For Advent this year, Evergreen Presbyterian is focusing on the four servant songs in Isaiah. The text for week three comes out of Isaiah 50: "The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word" (verse 4).
By means of introduction, this chapter's servant defines themselves as having been empowered by God, thereby shifting any adoration back to God: "The
has given me...".
Second, they use words to minister; they are a teacher and an encourager. But this is no ordinary teacher; essentially, they are guide for those in Babylonian exile ("the weary") who are trying to extract themselves from Babylon and figure out a way home to the Promised Land.
As in all the "servant songs," the identity of the servant is ambiguous, and that ambiguity may help us see ourselves in the story. In this case, do you identify with the servant? Are you someone gifted by God with a ministry of words who teaches and sustains others? What kind of obstacles do you face in ministry? Have you experienced God's reliability and faithfulness? Or, perhaps you identify with "the weary". What is your Babylon? Is there anything which feels like it is trying to supplant your identity as a child of God? Are you having trouble finding a way to extract yourself from it?
Wherever you find yourself in the story, the passage points to how "the Lord God helps me..." and "he who vindicates me is near."
May you experience the deliverance of
Servant during this Advent season whether you're
servant or the weary, for
~ God is with us.
Rev. Jenni Bales
Director of Communications
Presbytery of San Jose