Reading: Isaiah 50: 4-9a
Verse 9a – It is the sovereign Lord who helps me.
Today’s reading is one of the four servant songs we find in the book of Isaiah. It is a writing open to some interpretation in terms of who the suffering servant is. In context, it could be Isaiah himself, whose life experiences certainly encompassed the content of this passage. The words could also represent the people of Israel – off in exile in a far away land, living amongst pagan people. Both Isaiah and the Israelites would feel weary and would desire to hear the word of the Lord to gain strength and courage. Both would face trial and persecution and would choose to endure these things in order to stay true to their faith. Both would hold onto hope in God to see them through and to vindicate them in the end.
Years later we encounter another suffering servant: Jesus. He too would live a life that included all of the things Isaiah wrote about. So as the early church read this passage, they connected it to Jesus. Jesus would rely on God alone for strength and courage; He would often face trial and persecution; and, He would maintain faith in His Father, who would, in the end, vindicate Him. There are many parallels between the ‘characters’ that we can read into this Isaiah passage.
There are also people today who read this passage and connect to it themselves. They can see their lives in the words of Isaiah. There are also others who can look back over their faith journey and recall times when they were under a heavy load and God gave them strength. They can look back and see how God led them through a trial or time of persecution. We have all clung to God as we prayed for direction and courage and strength to face what lay ahead. Wherever we are in the story – may we go to the Lord our God, trusting in the words of verse nine: “It is the sovereign Lord who helps me”. Thank you God for your unfailing love.