The example of God’s Servant challenges me to look at many things, not with human eyes, but with divine insight. I can be easily impressed by power, fame, beauty, and wealth. I, along with most human beings, tend to look for leaders—even Christian leaders—who shine with human glory… Isaiah reminds us to look, not for glitz, but for the gospel.
In Jesus, God has come to reign on the earth. Though the fullness of the kingdom is still to come, when we put our faith in Jesus, we begin even now to experience the peace, justice, and power of God’s reign. The good news we embrace as Christians is not only that we get to “go to Heaven” after we die, but also that we can begin to experience Heaven now.
Because Jesus drank the cup of divine judgment, he is able to offer us a different cup… Jesus drank our cup of judgment so that we might drink his cup of salvation. Thus we live each day, not in fear of God’s condemnation, but in gratitude for God’s grace in Christ.
Do you ever find yourself gripped by fear? Are there times when your anxiety seems to devour your spirit?… Do you know this experience? I confess that I do. I’ve been a worrier since I was a child. And though I have certainly known the peace of God that passes all understanding, there are times when worry strangles my soul.
As I reflect on this passage from Isaiah today, I find myself yearning for what it promises. “Everlasting joy!” Overwhelming “gladness and joy!” The end of “sorrow and sighing!” This is not to say I am personally in a place of deep sadness today. But not far away are those who live with sorrow and sighing…
How can I be more attentive to God’s voice? In part, this comes when I have extended time with the Lord in quiet and solitude. But it also happens as I gather with God’s people, where the gifts of the Spirit are active… I’m listening for the voice of God, so that I might believe and obey.
When we go through seasons of suffering, it can seem as if God has forgotten us. We cry out to God in our prayers, but they seem to echo unheard in an empty universe. We look for signs of God’s grace, but we just can’t find them. In these times, we hold on tight to the promises of Scripture.
Like Israel, we are to be a channel of God’s grace to the world, beginning with our neighbor across the street or the woman who works in the office next to us. For us, it is “too light a thing” merely to enjoy our own salvation. Rather, we are reflections and expressions of God’s salvation throughout the world, wherever we are.
There are many times in life when our labor seems to be in vain. We can’t see the value of our work. We can feel discouraged and hopeless. In these times, like Israel, we find peace and hope when we entrust our efforts to God. Rather than focusing on what has gone wrong, we present ourselves and our work to God as worship.
When we walk in God’s ways, God’s work is done through us, not just in our “religious activities,” but in all we do. God is honored and glorified through our obedience and through the fruit of our labors. But when God teaches us, and when we follow his instruction, we benefit as well.