Divine Presence that “makes me eager to hear what he is going to teach me.” These verses find their historical fulfillment in Jesus Christ and their present relevance in me and countless of others like me.

Today is my birthday. I am now sixty-five years old. My children, in-laws, and grandchildren gathered last week for a little cake and celebration. At sixty-five, birthday parties are no big deal to me, but they are a wonderful excuse to gather together with the people I love the most. My re-birthday, however, is a very big deal. I was born again in August, 1971. That makes me forty-six years old in Christ! I celebrate the reality which is still true for me today, over four decades later...

“Every morning he makes me eager to hear what he is going to teach me.”

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[1] Isaiah’s “Servant Songs” are located at Isaiah 42.1-9, 49.1-6, 50.4-11, and 52.13-53.12.

“The Servant of the Lord not only would encounter and accept suffering in the course of His work, but He also would realize that His vicarious suffering would become the means by which He would give His life as a ransom for others”.

“The New Testament writers are unanimous in stating that the Servant of the Lord is a messianic figure and that Jesus is that Servant.”

(“Servant of the Lord”, Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.)

[2] “This passage [Isaiah 50.4] is commonly explained so as to relate to Christ, as if it had not been applicable to the Prophet, because he afterwards says, that he had been beaten with rods, which we nowhere read was done to Isaiah. But there is no great force in this argument; for David complains that his garments were divided, (Ps 22:18,) which applies literally to Christ, (Matt 27:35; John 19:24,) and yet it does not follow that this did not happen to David himself. For my own part, I have no doubt, that Isaiah comes forward as one who represents all the servants of God, not only those who were from the beginning, but those who should come afterwards.”

(Isaiah 50, Calvin’s Commentaries, 22 Volume set originally printed by the Calvin Translational Society, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 1753.)

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