Introduction: Stumbling in the darkness
Stumbling in the dark
Walking in the bush after a bushfire
Israel was like this in exile. As much as their stupidity (and sinfulness) got them in their exile.
Darkness and exile
Darkness: ch. 48 – past sin of Israel is still a present reality.
The Servant’s faithfulness (vv. 4-5) (Servant speaking – vv. 1-3 were God)
Servant of the Word
He has an instructed tongue. Speaks word of comfort, sustains the weary (The Lord gives His strength to the weary, ch. 48 – Servant with the word is sustaining the weary).
Israel is given word of comfort to sustain it – A PROMISE as Israel is not yet released.
The word in Hebrew for the word of the Servant, and "taught" in 54:13 is the same.
Faithfulness and the darkness
v. 5: Israel is sinful, but the Servant does not turn back. So there must have been a threat in result of this Word for the Servant to turn from.
The faithfulness of the Servant brings about the darkness (on him). His message of comfort leads to him suffering and distress.
Word/God wakens him – word controls his very being, it shapes him and all he is and does.
He receives the word (v. 5). He gets a taught tongue, then teaches, speaks.
The Servant’s fate (vv. 6-9) Psalms – distress etc. lie behind this. Also a law court setting.
Law and (dis)order
v. 6: Describes suffering. Punishment as one judged guilty. The Servant accepts the punishment, does not escape YET INNOCENT – looks like he’s accepted ‘his guilt’.
Despised and rejected by people
Surface picture of servant’s guilt – yet all is actually the opposite of how it seems.
Vindicated by God
God is the Servant’s ‘surprise witness’.
He does not hide from disgrace, yet God is with him, his advocate, so his case is assured, no disgrace in the end.
Servant faith? (vv. 10-11)
Asking are we like this?
(v. 10: "that", line 10, is ambiguous – refers to who?)
Exile and the kindling of lights, the lights of destruction
Servant in faithfulness knows darkness, humiliation..
Israel in exile is a bit like this. Israel in exile lit their own fires to light up the darkness, but their torches (self-reliance, self-confidence – all unfaithful) consumed and killed them.
The alternative – Servant faith and God’s light
The Servant lives faithfully in the darkness waiting for God to deliver him.
Fear of the Lord is connected with obeying the word of the servant. Endure the darkness and trust YHWH, become like the Servant and hear the word and allow it to shape you and your existence. The Servant is a model of following YHWH in darkness.
Conclusion: Walking in darkness.
Darkness and faith – Then and now
The Servant gives an example of true faith in darkness
Faithfulness and ministry can lead to failure and shame… but stick with it, don’t give up or change the message. Darkness can be an opportunity for faith. Embracing weakness leads to the success of the Word – Servant does so and accepts suffering.
Our living, waiting for final redemption, enduring (Romans 8, 1Peter 2:18-25).
Don’t change the ‘darkness of the gospel’ for the light the world has to offer – Very pattern of what Jesus did – a model.
Wait in the darkness until Christ comes to lead us out of the darkness. Seems dark, actually the light of life.