It is too light a thing that you should be my servant

to raise up the tribes of Jacob

and to bring back the preserved of Israel;

I will make you as a light for the nations,

that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.

Isaiah 49: 6

 

These are the words of the Lord as He speaks to His servant Isaiah. The Lord is sending Isaiah out to engage in the redemptive mission that is at the heart of His divine will. Redemption for all of creation is what God seeks, and the Lord has equipped Isaiah for engaging in this work. The servant has been granted understanding and wisdom, strength and courage, and a heart that is both righteous and merciful. Now God calls upon Isaiah to use these gifts as he engages with the people of his own lands and with those from others.

 

Although Isaiah was specifically called as a prophet to Israel in his time and place, I don’t think that God’s message to him was exclusively for then or about that setting. We may not have had experiences exactly like Isaiah’s, but God has called anyone who has responded to Christ into service to Him. Also, we have been equipped for that commission. In fact, we have more available to us today than did Isaiah in his; for, we have God’s written word with the full narrative of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit to inform our understanding and to help guide our journey.

 

So, I think that you and I are tasked by the Lord with continuing His work of redemption in our world. This calling encompasses all of creation from my family and neighbors to people who are far away and very different in customs and in beliefs. It also covers my approach to the environment and to the resources that God has placed on this earth. Christ has granted redemption to me, and He continues to do His redemptive work in me. Now He calls upon me to engage with all others in a manner that places Christ in front of me and that always sees and values them as He does.

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The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Luke 4: 18, 19

 

Ancient words from God that were delivered by the prophet Isaiah to ears that refused to truly hear; then, lifted from the shelf, unrolled and spoken by the only person who not only understood them in their totality but who was, indeed, their original author. Jesus spoke to audiences in His homeland that were stunned by the living truth of ideas and thoughts that had seemed to be more distant hope than present reality.

 

Jesus comes to our world and brings the same refreshing perspective to these texts that God spoke through people who are long dead. Christ now brings their truth to us in our present reality. Just as there were multitudes of poor, needy, and desperate people in the times of Isaiah and those of Jesus, our modern and progressive world has gained nothing in its riches and empowerment of the individual. Regardless of where, how or to whom we are born, we all come into this life with nothing. We are all enslaved and blinded. Everyone exists under the oppressive authority of evil that leads to nothing other than death.

 

God intended for everyone to live, to see, and to have absolute freedom. He mourns for what has become of the beautiful children that He created, and He was determined from the very start of it all to do something about the pervasive sadness of sin that holds people in bondage. Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, our Savior brings to vitality the truth of God’s desires for each of us He provides the answer to all that is broken and diseased in our lives. For in and through Christ we are set free, given the ability to see the deep truths of God, and we are healed from the debilitating ravages of sin that hold us down and defeat our hearts.

 

For the scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:11

 

The Apostle Paul quotes the Prophet Isaiah and speaks to a fundamental concern that people have had forever. We get so caught up in trying to always be right that we don’t do what is most needful in order to live right. We are focused on the risk of disappointment, on becoming disenchanted, and on our image with others; so, we don’t want to put all of our trust and the totality of our reliance on God. Yet, He does respond to everything that we need, and He does it in a manner that is both constant and consistent. Everyone and everything else that I have ever relied on has had its moments of failure or disappointment. Christ has never come up short for me.

 

When these writers speak about believing, they are not talking about just recognizing the existence of God, and they are not even considering that this means the mere acceptance of Jesus as Savior; although, that is a part of what Paul is saying. They are telling us that the path to a day by day life that is lived in confident victory over all of the aspects of slavery that evil tries to bind us into is paved with our own acceptance of Christ as Lord of our lives. When Jesus is the true center of existence, there is no longer any shame. There is only a continual path that leads deeper and further into His glory. The rub for me and for most people is in setting and maintaining Christ in that position as lord and master of all of my life. Yet there is no one and nothing that I can surrender all to who will love and care for me perfectly and totally.

 

Christ is the sort of loving master who frees us to be and to do what we have been given gifts, talents, and interests in. He desires for each of us to utilize our individuality in engaging our world by serving the needs of others. Believing means doing, it means turning over control, and it means acceptance of the outcome regardless of our own anticipation. When we believe, we know that God will always take us where He needs for us to go, and He will always lead us to places where we will be able to show someone else the way to victory over life through Christ. When we trust God and allow Him to direct, lead, and empower our daily lives, there is absolutely no way that we will be left alone wondering why we made that choice. To quote the voices of ancient wisdom, “We will not be put to shame.”