Understanding True Servanthood - Isaiah 50:1-11
In this passage, the prophet Isaiah portrays the difference between someone who believes that he or she is a servant of God and Jesus Christ who is the true servant of God. The nation of Judah had been called by God to be His servants and to represent His righteousness to other inhabitants of the earth. However, Judah followed in the paths of her sister kingdom, Israel, and continued to indulge in unrighteousness. The nation did not recognize that clinging to her ancestral relationship with God was misguided.
While in Babylonian captivity the nation charged God with abandonment. The Word of the Lord came to the captives from the prophecy of Isaiah asking for a certificate of divorcement or bill of sale that would give evidence that God had indeed done them wrong. The answer to their erroneous charge against God was given by Isaiah. God’s prophet stated that the Judeans had suffered their present calamity simply because of their sins and refusal to answer God when He called to them via His prophets.
After Isaiah’s answer to the erroneous charge made by the Judaic captives, he gives a prophetic portrayal of God’s true servant, Jesus Christ. The true servant is One who has been given a well-instructed tongue with the ability to speak words of encouragement and sustenance to the weary. The true servant is awakened by God each morning to receive instruction and does not rebel or turn away for the satisfaction of self. Isaiah's continual portrayal of the true servant sees Him as One who suffers unjustly and sets His face to endure such, ultimately knowing that His God would confront and condemn those who would bring false accusations against Him. The true servant does not depart from, but faithfully fulfills His mission without complaint.
Similar to the Judaic captives, today there are many who cling to their perceived Christian lifestyle or Christian heritage as a badge of honor that endears them to God and as such, any calamity experienced by them cannot last or is a “supposed” temporary injustice administered by evil forces. However, it may be that the calamity experienced by Judah gives a message that "practiced" sin continues to bring hardships into the lives of some during this present day. For those desiring to be “true servants” of God, the life modeled by Jesus Christ is to be embraced wholeheartedly. Also, true servants understand (or certainly should) that calamitous sufferings and hardships which accompany the Christian journey are greatly outweighed by the reward of eternal life in the presence of Almighty God. Let us all endeavor to truly serve God despite whatever our environment entails.