Jehovah and His Servant
Isaiah 50:4-9
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary…

The passage is to be compared with Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 49:1-9. The manner in which God is referred to is peculiarly solemn - by his double name, the Lord Jehovah.

I. THE SERVANT'S ENDOWMENTS AND TEMPER. The tongue of disciples. The "facility of well-trained scholars" (Isaiah 8:6; Isaiah 54:13) - "a discipled tongue, speaking nothing but what it has learned from God." A tongue the object of which is comfort to the weary. Not to astonish, dazzle, bewilder, but to edify and console. "The wisdom of Heaven does not bespeak man in an unknown tongue; nor design, what would be more miraculous than all miracles, that men should be saved by what they could not understand." But true eloquence implies the faculty of listening. "The things we have heard declare we unto you." They are things imparted to the wakened soul, in the clear conscious hours of calm contemplation, and in the mood of devout sympathy. "The Servant was not a mechanical organ of revelation, but had a spiritual sympathy with it, even when it told of suffering for himself. It is not that bare assent to the truth which is seldom followed by spiritual effects. Nothing is more common than to see men of rare knowledge and raised speculations in the things of God, who have no relish and savour of them in their hearts and affections. Their practice bids defiance to their knowledge. They never know God so as to obey him, and therefore never know him at all. To hear the Word of God, and to hear God speaking in his Word, are things vastly different" (South). Now, Jehovah had opened an ear to his Servant; and he "had not been defiant, had not turned back." All our duties as servants of God resolve themselves into faith, obedience, and patience; and the vital principle of all is submission. Faith, the submission of the understanding; obedience, the submission of the will to what God bids us to do; and patience, submission to what God bids us suffer. In contrast to this temper Jonah may be cited; and in exemplification of it, Jeremiah (Jeremiah 17:6; Jeremiah 20:7). in such a temper humiliation and scorn may be patiently endured.

II. THE DIVINE PRESENCE AND HELP. "Against the crowd of mockers he places the Lord Jehovah." Jehovah is on his side; and therefore he can (in a good sense) harden his face like a flint against his foes, be confident, and not be disappointed. A good conscience is a tower of strength. "Near is he that justifieth me." "To justify," in the Old Testament, almost always means to pronounce a man righteous, or prove him so in act. The Servant is thinking of a trial through which he is passing, and where God is the Judge. But "while Job shrinks in terror from the issue, the Servant has no doubt as to a favourable result." The passage is full of a holy and strong confidence, in the strength of which he can face all his foes. Only he who has not defied God (ver. 5) is able to defy the world, and speak of his enemies as falling to pieces like a rotten, moth-eaten garment. And thus from personal experience he is able to comfort and to exhort others. "He that walketh in darkness and hath no light, let him trust in the Name of Jehovah, and rely upon his God." The opposition is between outward darkness and inward light - in the man's own "clear breast," where he "may sit in the centre, and enjoy clear day." To have a conscience defiled and obscured is to be left, in the time of adversity, "wholly in the dark." The man cannot tell whether God is his enemy or his friend; or rather, has cause to suspect him of being his enemy. Then, "if we would have our conscience deal clearly with us, we must deal severely with it. Often scouring and cleansing it will make it bright." We learn from the passage how the habit of submission to the Spirit of God, and hearty obedience to his will, tends to promote a reasonable confidence in every hour of trial. Not, indeed, one that is secure against all vicissitudes of wavering and distrust, any more than a strong physical constitution can be exempt from occasional attacks of disease. But in the will absolutely submitted to the Divine, vigorously exerted in the cause of right, may be found a confidence - short, indeed, of perfect assurance, yet "for the purposes of a pious life much more useful." - J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: The Lord Yahweh has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him who is weary: he wakens morning by morning, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.

God's Voice Heard in Stillness
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