Isaiah 50:4-9a (NRSV)
Verse 4The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens- wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. Verse 5The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. Verse 6I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. Verse 7The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; Verse 8he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. Verse 9It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.
There are so many voices and so many words echoing around us these days. Social media, cable news, podcasts, traditional media—all expand the reach and volume of words. Everyone, it seems, has something to say. Isaiah makes a daring claim—that God has opened his ears so that he may speak what God has to say. What’s more, Isaiah is confident God’s speech will be effective—to teach, to sustain, to help. Can we dare to make that claim when we speak? What words are waking you up to listen? I don’t suppose many of us hear an actual voice, but there are Godly words you can claim, like Isaiah. What are the content and shape of God’s words? Scripture demonstrates they wouldn’t be rebellious or insulting or shaming. They would be kind, graceful, loving—they’d be shaped like Jesus.
Lord, help us listen for and speak words shaped by Jesus. Stand us up together so that our words may sustain, comfort, and help all those who hear us. Amen.