“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.” – Isaiah 50:10 NLT
Let’s face it. We live in dark days. Sin surrounds us. Immorality is everywhere. Every man and woman does what is right in their own eyes. The world-wide economy is in a shambles, godly leadership is in short supply, entertainment is the drug of choice, numbing us to the reality of the world around us. For those of us who are Christ-followers it can sometimes feel as if we are not making a difference – as if any light we give off just gets absorbed by the darkness that surrounds us. But these two chapters in Isaiah were words of encouragement to the people of Israel that should provide just as much hope for us. They speak of the Messiah, God’s chosen servant who would one day come to earth to accomplish God’s will. “At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them. Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again” (Isaiah 49:8 NLT). Jesus came “at just the right time.” He came as the suffering servant, the lamb of God, who gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. When Jesus came the first time, it had all the appearances of a non-successful venture. “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward” (Isaiah 49:4 NLT). Jesus’ earthly ministry ended in death, not victory. He was crucified as a criminal. He left just a handful of followers. But God was not done. He died, but that was not the end. He rose again and He sits at the right hand of God the Father, and one day He is going to return to finish what He began. His mission did not stop at the cross or in the tomb. His followers, though few in number, took His message of God’s grace and forgiveness and spread it around the world – to both Jews and Gentiles alike – just as God had said would happen. “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6 NLT).
This message from God to the people of Israel concerning His Servant came at a time of great darkness. They were being told that their sins were going to be punished by God. They were surrounded by the enemy. Their hopes were dim and their prospects for rescue few. Yet Isaiah reminds them that God is not done with them. He has a plan. He has not forgotten them, no matter how dire the circumstances may look. God promises to one day restore His people to their land. He will bring them back from exile and dispersion. They will once again flourish and enjoy all the abundance the Promised Land has to offer. And only the Messiah, God’s Servant will make that happen. He came the first time as the Suffering Servant, but the next time He will come as the Conquering King. He will return to earth to restore the world to its original splendor and to settle accounts with the unrighteous. The plan of God will not be complete until the work of the Messiah is done. But we must trust the Lord. We must stand on His promises and His character. He is trustworthy and faithful, loving and merciful. He will finish what He began. “Who out there fears GOD, actually listens to the voice of his servant? For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going, anyone groping in the dark, Here’s what: Trust in GOD. [Lean] on your God!” (Isaiah 50:10 MSG).
Father, You are not done yet. Your plan is far from finished. Messiah’s work is not yet finished. Give me the ability to trust You even when things are dark and I can’t see enough to take even the next step. Your plan is perfect and You will accomplish it. I can rest on that promise. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men