The Surrendered Servant
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to Isaiah, chapter 50, and follow as we read, beginning with verse 1:

Isaiah 50

1Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
2Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst.
3I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.
4The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.
5The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
7For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
8He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.
9Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.
10Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.
11Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

You will recall that in this section of the book of Isaiah, we are studying what we refer to as the Servant passages of Scripture, of which there are four in number. The Servant is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, so these are Old Testament pictures of Jesus Christ. We come now to the third of the four Servant passages which are presented in this particular portion.

If you noticed carefully as we read the chapter, you probably realized that the word servant is mentioned only one time in the chapter and that is in verse 10, where we read:

Isaiah 50

10Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant…

The servant of verse 10 is the servant of the entire chapter, the servant the Lord Jesus Christ. We have looked at the various portraits of the servant presented up to this time, and we have given them a name. We will not take the time to review, but we would remind you that we are looking at the surrendered Servant . The Lord willing, the next picture at which we will be looking is the suffering Servant .

Sin Built a Barrier Between God and His People

The chapter begins in a rather strange way. God, or the Lord Jesus Christ, or the entire Godhead, is addressing the nation of Israel, and saying to the nation of Israel, “Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement whom I have put away?” Or, “To which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you?”

These may seem like rather strange questions, but they won't seem so strange if you keep in mind that in our last lesson we had a prophecy that the nation of Israel would be so blessed of God that in chapter 49, verse 23, kings would be her nursing fathers and queens would be her nursing mothers. But, as the nation of Israel, at the particular time of which this prophecy speaks, looked at her life, she couldn't understand how that could be because she was not returned to the city of Zion in glory. She was exiled from the city of Zion. She was not being cared for by kings and queens; she was in slavery of various types throughout the entire world. She couldn't understand the reason for it. God was speaking to her as a nation as He often does to individuals, and He was asking a question—not so much that He expected an answer, but asking a question in order to provoke thought.

Do you remember when God came down to the garden of Eden in the cool of the day, as the Scripture puts it? Adam and Eve had sinned and had hidden themselves. He said, “Adam, where art thou?” Now, God is the omniscient God. He knows everything. He knew where Adam was. He could have walked right over and put His finger on him, but He said, “Where are you, Adam?” He wanted Adam to come forward with an answer, recognizing his sin.”

He used a twofold question to deal with the nation of Israel at this particular time. The first question is, “Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement?” The word mother is used symbolically, and it is a reference to the city of Jerusalem, for they often spoke of Jerusalem as their mother.

We have somewhat the same practice today. We speak of our mother country if we are traveling abroad. They spoke of Jerusalem as the mother city, and so God, who looked upon Israel as His wife, because she was the chosen race, said, “You act like I have divorced your mother. If I have, where is the bill of divorcement? Produce it if you can.”

Why did they think He had divorced their mother? Because they were in such sad condition. He said, “If you think that I am to blame, show me the bill of divorcement. Where is it?” Of course, they couldn't produce it. Then He asked them another question. He said, “To whom of My creditors have I sold you?” Of course, in both of these instances He was referring to an Old Testament practice. If a man divorced his wife, according to Deuteronomy, chapter 25, he had to write out a bill of divorcement, listing all the things that were wrong with her and why he divorced her. He couldn't divorce her unless he did. Also, in the Old Testament, if a man got in debt to a great extent where he wasn't able to pay his bills, he could sell his children or his wife, as the case may be, into slavery to satisfy the demands of his creditors. The nation of Israel's being in slavery seemed to them as if God had utterly forsaken them. So, He said to them, “All right, if I have sold you into slavery, you name My creditors. Do I owe so much that I have to sell you?”

Since they were not able to answer the questions, He gave the answer in the last part of verse 1. He said:

Isaiah 50

1…Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

He is saying, “No, I didn't divorce your mother because I didn't want to live with her. Your transgressions have caused the separation. I haven't sold you into the hands of creditors because there was a debt that I couldn't pay. You have sold yourselves because of your sins.”

He is saying that sin has built a barrier between God and His people. That is true, not only of Israel, it is true of any nation and it certainly is true of individuals. May I pause long enough to ask you if there is a barrier between you and God? Have you let the wall build up? Are the transgressions there? Break down the wall today, if such a wall there be, so that your communion will not be broken.

The Humility of the Surrendered Lord

We are dealing with the nation of Israel in a very special way. God not only speaks of general sins when He speaks of the nation of Israel, He always deals with a special sin. That is the reason, if we believe our Bibles, that we cannot go along with these people who say that the Jew is no more guilty in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ than any other people. They are! You say, “Now, let's not get all stirred up and have racial strife.” Beloved, we cannot deny the truth for the sake of peace. The Bible says that they must face their iniquity as a nation. That iniquity was the rejection of their Messiah, the Son of the living God. That is the reason, in verse 2, He pinpoints the sin, and says:

Isaiah 50

2Wherefore, when I came, was there no man…

Literally, He is saying, “Wherefore when I came, was there no man to greet Me?” Then He asks another question: “When I called, was there none to answer when I extended My call of welcome? Was no one interested?”

The sad story is that nationwide there was no one interested. Individually yes, but nationwide no one was interested. We have emphasized to you before that that is the reason John could say in his Gospel, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.”

The Lord Jesus Christ, in verse 2, said, “Why? Why didn't anyone come to greet Me?” You see, Isaiah is speaking of a future day, even as far as we are concerned, when he speaks of the tribulation that is to come because of their rejection of their Messiah. He said to them, “Why? Why when I came was there no one to greet Me? Why, when I called out did no one answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem, or have I no power to deliver? Did you not welcome Me because you thought that I was powerless? Did you not welcome Me because you thought I could not do the great and mighty things of God?”

If they were to have answered that question, they would have said, “Yes. Yes, that is why we did not welcome You. That is why we did not receive You. We didn't think that You were the omnipotent God.” He said, “Ah, but I was. I am the One who dries up the sea and dries up the rivers and causes the fish to die. I am the One who performs the mighty miracles. I am the One who closed the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.” They might have said to Him, “If you are the One who is so powerful, why didn't we understand it?”

We are in the very heart of this third servant poem presented in the book of Isaiah, for in the paragraph which begins with verse 4 and concludes with verse 9, we are going to have the threefold characteristic of the word servant, as it is presented in this portion of the Word. How are we going to notice Him first? First we are going to notice that the surrendered Servant had the tongue of the student. You say, “Now wait. Aren't we talking about the Lord Jesus Christ?” Yes, we are. “Why are we talking about Him as a student?” Because, Beloved, we are talking about the Lord Jesus Christ in His humiliation. Will you remember that He took upon Himself the form of a man, and He became in fashion as a man? He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. That is the picture that Isaiah is presenting here—the humanity of the surrendered Lord.

The Tongue of a Student

Why do I use the word surrendered ? Because the Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily laid aside His glory which He had with the Father, before the world was, and became the obedient servant with a threefold characteristic to which I have just referred. He had the tongue of a student. Why do I say that? Look at verse 4. This is a lovely verse, because the Lord Jesus Christ has left an example for all of us to follow. I do not know of a more wonderful example that we could follow than this one that is set here. Jesus said:

Isaiah 50

4The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

Notice the word learned , twice repeated in that verse, as I remind you that it comes from the Hebrew word limmud . It is translated by the word “disciple,” “learner,” or “one who is taught.” As a matter of fact, in the book of Isaiah, chapter 8, verse 16, you will find some instructions Isaiah gave when he said:

Isaiah 8

16Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

The word disciples in verse 16 is this Hebrew word limmud , and it is translated “learned” in Isaiah, chapter 50, and “disciples” in Isaiah, chapter 8. What is it we are thinking about? That our precious Lord, the Son of God, humbled Himself to become a student. He humbled Himself to become a learner. He humbled Himself to become a disciple, as His disciples sat at His feet and learned of Him.

Christ Learned How to Speak

Get this: The Lord Jesus Christ sat at the feet of His Father and learned as a disciple learns. I'm sure that there were many things that He learned, but He emphasizes two of them here, and the two are built around two words. One of the words is how and another is when . It is all in relation to the use of the tongue. Look at verse 4 again:

Isaiah 50

4The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word…

There is the word how . It may be difficult for us to realize it, but the Bible declares that the Lord Jesus Christ, when He took upon Himself the form of a man, set up an everlasting example. He took time to learn how to speak. I don't think we are talking about eloquence here. I don't think we are talking about diction. I think we are talking about wisdom in presenting the truth. The Holy Spirit of God said that you and I as disciples of this present age should learn to speak the truth. Somebody said, “That's right. We ought to always speak the truth.” But wait, I didn't finish the verse. We ought to speak the truth in love. You see, there are ways of speaking the truth. You can speak the truth and make everbody so mad that they won't pay any attention to you, or you can speak the truth so timidly that they won't think you believe it yourself, so why should they, or you can speak the truth in love and let them know that the reason you are saying what you are saying is because of your love for them and the things for which you believe.

Christ Learned When to Speak

I say, it may seem strange to you that the Lord Jesus Christ sat at the feet of the Father to learn how to speak, but that is what it says here. If you look at this verse again, you will notice that He not only sat at the feet of the Father to learn how to speak, but to learn when to speak because we read here:

Isaiah 50

4The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary…

Have you ever found yourself thinking, and perhaps honest enough to be saying, “It seems like I always say the right thing at the wrong time.”? Have you ever had that experience? Well, we have really learned when we say the right thing at the right time. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “I want to learn how to speak a word in season—how to do it and when to do it.

I would like for you to look at that word word . It is a different word than is ordinarily used for word . It is the word that a great many times is translated by the word promise in the Old Testament. Turn to I Kings, chapter 8, and notice verse 56, as I remind you that the word that is translated word in Isaiah, chapter 50, verse 4, comes from the Hebrew word dabar , which is translated in a different way here in I Kings, chapter 8:

I Kings 8

56Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

You will notice the word promise three times in this verse. Twice it is a verb, and once it is a noun. The noun is this Hebrew word dabar that is translated “word” in Isaiah, chapter 50, verse 4. This is a wonderful testimony in this verse, isn't it? Can you give a testimony like this? “Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest, according to all that He has promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise…” Isn't that a wonderful testimony?

In Isaiah, chapter 50, verse 4, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “The LORD hath given me the tongue of the learned that I should know how to speak a promise in season to him that is weary, to him that is faint, to him that hath no strength.” That is all involved in the word weary . Wouldn't you love to have a ministry like that? Christian friend, there is no more valuable ministry than this to which the Savior refers. To be so learned, to be such a student, to be such a disciple that you know how to give the promise that the individual needs when he needs it.

There is a wide open field to minister to weary and faint hearts. Do you know that? They are everywhere and they know not which way to turn. Oh, if you and I could follow the example of the Savior and have the tongue of the learned, the tongue of the student that could give the right promise at the right time in the right fashion.

The Ear of a Servant

You may be wondering what school you ought to go to to learn to do this. Beloved, you will never learn it in a school. I thank God for the education that I've had, and I thank God that the lines were drawn and I learned which way to go. I thank God for that, but I am going to be perfectly honest with you. Whatever ministry I may have by the grace of God, I don't have it because I went to school. I have it because by His grace I have endeavored to follow the example of the Savior. Look at it here in verse 4:

Isaiah 50

4The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary…

“Lord Jesus, how did you learn this?” The Lord Jesus would answer in two ways:

Isaiah 50

4…he wakeneth morning by morning…

Literally it is, “God My Father awakened Me every day at daybreak and I had sweet communion with Him.”

I am not going to insist on a meeting at the break of day (that is the literal meaning of this word morning ). I am not going to insist that you meet God at the break of day, but, Beloved, I am going to tell you that if you ever have a ministry to those who are faint and weary, if you ever know how and when to say it, you are going to have to have some time with the Lord, and you are going to have to respond to His cry when He says, “I would see your face, and I would hear your voice.”

You look through the Gospels again with this thought in mind, and you will notice how many times in the Gospels it is recorded that a great while before day, the Lord Jesus Christ went off to a mountain, or He spent the night alone.” What do you think He was doing? He was learning what to say, and that is the reason men could say, “No man spaketh as this man spake.”

Oftentimes you might wonder how it was that you had the right thing to say at the right time. If you did, it is because you have had this communion with the Lord. Do you know anything about it? Do you know very much about it? I want to tell you that it is possible for you to be saved and live for Christ and die and go home to Heaven without knowing very much, if anything, about this sweet communion, but that is about all that will be said of your life. You need to learn what it means to be wakened morning by morning. But we might say to Him, “Lord Jesus, what else did God do to teach You these things? He would say, “He not only wakened Me morning by morning, but He wakened My ear to hear as the learned.”

Beloved, it is one thing to wake up early, but it is another thing to know what is going on when you do. For purposes of illustration: Haven't you often heard of these individuals that don't know a thing until they have had that first cup of coffee? They may get up and get dressed, and be going, but they don't know what it is all about. You can make all kinds of noise and say a dozen different things, and they say, “It just didn't register. I wasn't awake.” You argue with them and say, “You were awake. You walked all through the house.” They say, “Well, all the same, I wasn't awake.” They were awake, but their ear wasn't. Will you recognize that the vast majority of believers need to have their ears wakened. That is the reason that over and over again in the Scripture, it is emphasized that “he that hath an ear, let him hear.”

Isn't that a ridiculous statement? We all have two ears. What is He talking about? “He that hath an ear, let him hear.” It is talking about a spiritual ear. The Lord Jesus said, “The only reason that I was able to say the right thing at the right time is that the Father wakened Me morning by morning. Then He wakened My ear, and when He got My ear…” Oh if He could just get the ear of folk. You know, you learn that, when you are preaching. It is amazing how much you notice that you don't say anything about, but any preacher who has had very much experience knows whether he has the ear of people or not.

Now, they may not be jumping up and down and shouting, and they may not be writing notes to each other and giggling and etc—sometimes they do. It is sad, because to be meeting in God's house and not showing reverence is a sad thing. They don't have to be doing any of those things for you to know that you don't have their ear. Sometimes you just don't have it, and if you don't have their ear, it doesn't matter what you have to say; it is just not getting through.

God got the ear of the Lord Jesus Christ (I say that reverently), and because He got His ear, He was able to give Him the training that made it possible for the Lord Jesus Christ to say the right thing at the right time.

Jesus Learned Obedience Through Suffering

Isaiah doesn't say anything about this, but I would like to mention it to make the story complete. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, told us one other way that Jesus Christ learned these things while He was on the earth. He learned obedience through the things which He suffered.

Some of you wonder why you have a hard time. Some of you wonder why it looks like everything is going wrong and why it is that others can do so much and why other people are able to sail the seas of life and never have a ripple or a wave while it looks like you are in a storm all of the time. Beloved, God is preparing you for a ministry. He may be preparing you to have the tongue of the learned and that is the only way that you can get it.

Notice verse 5:

Isaiah 50

5The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

I would like for you to notice the first statement there in verse 5, as I remind you that just as certainly as the Lord Jesus Christ was characterized by the tongue of the learned, He is characterized by the ear of the servant. You say, “the ear of the servant. It just says, ‘He opened mine ear.' Isn't that what you have been talking about for the last few minutes?” No. The word for opened here is a different kind of opening. It isn't a reference to the fact that God opened the ear of the Lord Jesus Christ so that He could hear what He had to say. It is a reference to the fact that God followed the Old Testament custom of taking an awl and boring a hole in the lobe of the ear of his son so that he might bear in the ear lobe an everlasting memorial to the fact that he was a bond-servant of God, completely, wholly dedicated, yielded to Him.

The Lord Jesus Christ, in describing His humiliation, said to the nation of Israel, “The reason that you did not come when I called and the reason that you did not greet Me when I came is that you did not think I was the God who could dry up the sea, because all you saw was a man going out to the mountains in the early morning to pray. All you saw was a man who was so meek and mild that He wouldn't even defend Himself, for the Lord God opened My ear. He made Me His Servant.”

Notice in the last part of verse 5. He said:

Isaiah 50

5…I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

The picture in that last statement is of an individual seeing something out before him that is unlovely, repulsive, and he doesn't want it. When things begin, he marches along very nicely; then he comes to this thing that doesn't look good and he turns away back. He is not going to have anything to do with it, but the Savior said, “I wasn't rebellious. I did not turn away back.”

What was this unpleasant thing that He saw? What was this thing that He did not particularly want? Well, we could talk about many things, but the Spirit of God was pleased to mention three things that it was hard for the Savior to bear, three things from which He did not turn back. Notice verse 6. He said:

Isaiah 50

6I gave my back to the smiters…

You know, if you can't do anything about somebody whipping you, you may not feel so badly about it other than to wish it wouldn't happen. But, my, it takes a lot to let somebody whip you when you know very well that you could whip them. Have you ever been in that experience? The Lord Jesus Christ wasn't weak and effeminate. He wasn't a coward. He was a meek man. Do you know the definition of a meek man? A meek man is one who can but won't. That is a meek man. He can, but he won't. The Lord Jesus Christ turned His back to the smiters. They lashed Him with the whips when all that He needed to do was to look at them and they would fall prostrate on the ground, but that wasn't God's plan for Him so He didn't turn away back.

When I think of the Savior in this fashion, I wonder if any of us will ever be like Christ? Do you think that you would have grace enough to let somebody beat you up when you knew that you could stop it if it was God's will? Now, don't misunderstand me. I am not preaching this silly Pollyanna gospel that liberalists talk about, that Christians should never lift a finger to defend themselves. I'm talking about what is in the plan of God for you. In this particular pathway, there was a smitten back, and He didn't object to it. In the pathway that God has marked out for you, there may be a smitten back. Are you going to object to it?

Look at the next statement:

Isaiah 50

6…and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair…

Literally, this is, “whisker by whisker they pulled out His beard.” That is what the literal language means. Whisker by whisker they pulled out His beard, and He did not turn His face away. He let them do it, but remember He could have stopped them. He was not rebellious. He did not turn His cheek away. You see, it wasn't pleasant for Him. That is the reason He said, “I considered turning away from it, but I didn't. I let them smite My back. I let them pluck the hairs off of my cheeks.” Then, the third thing that He said:

Isaiah 50

6…I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Did anybody every spit on you? It happened just one time to me, and I still get mad just thinking about it, and it happened over twenty years ago. I didn't have the grace that the Lord Jesus Christ had. I'm quite sure the individual that spit on me that time will think twice before he ever spits on anybody else. I still feel the blood rising to my head when I think about it. I still get mad about it, but the Lord Jesus stood there and they spat on Him, and they did everything they could to shame Him. Not one time did He turn away from it, and I want to emphasize, in honor of my Lord, He could have. He could have laid them all flat. But He didn't because this was the pathway for Him.

The Face of a Soldier

That leads me to the third characteristic of the servant that I want you to notice with me. Notice verse 7:

Isaiah 50

7For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

This is the third picture. He had the tongue of the student, the ear of the servant, and the face of a soldier. Notice what it said here: “I have set my face like flint.” Have you ever seen a person whose face was set like flint? You look into their eyes and you know even though they don't say a thing, they are determined not to budge a half inch, and you know that nothing you do or say will change the picture. You can say an awful lot with your eyes. The Lord Jesus Christ said in the midst of all of this, “I didn't turn away backward. Rather, I set my face like flint.”

John, commenting on this passage of Scripture in the New Testament, tells us that when He realized His hour had come, He stedfastly set His face to go toward Jerusalem. When anybody attempted to dissuade Him, He said, “Get thee behind Me. You sound like you belong to the camp of the devil instead of the camp of God. I must go on to Jerusalem.”

How could He talk like that? He tells you here, and you and I need to learn it because, Beloved, if He needed it, we need it. Look at verse 7:

Isaiah 50

7For the Lord GOD will help me…

Jesus, how can You set Your face like flint? How can You go on in the face of all of it? He said, “The Lord God will help Me.” Look down at verse 8:

Isaiah 50

8He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together…

Jesus, how can You set your face like flint? How can You go on? He said, “He is near that knows I'm right. He justifies Me. He knows that what I am doing is right. He understands what I am doing, and we are standing together. That is the reason I can go on.” Verse 9:

Isaiah 50

9Behold, the Lord GOD will help me…

He said, “That is the reason I can go on.” This is your Savior about whom I am talking. I hope you know Him as your Savior. I am going to close the message with the last two verses of the chapter, which represent what we might refer to as a call and a warning .

A Call and a Warning

In verse 10, the Lord Jesus Christ who has described Himself in the manner which I have suggested at the moment, says:

Isaiah 50

10Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light…

For the sake of emphasis, you could read this verse: “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, and yet walk in darkness, and has no light…”

Beloved, do you fear the Lord? That is an Old Testament phrase for New Testament Christianity. Do you fear the Lord? Do you obey Him? You fear Him, and you obey Him, but still you are going through a dark period. You are going through a hard time. There is no light and you feel like you are utterly alone.

Is it possible for Christians to have that kind of experience? Yes, it is possible for you to love the Lord, and it is possible for you to obey the Lord, and yet it is possible for God to lead you through the hard places and the dark places. Jesus, who has just finished telling you how He let them smite His back and pluck out His beard and spit in His face, is telling you that even if the times are dark and you are going through something like that, let Him give you some advice. Look at the last part of verse 10:

Isaiah 50

10…let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

“Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and let him rest, lean, and relax on God.” That is good advice for anybody who is going through the dark hour. But, you know, everybody doesn't fear the Lord. Everybody doesn't obey Him. Everybody isn't interested in leaning upon Him, so the Lord Jesus Christ has a word for such folk as that. In verse 11, He expresses it in a rather interesting way, when He says:

Isaiah 50

11Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks….

Do you see what He is saying? I have a fire over here, and if you want to come over by My fire and get warm, you can. I have a fire over here, and it lightens up the night, and if you want to come by the fire, you can.”

Somebody says, “Ah, I don't want your fire. I want to build my own fire.” He says, “If you want to build your own fire and you compass yourself about with sparks, then walk in the light of your own fire and the sparks that you have kindled. If that's what you want to do, then you do it.”

Someone says, “Doesn't He care?” Of course He cares, but He never makes anybody come up to His fire. He never makes anybody warm themselves at His fire. If you want to build your own fire and live by it, then go ahead. But then He said: “This shall ye have of my hand. Ye shall lie down in sorrow, because that fire that you build will eventually go out, and the warmth and the light will be no more, and you will lie down in darkness.” That is the real meaning of the word sorrow .

I don't think this was an accident. Do you remember where Peter was when he denied the Lord? He was by the fire of the Lord's enemies. The enemies of the Lord had built a fire in the courtyard, and Peter was out there by that fire. It was by that fire that three times he denied his Lord. Do you know where he was when he confessed to the Lord? He was by the Lord's fire. In the Gospel of John, chapter 1, they were out on the sea fishing. They were disappointed and in despair and the Lord built a fire on the seashore. He called to them and said, “Children, have ye any meat?” They came in and He had fixed breakfast.

Where was it when He said, “Peter, do you love Me?”, and Peter said, “Lord, you know I love you.” It happened by the Lord's fire.

Let's face it. You are going to be at one fire or another—one you build or one the Lord has built. I hope that you will be camping by His fire.


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