Messiah's Appeal to Israel and the Nations
“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.”—Isaiah 50:10-11
These words come to us at the conclusion of a wonderful presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ as seen through prophetic eyes seven hundred years before He came into the world. It is interesting when reading the book of the prophet Isaiah to notice that he flourished in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and other kinds of Israel who lived in the eighth century before the coming into the world of the Lord Jesus. and looking down through the years, Isaiah sees the coming One by faith, and Christ is represented as speaking to us all like this in verses two and three: “Wherefore, when I came, was there no man?”—no man to welcome Him, no man to recognize Him—“when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.”
Who is the speaker in these verses? Evidently the mighty God Himself who in years gone by had wrought such marvelous deliverances for the people of Israel. It was He who dried up the sea when Israel fled from Pharaoh and his hosts when they went out of Egypt with a high hand. It was He who rolled back the waters of the Jordan, when after the forty years wanderings of Israel in the wilderness, they were about to enter the land of promise. It was the same God who controls the elements. He says, “I clothe the heavens with blackness and I make sackcloth their covering.” There can be no question but that the speaker here is God Himself. And yet, look at the next verse. It is exactly the same speaker in the next verse, but now He speaks as a man. How can that be? How can He speak as God in one verse, and as man in the next? Only because the speaker here is Immanuel, God with us, true God, and yet true man.
And now speaking as the Incarnate One, He says, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary; he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the disciple” (verse 4). Just think of the same One who says, “I clothe the heavens with blackness and I make sackcloth their covering,” now saying, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of a disciple. He opens my ears, He speaks to me morning by morning that I might know how to comfort the weary with the word.” There, you see, you have God incarnate; God become man, and day by day in communion with the Father, being taught of the Father. Jesus said, “I speak not mine own words, but the words of him that sent me.” And, oh, how marvelously He could comfort the weary with the word! Have ever words been heard like this down through the centuries—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”? How many millions of souls have ever heard those words and have come to Him, and, oh, how they have been comforted! What peace, what rest of heart and conscience they have found at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ!
A poet has written:
“Low at They feet, Lord Jesus,
This is the place for me;
There I have learned sweet lessons,
Truth that has set me free.
“Free from myself, Lord Jesus,
Free from ways of men;
Chains of thought that once bound me
Never shall bind again.
“None but Thyself, Lord Jesus,
Conquered my wayward will;
But for Thy grace, Lord Jesus,
I would be wayward still.”
Have you heard His voice? Has He spoken to your heart? Has He drawn you to Himself? Have you found that comfort which He delights to give?
We are living in dreadful days. We almost hate to pick up the newspaper and see what has happened last in the world. One dreadful calamity follows another, and men’s hearts are failing them for fear and for looking after those things that are coming on the Earth. And yet, even in days like this, the word is true, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” He knows how to comfort the weary with the Word. Oh, He has been over the path, He has passed through trial and sorrow and rejection.
And in the next verses we hear Him saying this: “The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (verses 5, 6). Here is the rejected Saviour speaking. It is as though Isaiah could look down through the years through the telescope of faith, and he sees the blessed Lord there in Pilate’s judgment hall; and yonder taunted by Herod’s soldiers; he sees rude men spitting in His face and slapping Him and crowning Him with thorns, and in every other way showering shame and ignominy upon Him. But on His part there is no resentment. He doesn’t call down judgment upon their heads as He well might do, because it is the day of grace and He has come to make known the lovingkindness of God to guilty sinners. And so He commits Himself to the Father, and He says, “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (verse 7).
You remember He had been rejected in Judea before and then went back to Galilee where people were so much more ready to receive Him. But finally at the time of the last Passover He is ever going to attend, when He is about to be offered up, He set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem. And He knew what awaited Him, He was going there to die. He said to His disciples, “The Son of man must be rejected and set at naught and suffer many things of this generation, He shall be persecuted and crucified, and the third day He shall rise again.” Nothing ever took Jesus by surprise. The very purpose for which He came into the world was just before Him. He said, you remember, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” He set His face like a flint to go to the cross, and He exclaims, “Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up” (verse 9). Man just lives his little day and then he is gone, but Jesus was the Eternal One who in grace took the sinner’s place on Calvary’s cross.
And now it seems to me, in the verse with which I began, He is addressing a world in very much the condition it is today; men’s hearts and minds filled with questions, asking, “Why does God allow this?” and “why does He allow that?” and “Why doesn’t He interfere?” and “why doesn’t He stop this thing?” and “Why doesn’t He hinder the other thing?” But listen to what He has to say: “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?” Do you feel today as though darkness is all around about and you can’t seem to find your way, and you are in a fog as it were? Oh, listen to this: “Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” A poet has written:
“I had rather walk in the dark with God
Thank walk alone in the light.”
And we are called to rest in the word of God, “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded,” and again, “I will trust and not be afraid.”
“Oh,” somebody says, “I have tried to do that, but I have to confess I am afraid at times.” Very well, another Scripture says, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” So at all times and under all circumstances, we can just trust in Him. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
“Oh,” but another says, “the trouble with me is I don’t know Him like that. These words are addressed to those that fear the Lord, these words are just spoken of His servants and I am out here in darkness and confusion of mind, and I don’t know Him. He is a stranger to me. I am not acquainted with Him.”
Then, dear friend, we invite you to become acquainted with Him and be at peace. He wants you to know Him, to be acquainted with Him. He invites you to come to Him. He says, “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” And you remember when He was here on Earth He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hearth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life.”
Have you heard His voice? “Oh,” you say, “I have often heard it. I have listened to sermons all my life and it has never yet made any impression on me.”
Yes, you have heard with the outward ear, but you have never heard with the ear of the soul. You have never given attention to the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Hear, and your soul shall live.” Won’t you set yourself earnestly today to hear the voice of the Son of God? I know men have their own theories and their own ways and they turn from the voice of God and try anything and everything else before they will come to Him. Listen to His words of warning: “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks”—you are trying to start a flame of your own that will give you light on the problems of life and make clear your path in this dark world, and He says, ironically, “Walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled.” But it will all die down. In a little while you will find it will all be gone, and the light you have kindled will be succeeded by darkness. “This shall ye have of mine hands; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Receive the Lord Jesus Christ, hear the voice of the Son of God, put your heart’s trust in Him and you shall have the light of life. Then you will be able to find your way through this world; you will have the Key to all Earth’s troubles and distresses. But if you turn away from Him, if you take your own way and follow your own vain, empty thoughts, you will have nothing but disappointment at last. “This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.”
I have no doubt there are many of you here today who have already come to Christ, you have trusted Him, and you have found how wonderfully able He is to fulfill His Word. He has done it for you. I am wondering if there are others here who have never yet trusted Him, who do not know Him, and in this difficult day, in these perplexing times, in these times of soul distress, you are saying in your heart, “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!” Yet He is right here, and He wants you to get to know Him. He wants to take you by the hand, to be your Guide through this wilderness scene and on to the coming glory. Would you really like to know Him? Then come to Him just as you are. Take the lost sinner’s place and trust the lost sinner’s Saviour. He will receive you. He has promised that none shall be refused who come pleading His atoning blood.