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.
The Servant is sent by God to the people in exile. God has given the Servant just what the people need: words “to sustain the weary;” a listening ear; perseverance; resilience in the face of insults, assault, and opposition, coming from the very people he came to serve.
Where does he get this strength? “The LORD God helps me,” the Servant confesses.
If it seems that the forces of darkness are always in your face, at least you know you’re going the right way. You know that the LORD God, who sent you, will never stop helping you. You may even learn that the angry ones are just weary to the bone. They might even hear the word you offer—and be sustained.
God, you have given me a mouth and ears, and people to serve. Help me to be faithful, knowing that you keep me safe, give me all your grace. Amen.