Blazing A Trail
Wise Lord, save me from the temptation to rely on my own wisdom and experience rather than on Yours.
Read Isaiah 50:1-11
 This is what the LORD says: “Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce with which I sent her away? Or to which of my creditors did I sell you? Because of your sins you were sold; because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.  When I came, why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short to deliver you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert; their fish rot for lack of water and die of thirst.  I clothe the heavens with darkness and make sackcloth its covering.”  The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.  The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away.  I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.  He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me!  It is the Sovereign LORD who helps me. Who will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up.  Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God.  But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat references to Jesus do you see here (6,7)?
The people of Israel had only themselves to blame for their years of suffering. Was it something that God wanted (1)? No. Was it because God wasn’t powerful enough to help them (2)? No. Their years of exile were a natural consequence of turning their backs on God and going their own way. The route away from God leads to misery. It always has and it always will. The route back to God involves suffering, too. But the Servant chooses it willingly, with his eyes and ears open (5). In this reading and the following ones we will see pre-echoes of the suffering of Jesus: he is beaten and mocked and his beard is pulled (6). From the very beginning of his commission, the Servant knew that his work would involve suffering, yet he responded with flinty commitment, knowing that he was blazing a trail back to God for us. To put it another way, if you find yourself in a dark place, you have two options. You can use a flashlight and try to find your own way out (11), or you can follow in the footsteps of “the light of the world” (John 8:12).
How is Jesus your “light”? How are you following him each day? If you’re in a dark place, ask for his light to lead you.
Ask God to draw you closer today to the Suffering Servant, Jesus, the Light of the World. No one else is worth following.