The Suffering Servant

The coming Servant will bring salvation through suffering.

The Coming Servant (3): Isaiah 49, 50 (5)

Pray Psalm 88.1, 2.
O LORD, God of my salvation,
I have cried out day and night before You.
Let my prayer come before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.

Read Isaiah 50.1-6.

Reflect.
1. In Israel’s sense of being separated from God – forsaken and forgotten – who moved? How?

2. The Servant is coming to restore Israel. How does He do that (vv. 4-6)? 

Meditate.
The people of Judah and Jerusalem were feeling abandoned by God, as if He had divorced them (v. 1) or passed them along to one of His “creditors” in payment of a debt (v. 1). The ludicrousness of such possibilities is patent, and Isaiah puts it to the people as such.

Still, they know they are separated from God, because they are going into captivity in Babylon. But whose fault is that (v. 1)? Their own sins have cut them off from God. That being the case, only the removal of those sins will suffice to restore His people to Him. And this is a work only God can accomplish (vv. 2, 3). He called them to repentance, but no one heard, and no one answered His call. But He Who rules the vast cosmos is able to do what hardened sinners cannot. Israel’s time of captivity in Babylon will be a typeof that removal of their sins, but the full accomplishment of that great work must await the coming of the Servant.

The Servant comes to speak God’s truth to His people, to strengthen and refresh them day by day (v. 4). He hears the Lord and does not rebel or turn away from God’s Word – unlike Israel (v. 5). Sounds like that should be about all it takes to restore God’s people to Him?

But no, the Servant must take the punishment of those sins upon Himself (v. 6), and all the shame and sorrow that go with them. Israel’s suffering in Babylon is a type of the suffering of God’s coming Anointed One. As they suffer, they must remember God’s Servant, and look forward to the day when, by His suffering, all their sins will be at last removed.

Prepare.
1. What can keep us from hearing God as He calls us to repentance?

2. Why can we not pay for our own sins? Why does God have to pay for our sins? 

3. Our sins caused the suffering of God’s Servant. How often do your reflect on that, and with what result?

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of the doctrine.” These words refer to Christ as well, who preached his new doctrine to all the peoples. And therefore all the peoples listened to it and were converted. Ephrem the Syrian (fl. 363-373 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 50.4

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for bearing my sins, taking my punishment, and redeeming me so that I…

Pray Psalm 88.

As you pray this psalm, recall all the ways Jesus suffered for your sins. Thank and praise Him for each one, and renew your commitment to hear and obey His Word.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 88 (Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence)
Lord of my salvation, hear me, as cry by night and day;
Hear my plea, O Lord, bend near me; O, receive me when I pray!
For my soul is weak and weary, and my life draws near the grave.

Like a person thought to be dying, like a man whose strength is gone;
Like one with the slain now lying, like a dead and buried one:
For Your mercy I am sighing, cut off from Your hand and gone.

In the lowest pit You have set me, in a deep and darkening place;
All Your holy wrath has beset me, overwhelming me in waves.
All my former friends forget me; on me now they look with hate.

All day long I cry in vain, Lord, as my eye is wasting away.
Can a dead man sing Your praise, Lord? Can I testify from the grave?
Will I tell Your love again, Lord? Will I sing Your pow’r and grace?

Morning comes and, Lord, I am crying: Why do You my soul reject?
From my youth have I been dying; pain and terrors sore afflict.
Fear and anger, sorely trying, overwhelm, destroy, reject.

All day long my foes surround me, like a threat’ning, rising flood.
Circling round they sought and found me, taking from me all that is good.
Friend and lover gone, they hound me – all my friends in darkness stood.

T. M. Moore

Where do the prophets fit with the rest of Scripture? How can I be a better student of God’s Word? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better approach to and understanding of the Scriptures. Watch this brief preview video, then register at The Ailbe Seminary and enroll in this free online course.

Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.


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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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