Songs of the Servant: "My Face Like a Flint"

Nate Saint was a missionary pilot to Ecuador in the 1950’s and one of the five missionaries who were killed by the Auca Indians in their attempt to reach the Huaroni people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He and the others were killed on January 8, 1956.  He once wrote that his life did not really change until he had come to grips with the idea that “obedience is not a momentary option… it is a die-cast decision made beforehand.”   I suspect that experience and axiom are true for all of us.  Certainly our Savior had made such a die-cast decision to be obedient to His Father when He came here.  And He calls us to do the same.  And as we well know, unreserved obedience to the Lord can and often does lead to suffering for His name’s sake.  Jesus’ absolute obedience to His Father led to the cross.  

This week we will look at the third of Isaiah’s four Songs of the Servant and once again we hear the voice of the Servant, Jesus.  This Song is the most autobiographical of the four and as one old scholar put it, “The Servant of Jehovah affords us a deep insight into His hidden life.”  There is a heart-inspiring picture of Jesus here, but there is also one that is heart-rending.  And both images are dramatically fulfilled in Jesus’ life as recorded in the Gospels.  The die-cast obedience of Jesus led to suffering among men, but vindication by God.  And what becomes abundantly clear in this Song is that a man’s eternal destiny is determined by how he responds to this obedient, but suffering Servant of the Lord. 

Read Isaiah 50:4-11 twice and carefully.  The questions below are designed to help you meditate on this Song of the Servant.   

1.    As you listen to Jesus reveal Himself in verses 4-5, how would you describe Him?  What is He like?  
•    Can you think of examples from the Gospels in which Jesus sustained the weary with a word (v. 4)?  Recall Isaiah 42:3?
•    Why did Jesus have to hear from the Lord morning by morning?  (Mark 1:35-39; John 5:19; 8:28; 12:49; 17:8)    

2.    Where did the Servant’s obedience to the Lord lead Him according to verse 6?  
•    Was Jesus a passive victim to suffering or was He in control?  What do you think?
•    Can you find accounts in the Gospels in which we read about these things happening to Jesus?
•    Why did Jesus suffer so?  

3.    How would you describe Jesus’ attitude in the midst of suffering (v. 7)?
•    What do you think it meant for Jesus to “set my face like a flint”?  (cf. Luke 9:51)
•    How does this apply to your life?

4.    Verses 8-9 employ legal language, the kind of language we would hear in a courtroom.  How do you picture what is going on here?  (Consider John 8:46)
•    What is the solid rock upon which Jesus stands in verse 8 and 9?  
•    There is an interesting parallel for us in Romans 8:31-34.  What do you think about that? 
•    What happens to Jesus’ adversaries (v. 9)?   

5.    Look closely at verses 10-11.  What is Jesus saying to us here?  What does light represent (v. 10), and what do fire and torches stand for (v. 11)?  (Remember John 8:12 and 12:35-36)
•    What does these verses tell us about the destiny of every person?  

6.    What did you learn about Jesus in this Song, and what stood out to you the most about Him? 
•    In what way would you like to be more like Him?

7.    Did you find any comfort or encouragement in this Song?  If so, what?  If not, why not? 

May God be with you, 

Dan