October 17, 2013

Isaiah 50:4 The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

I have loved this verse for a long time because it is so descriptive of my own experience. Right there some people would say that I am being conceited at best and blasphemous at worst, because this is clearly a Messianic Scripture. However, I would beg to differ. I’ve been conceited, so I know what it feels like! Rather, I am convinced that this is part of the “being conformed to the likeness of Christ” (Romans 8:29) that Paul talked about. It is helpful to see that the Japanese translates this as “the tongue of a disciple/apprentice” and “listen like a disciple/apprentice.” God wants all of us both to speak and to listen as disciples of His Son. The job of an apprentice is essentially imitation, watching the master and doing what he does after him. Isn’t that what we are called to do as Christians? Jesus said not only that He was sending us as He was sent, (John 20:21) but that those who followed Him in faith would do what He did on this earth, and even greater things. (John 14:12) Understanding that, we see that every Christian is to be an expression of Christ, which is essentially what the word “Christian” means.

The particular part of this verse that resonates most with me is the line, “wakens me morning by morning.” I honestly can’t remember when I last used an alarm clock. The thing that gets me out of bed in the morning, more than anything else, is spending time with my Lord through His Word. I’m totally addicted! However, that is nothing more than a self-centered indulgence if I fail to express to others the truth that God opens up to me. God’s love and grace are multiplied when we transmit them, but they wither up when we fail to do so. It’s like electricity: voltage is merely potential; real work is done when that potential is allowed to flow (amperage). Someone could have great potential, but until they allow that to flow through them, then nothing is really accomplished. Wattage, the measure of electrical work done, is the product of volts X amps. A person could have low potential, but if they let that flow fully, they could be much higher “wattage” than a person with much greater potential who doesn’t let it flow. I am to let God’s love and grace flow through me as unhindered as possible. Resistance to electrical current produces heat, which most of the time is wasted energy. I don’t want to “waste” the power of God! As a pastor, I am charged not only with practicing this myself, I am to teach others to practice it as well. God wants us all to be “high amperage” Christians!

Well, Father, I said last night that unless You showed me something strongly this morning, I was going to preach on a particular topic Sunday. It looks like You’ve given me a different sermon! Thank You. Help me not only get this into useful notes right now, but also communicate it effectively on Sunday. Thank You for Your amazing faithfulness to speak to me morning by morning, just as this verse says. May I indeed encourage others with the words You give me, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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