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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2014
(Part 32)

EMPOWERED TO WITNESS - 3

April 13, 2014
Today’s reading: Isaiah 50:4-7


“The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue” (v.4a). That is, we are empowered to witness!

What is the intent of God in empowering us to witness? It is “that I might know how to answer the weary a word that will waken them.” (v.4b). The world is wearied by war, poverty, criminality, pollution, injustice, calamities, broken relationships, etc. What is the way out or way forward for people? It is only Jesus and the salvation he brings. People need to be awakened to see the beauty of the gospel, and how in Jesus is their salvation and their peace.

How does God empower us to witness? God forms us as His disciples, from our waking moment each day. “Morning after morning he wakens my ear to hear as disciples do” (v.4c). Even as we sleep, God is touching our very being. When we awaken, He is already whispering in our ear. He guides us in the way we are to go. He provides the grace to hear, to understand, to obey.

God does His part. We need to do ours.

First, we accept what God has for us. “The Lord God opened my ear; I did not refuse, did not turn away.” (v.5). God cannot force us. He takes the initiative, He provides the grace, He does whatever is needed to form us, but we need to not refuse, to not turn away. We do not allow other less important things to preoccupy us, such that we are distracted from our calling or have less time for God.

Second, we accept that what God has for us includes great blessings, as well as oppression and persecution. It is all one package. “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who tore out my beard; my face I did not hide from insults and spitting.” (v.6). From all sides, back and front, I can expect to be assaulted. For proclaiming the gospel I will be ridiculed, insulted, scoffed at, spurned, beaten. I willingly submit, as that is how I embrace the cross of Christ. I still go boldly forth, not slinking away, not hiding, not giving up. I rejoice in the privilege of the cross.

Third, we trust fully in God. “The Lord God is my help” (v.7a). We know we can always count on God. If God is with us, who can be against us? We never lose hope. We confidently move forward with faith.

Fourth, we revel in the glory of God, especially in the cross of Christ. The cross is an instrument of torture and shame. But in and with God I know “I am not disgraced” (v.7b). I am humbled but not humiliated. I am laid low but I know I will be lifted up.

So finally, we persevere and endure, till the end. “Therefore I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.” (v.7c). No matter how badly things seem to be turning out, I simply plod on, knowing that the victory of Jesus is already mine. I may be set back but never put down. I endure, knowing that at the end of it all, the crown of glory awaits me.

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