Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God. But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment (Isaiah 50:10-11 NLT).
Friend to Friend
I knew something was off. I couldn’t state any particular sin or wrongdoing, but I didn’t feel good about the growing exclusivity among my friends. I remember a day at the local pool when one of them threw a towel onto the chair next to me as a woman who had visited our church entered the pool. My friend said, “I hope she doesn’t think she can sit with us every day.” My jaw nearly dropped. I also noticed conversations crossing the line into gossip more and more frequently.
After months of neglecting to address these issues directly, a huge blow-up occurred with these same friends and ended over a decade of relationships. My choice to participate in gossip didn’t bring consequences right away. However, pain eventually reached both the gossipers and their verbal victims. I found myself in both categories and mourned over my decisions and the painful losses associated with them.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us that even when we don’t immediately experience painful effects, sin is serious. The nation of Israel rebelled by chasing other gods over the course of many years. They likely thought they were getting away with it, but Isaiah warned that they would experience discipline when taken into exile in Babylon.
While sin’s connection with suffering can be a deterrent in our lives, its threat isn’t enough to keep us away from it. We need divine assistance in order to obey God’s commands. Isaiah spoke harshly about Israel’s rebellion and consequences of sin in Isaiah 50:1-3, but then recorded a Servant Song – one of four poems in the prophetic book foretelling the Messiah as a Servant.
Christ, the Servant, delivers God’s people from sin. God knows we can’t overcome sin without His help. He is on our side in the battle against sin! Four times in this passage the Servant used the name Adonai Yahweh – Sovereign Lord. By using the name Adonai (Master) and Yahweh (the personal name for God) together, we see an emphasis on God’s role as a master to be obeyed who also longs to have a personal relationship with us.
The Servant obeyed fully but still suffered a criminal’s death on the cross. Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we must deny ourselves and take up our own cross. (Matthew 16:24) He isn’t asking us to literally die, but to choose to die to our own desires, our own sins, so that we can live for Him.
If we believe this, our faith takes over our entire lives – our words, attitudes, and actions are shaped by God’s Word on every subject. We stop trusting our own definitions or expectations of what is right and wrong and submit to His.
When we follow the Servant, we are inspired to emulate Him.
Isaiah ends the poem with today’s truth: “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God. But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment’” (Isaiah 50:10-11 NLT).
Right on the heels of the call to trust and rely on God comes a strong warning against living in our own light and warming ourselves by our own fires.
We can trust God’s commands, which means leaning into God’s Word rather than our own understanding. Inspired by The Servant, Jesus Christ, and His perfectly lived life, we lay down our lives, take up our crosses, and stop ignoring the Bible. Submit fully to God’s commands.
In a world full of blurred lines, the Lord calls us to humbly trust His definition of sin and righteousness. We can do this when we make His Servant, Jesus, our safe place and press into Him with confidence.
Lord, thank You for reminding me of sin’s serious consequences. I want to turn from sin and turn toward You. Thank You for sending Jesus to rescue me from sin. I want to trust You more – to rely on You by pressing into our relationship with my face set like stone – totally focused on loving You. Give me the discernment to see Your heart behind Your instructions.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
In what area of your life is the Lord calling you away from striving in human effort and toward reliance on Him??
More from the Girlfriends
Check out Melissa’s new Bible study titled Isaiah: Striving Less and Trusting God More for an in-depth study of the book of Isaiah.
(As an Amazon Associate, Girlfriends in God earns A SMALL COMMISSION from qualifying purchases using this paid link.)
© 2023 by Melissa Spoelstra. All rights reserved.