“I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord God helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. ” (Isaiah 50:6–7, NASB95)
Verse 6 above is another Messianic prophecy. It describes in pretty specific detail some of the suffering Jesus would go through the Friday of His crucifixion. This morning I would like to contrast that with the next verse which describes the resolve Jesus had as He set His face toward Jerusalem. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Messiah says, “For the Lord God helps Me, therefore I am not disgraced!” How can He have this perspective when in the verse above He is being scourged, beaten, spit on, and having His beard pulled out? How can it get more humiliating? Where is God amidst all this suffering and shame? Ever felt like your life was being lived 180 degrees from your faith and hope? Jesus had prayed that this cup be taken from Him and His heavenly Father’s answer was “No!” Have you ever prayed that the Lord would see you through something and it appeared He didn’t answer because you weren’t delivered from your situation?
It is these moments that really challenge our faith. Here we are believing and doing all the right things as a Christian and the results we are getting are not at all what we expected. One is tempted to abandon the faith and determine that God is either deaf to hear us, or worse, doesn’t care to deliver us. Have you ever been there in your walk with God? I have! The question I kept asking myself was, “What should I abandon my faith to?” What is the other alternative? I could leave God and trust in myself, but that has never gotten me anywhere. I could abandon my faith and turn to another religion, but would the gods of those other religions provide me a message of redemption? I could abandon my faith and turn to this world, but it is this world that is providing me my source of suffering. You see, there is nowhere else to turn. We may not understand at the moment what God is doing, but it is He that is active.
Like Jesus, we have to set our face like flint and be resolute in our walk with God. We need to trust Him even when He is not making sense to us. We need to trust that even in our suffering He can bring about good for us and for His Kingdom. We need to be assured that in the end we will not be put to shame. The Lord is, and will be, our strength and our help.