Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Isaiah 52:13 - This Deserves Attention

"Behold, My servant will prosper."

God's Focal Point is the Cross

"Behold" (Heb. HINNEH, הנה) is a call to attention. It means, "look over here!" It is not by mistake that this eye-catching term opens the greatest prophetic picture of Christ in the Old Testament, for God is ever drawing our attention back to His Son, and to the cross. In this series, we are endeavoring to pay heed to that call.

Christ's Mission was to Serve

"My Servant" (Heb. EBED, עבד) identifies Christ as God's servant, the One who obediently accomplishes His will. To save us, God did not send an army, a team of doctors, a professor, a scientist, or a politician. He sent a Servant who obeyed His will. The world vainly looks for salvation in the knowledge and power of its experts, most of whom are decidedly out of step with God's revealed will. But He offers salvation freely through the humble obedience of His Servant.

Philippians 2:6-8 ... although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Mark 10:45 "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Jesus was Wise and Successful in His Work

"Prosper" - Heb. SAKHAL, שכל (occurs 63 times in the OT) = "to be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand, prosper ... to have insight ... to prosper, have success." (Brown-Driver-Briggs), "to be succussful (in carrying anything on), to act prosperously." (Gesenius), "... never concerns abstract prudence, but acting prudently." (Unger/White), "... relates to an intelligent knowledge of the reason." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament). The semantic range of this word describes the relationship between wisdom and success. It can be used for the wisdom that leads to success, or for the success that was accomplished by using the wisdom. Hence, it stands for wise administration, insightful management, or an intelligent handling of a complex situation.

The world has its own ideas of success, but Jesus Christ is the supreme example of understanding and accomplishment. He is wise in all His actions and effective in all His works. His success cannot be thwarted by any opponent. Jesus vindicated God's "upside-down" wisdom by achieving His mission through the undervalued qualities of servanthood: humility and obedience. His acts depended upon the Father's blessing and faithfulness, so His success was guaranteed. Yet His mission was accomplished through affliction, surrender and self-sacrifice. Indeed, "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men " (I Cor. 1:25)

I Cor. 1:30-31 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

Focusing on the wisdom of Christ in His attitude, acts and accomplishments is the great remedy to being "wise in your own eyes." Let us pay attention to this, becoming deliberately cross-centered in all we do. And let us imitate the cross-wise approach to success and prosperity modeled by our Lord in His servanthood.

Matthew 26:24 "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."

To be a cross-bearing, self-relinquishing, others-serving, Christ-following disciple - that is true prosperity. Dear friend, do you wish to come after Him?

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