Anyone at Home?
Lord, help me not to misunderstand Your designs on my life by thinking You are against me.
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.
2 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.
3 I clothe the heavens with darkness
and make sackcloth its covering.”
4 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.
5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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!
9 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.
10 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.
11 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise” (Psa. 111:10).
Arriving home, we sometimes shout out, “Anyone home?” When God asks the question of Israel, he gets no response (2a). The house seems empty! His people are sulking, not willing to speak to him, because they’ve misunderstood him. They took the exile to mean he’d divorced them and sold them into slavery (1) and is now incapable of rescuing them. Do they understand nothing? Don’t they realize that their alienation from God was caused by their own sin and lack of responsiveness to him, not by his betrayal (1,2)? Don’t they believe that the God of creation and the exodus is more than capable of saving them once they learn their lesson (2,3)?
In sharp contrast, one person in the house, the servant, acknowledges God (4–9). On waking, he eagerly pays attention to God’s words. They govern his life and are also the substance of the hopeful messages he shares with others. His preaching elicits a response, but sadly not the one he wants. Instead of accepting his message, people reject it, ridicule him, shame and persecute him for his prophecies. He keeps going, however, because the power of the Sovereign Lord is on his side and will eventually vindicate him. Israel is exhorted to imitate the faithful servant and trust God’s words (10). We are called to do no less and to persevere. Israel needn’t live in darkness: if they’d fear the Lord, as the servant does, they’d discover the light.
Tragically, only a few respond to God positively; the majority seek their own remedies, foolishly trying to produce their own light. Their path only leads them to sorrow and defeat (11). Responding respectfully to God is by far the better option.
Eugene Peterson translates Colossians 3:16 (The Message) as, “Let the word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house.” How far does that directive characterize your life?
Lord, because You are my advocate, I will be vindicated before all of my detractors. As with the servant, You, who justifies me, are near.