We do not know a great deal about Isaiah’s personal situation. John says that “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him” (12:41), so the seeing was with the eye of faith, a vivid picture in the mind. Isaiah “saw” what was to come, believing with conviction that the experience was counted as seeing. John’s quotations from Isaiah are of the reactions (often negative) people had to God’s messages; this causes us to meditate on reactions today.
The more we read and reflect, the more we are challenged. Isaiah’s words in today’s chapter are a good example; “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious” (50:4,5).
It is a privilege each day to start by reading God’s word, to awaken our minds, refresh our thinking with godly thoughts before our minds need to focus on the challenges of the day. Let us not be rebellious. This is, as we recall the in the words of James, “the wisdom that comes down from above” (3:15). It gives us that inner strength and ability, not only to sustain us for another day, but also we may be used by our Lord to come into contact with someone who is weary and we can impart to them some of the strength we have received from God’s word.
The passage in Isaiah goes on to record a situation which was fulfilled at the time of the Master’s arrest; but it must, we suspect, have also been part of the prophet’s own experience, “I gave my back to those who strike … I hid not my face from shame and spitting (see Mark 15:19) …But the Lord GOD helps me … therefore I have set my face like a flint …” (Isaiah 50:6,7).
Let us try harder to feed on God’s word “morning by morning” and experience all the benefits that He can give, setting our faces to serve Him in whatever situations we encounter.