God’s extraordinary love for us, and what he wants of us.
Intimate workings of the the messiah’s servanthood.
It starts with the question “does God really care?” A striking divorce and debt metaphor is used by God to say “prove I have abandoned you… Where are the divorce papers, where is the bill of sale?”
We left him, he never left us. Very much to the contrary.
Second question “is God’s still in charge?” Fully. The examples of his might are arguably negative experiences, drying up rivers so that fish die, making the sky black.
The Israelites no doubt felt enveloped by blackness. But the blackness is from God, the problem is that there is no one who will obey him. Enter the servant.
The servant word is not used but the ritual of servanthood, ear piercing, is referred to in verse 5.
Israel’s slaves had a moment after 6 years of service where they could leave or stay. The ear piercing indicated the choice of a life of voluntary servanthood, and such is the messiah’s relationship to God the father.
His duties are to daily learn words that will sustain the weary. He is God’s servant, his duties are for us.
Does God care? He gives his back to be whipped, his beard to be pulled out, suffers utter humiliation and disgrace.
Being God, he could back out at any time. He doesn’t have to suffer! But as a servant he sets his face like flint and bares it, trusting in God’s might through the darkness, knowing God’s is stronger than any evil.
The enemies of God are compared to clothes that will wear out. Empty suits.
So we, the weary, can choose to be sustained by his words though the darkness. Or we can take matters in our own hands which is here described as walking by the light of our own torches. That doesn’t seem unreasonable, using your own judgement, not God’s word to guide your way. But it will only lead to more torment.
God is like a loving parent in the night, coming to you when you fear the dark saying “don’t worry, you’ll get there” and behind it is the knowledge that no one loves you more or would give more for you.
This is a beautiful chapter, hard to follow without explanation. God cares and is strong enough to give himself for you without flinching at the pain of sacrifice.