“Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.” (Isaiah 49:1-4)
The inspired words of the prophet Isaiah 49:1-4—who by the Spirit, spake of the Christ who was to come, as Peter tells us (1 Pet. 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:24)—here describe Him as the Servant of Jehovah, whose mouth was made like unto a “sharp sword.” He is said to be hid in the shadow of Jehovah’s hand, ready for His use, and as a “polished shaft in His quiver,” ever at hand always fit to be used by Him in mercy or in judgment. This place of high honour belongs to the Lord Jesus, Jehovah’s perfect Servant, alone. He only of all the sons of men God calls us to “Behold,” for His alone was a perfect service, as His was a faithful witness-bearing (Rev. 1:5). Everywhere and always, He was well pleasing to God. For in that service of His, He was always “upheld” by His God, and in Him; and in it whose it was, God ever had His infinite delight (Isa. 42:1).
This is wonderful. Men might and did slight His service. His kinsfolk might say He was “beside Himself” (Mark 4:21), and His enemies attribute His works to Satanic power (v. 22), but to God it was ever a “delight,” and all His doings were well-pleasing unto Him (Matt. 3:17). So far as men could see, its present results were small indeed. According to man’s reckoning He had “laboured in vain,” and spent His strength “for nought.” Yet we know from ten thousand witnesses that “whatsoever He did prospered” (Ps. 1:3), as a heaven filled with ransomed sinners—the fruits of His toil—will yet gloriously proclaim to wondering worlds.
Yes, Christ was the Perfect Servant, ever at hand and ever ready to be used by God, in the fulfilling of His purposes of grace and in the execution of His counsels of mercy among the sons of men. For He was always ready, always fit, as a “polished shaft,” ever hid in Jehovah’s quiver for His use. And He is the same ready Servant still. While there is a convicted sinner to be saved, and a needy saint to be supplied, the Christ of God, the glorified Son and Servant, is ever at God’s right hand, and ever available to be used by God in such ministry as His children and His Church require, all the way, and all the days of their sojourn here. And as it is God’s delight to use Him, and His delight to be used in such service, so let it be our constant habit and the attitude of our souls to look to Him, to receive from Him that which He well knows how best to bestow, and through what channels to allow it to reach us. For as Servant and Source of supply, He delights to be used, to meet all His people’s need.
And this same perfect Servant is His people’s Exemplar, their Pattern to copy. If the believer yields himself up to God, and lays himself out in service for God, he must be found in the right place, “hid in the shadow of God’s hand,” and in the right condition, “hid like a polished shaft in His quiver,” always ready and always in condition, fit for God to use. Be this the attitude and this the condition of all who seek and expect to be sent on God’s errands and used in His “honourable and glorious” (Ps. 140:3) work among the sons of men. And be it ever remembered, that a right spiritual condition and a place of nearness to God are of greater account in heaven, and for service in the kingdom or the church of God, than any great measure of gift and high attainments in knowledge. For it is an “open secret” to all who stand in God’s counsel, and are familiar with His ways, that the saint who abides under the shadow of the Almighty (Ps. 91:1), the servant who makes it his chief business to watch at His gates daily (Prov. 8:34), ready to run at His call, and in condition as well as at hand to fulfil His Lord’s commandments, and so approximate to the character and example of God’s perfect Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be often employed in the Royal Service, and honoured by his heavenly Master in His workings here.
Article series: Our Glorious LordGod's Master-Workman The Despised and Rejected One
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