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The Mission of the Servant

(Isaiah 49:1-7)

Lesson 7 -- first quarter 1996
January 14, 1996

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1995, Christian Light Publications

We humans tend to focus on feelings. We feel up or we feel down. We feel good or we feel bad. We feel great or we feel bum. We feel worth more than all the gold in South Africa's mines or we feel worth no more than all the gold in our pockets. We feel successful or we feel like failures. Yes, feelings matter a lot to us. Did they to the Lord Jesus?

It seems to me that one implication of Hebrews 4:15 is that Jesus had to deal with His feelings also. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Of His agony in the garden, I get the impression that God-in-the-Flesh battled with feelings of dread and fear of what lay before Him. And what shall we make in this context of His cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

As Jesus hung there on the cross, can we imagine what His flesh and His Enemy said to Him? "What a glorious mission to have come to such an ignominious ending! One of your chosen ones betrayed you for a few coins. Another one denied you. Most of the others ran away. And the one down there at the foot of the cross you can only entrust with the temporal care of your mother. These are the ones you hand-picked for special training! Who will carry on for you? You lost!" Is it possible that verse four of our lesson text is talking precisely about this?! If the Lord's flesh indeed insisted all had been in vain, we are confident that in His spirit He knew otherwise. According to verses five and six, He rested in absolute confidence in the promises of the Eternal One.

How shall we deal with our feelings? We gain nothing by denying them, but we lose a lot by paying them much attention. Like the Lord, we need to acknowledge our feelings before the Father and then, by an act of will and spirit, put those feelings in total subjection to the Father. We do not live on the basis of how we feel, but on the basis of what God ordains. Therefore, though it seems I have "spent my strength for nought," I will remember that "my God shall be my strength." Though I feel like "I have laboured in vain," I will trust in God Who has given me for a light to others. In considering my feelings, I will try to remember that they are always suspect and subjective, but "surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with God." I purpose to be the faithful servant; let Him be the Judge.

Look at the first two verses of the lesson text. Can you believe that God planned you? Perhaps you learned once upon a time that your conception was an "accident." Or maybe your birth parents rejected you. You may even be the result of an immoral relationship. Another possibility is that you have physical, mental or emotional restrictions. Maybe your life just doesn't seem to have purpose and design. Can you say in faith, "From the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name"?

I like the word picture in verse two. God has made me to be His arrow. And a polished arrow at that! He has hidden me in His quiver. I am one among many. Where do I fit? What will I ever be good for? Nobody seems to notice me or care about me. But the Archer knows all about me, knows right where I am, and has a unique mission for me. As He shaped me, He designed me according to that mission. Everything in my life has been used by Him to prepare me for the successful execution of that mission. Do I have a lot against me? Not if I stay in the Archer's quiver at His disposal!!

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