Feasting with God #37
Sustained with a Word
Text: Isaiah 50:4
4The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
An interesting thing I’ve noticed when people become Christians, they become intimately concerned with the salvation of others: they want their loved ones, friends and family, to be saved as they are, to taste the sweet Gospel with which they have been nourished. And the most blessed fact is this: this nourishment is designed to be shared.
The prophet Isaiah rejoices that God has given him “the tongue of those who are taught.” An interesting poetic turn of phrase, that. Many of us may remember in elementary school how our teachers would convince us that if our mouths were open, that meant that our ears were closed. This was a way of teaching us the wisdom of listening before we speak. This is all-important, if we are to speak with any authority on a subject. If we are to contribute anything worthwhile to a conversation, we must first listen, we must first be taught. This is true for our earthly relationships and worldly subjects, and it is doubly true for heavenly things.
How can we presume to speak about godly truths if we haven’t learned them from God? How can we lead the blind if we ourselves are blind? How can we feed the starving if we are exhausted by our own hunger? It’s as they tell you on an airplane when the oxygen masks drop down: first attach your own mask, then help your neighbor. If you want to lift someone up from a precarious position, you’ll want to be sure that the ground you’re standing on is firm.
So before we tell anyone else the truth, we have to know the truth. So with the prophet Isaiah we find the best practice to be: “Morning by morning he awakens…my ear / to hear as those who are taught.” So take Paul’s advice to the Philippians: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). The greatest earthly teachers are those who are humble enough to be taught. This, as well, is doubly true for those who teach heavenly things. When we allow God to teach us, then we can be certain of what we learn, and therefore also certain of what we teach.
Rejoice to be taught the Word of God, which grants you the faith to believe that your sins have been paid for by his Son on the cross. These words are sustenance for life here in time and hereafter in eternity. And the miraculous thing is that this Word not only sustains us, but it causes our cup to run over so abundantly that we are able to share with others and “to sustain with a word him who is weary.” Thank God for this wonderful gift!
Awaken our ears, O Lord, and cause us to come continually with all humility back to your Word where we can learn of our salvation and be sustained for our eternal life. Lead us then also to speak what we have learned with others, to sustain them with the same Word. Grant us true thankfulness for so great a gift, and cause us to never despise this Word. In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.