Dividends of the Servant
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Isaiah, chapter 53, keeping in mind that we are discussing the last of the four Servant songs , which are found in the book of Isaiah. This song is the song of the suffering Servant .

We pointed out to you that it is made up of five stanzas, each stanza composed of three verses. We come to the last stanza, and I'm going to suggest that we read the whole song, pointing out the individual stanzas as we come to them, preparing our hearts for the last stanza. Notice chapter 52, verse 13, where the song actually begins with the words:

Isaiah 52

13Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15So shall he sprinkle [astonish] many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

We looked upon that first stanza of the song as representing the destiny of the Servant. The second stanza of the song represents the despised Servant :

Isaiah 53

1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

The third stanza presents to us the disciplined Servant :

Isaiah 53

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The fourth stanza presents to us the dumb Servant , for we read:

Isaiah 53

7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

That brings us to our consideration of the last stanza of the Servant song . This stanza I have described with the words, the dividends of the Servant. Sometimes we get the idea that we received all the benefits of Calvary. We get the idea that Calvary was entirely for us. Thank God we were included in it, but the Lord Jesus Christ gained something through Calvary, and that is what is described in this last stanza. Notice the words:

Isaiah 53

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Christ Bruised According to God's Plan and Purpose

In this last stanza of the Servant song , there is intermingled the suffering of the Servant—some of the suffering we have already referred to in the entire poem—the sacrifice of the Servant and the satisfaction of the Servant. I think that the entire paragraph will be clearer if we just divide it up in that sort of way, noticing first the suffering Servant , referred to in this stanza, which will represent somewhat of a review, because when we looked at the disciplined Servant , we looked at the manner in which God's hand rested heavily upon Him.

It is brought to our attention in verse 10 in a new way that it pleased God to do this, for we read in verse 10:

Isaiah 53

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him…

When we say, “it pleased the LORD to bruise him,” that sounds rather strange to us. The word bruise is such a horrible word. It comes from the Hebrew word daka , which means “to literally beat to pieces.” That is how they bruised Him.

Someone will pinch you and you get a bruise, but that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about that treatment of the Lord Jesus Christ that was so horrible that the Holy Spirit chose to use the word daka , which means that He was beaten to pieces.

I say that the strange thing to our ears is that it pleased the LORD to do that, but it won't be so strange if you will keep in mind that there are several words in Hebrew for pleased . It didn't mean that God got any pleasure out of it. All of Heaven's heart was aching at the suffering of the Savior. God didn't get any pleasure out of the way that He was beaten to pieces. The word that is translated pleased here is a word that is related to the purpose of God. It simply reminds us that it was in the plan and the purpose of God for the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer as He did. It doesn't mean that God enjoyed the sight of it. It simply means that the only way that the world could be redeemed was for the Savior to be bruised in this manner, according to God's plan and purpose.

You will remember that Peter emphasized that to the nation of Israel one day when He said to them on the day of Pentecost, “You men with wicked hands hath taken and crucified and slain the Lord of Glory. You did it, but don't fool yourselves. You did it by the predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God. God had it all arranged, and you were but the instruments in relation to it.” This is the suffering of the Savior.

He Was Put to Grief

There is something else said about the suffering of the Savior in verse 10 that wasn't particularly emphasized in the verses at which we have already looked. Notice with me:

Isaiah 53

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief…

Earlier in the chapter we learned that He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, but here the statement is, “He put him to grief.” This is a little different because it comes from the Hebrew word chalah , which means, “it made Him sick.” He literally let Him suffer to the point of sickness. It wasn't just the outward stripes that He bore; it was the inner nausea that He suffered that was part of the price that He paid for your salvation and mine.

I am aware of the fact that when we talk about the suffering of the Lord it is possible to be overly dramatic, and it is possible to get maudlin in relation to the suffering of Christ, but as long as we stick to the exact meaning of the words, we can't overdraw the picture. We certainly don't want to be guilty of underestimating what He suffered when He died for you and for me, so I would remind you, as we come to the last stanza of this song, when the suffering of the Savior is brought to our attention again, He was beat to pieces. The physical agony that He suffered created a sickness within Him. That is how much He suffered for you and for me.

He Gave Himself With No Reservation

As we go on, notice the sacrifice for sin which He became. Notice with me in verse 10 again:

Isaiah 53

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…

We will stop right there for a moment. That is the first thing that is said about the sacrifice of the Savior. “His soul was made an offering for sin.” The word soul comes from the Hebrew word niphesh , which is translated “breath” in many places in the Word of God. It is a word that describes the entire life of the individual. It is sometimes translated “pleasure,” sometimes by the word “word.” It is also sometimes translated “accomplishment,” and all of those words fit into the general meaning to remind our hearts that the Lord Jesus Christ did not give partly of Himself. He gave of Himself with no reservation.

Sometimes we do, you know. We talk about consecration. We talk about dedication, and then we talk about reconsecration, and then we talk about rededication. I am certainly not going to get into a theological discussion about whether you can dedicate or consecrate from a strict theological standpoint, but there is room for discussion. I am thinking of the words as we usually use them. I am saying this to say, “Why is there a need for doing it over?” Do you know why? Because many, many times it is not complete. Many, many times it is with reservation. Many times it is not an all-out yieldedness to the LORD. But when His soul was made an offering for sin, it was a complete offering.

He Made His Soul an Offering for Sin

Look there at that phrase, make His soul an offering for sin . You will find that the words an offering for sin are all the translation of one Hebrew word that was used in the Levitical economy for a sin offering. In the Old Testament when the tabernacle worship was set up, there were numerous kinds of offerings which were to be presented. One of them was a sin offering. The individual offerer was to bring the animal prescribed. He was to lay his hand upon the head of the animal, thus identifying himself with it. He was to slay the animal, and the priest was to take the blood and present it to the LORD, and the Israelite of the Old Testament was forgiven of his sins.

The Holy Spirit of God reminds us here that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is our sin offering. It is no longer necessary to bring the lambs, the bullocks, or the goats, for we have our sin offering. The Lord Jesus Christ was made that, and that is all related to His offering.

The Travail of His Soul

There is another phrase here. Glance down in verse 11, where we read:

Isaiah 53

11He shall see of the travail of his soul…

In verse 10, He made His soul an offering for sin. In verse 11, the travail of His soul is brought to our attention. Of course, that speaks of the sacrifice which He made. Why did He die? He died that men might live. Why do mothers enter the valley of the shadow of death in order that another life might come into the world? The Holy Spirit of God very wisely used the word travail . In English and in Hebrew the word amal is used to describe those labor pains which bring forth life. Mothers enter the valley of the shadow of death for that purpose. The Lord Jesus Christ entered the valley of the shadow of death, and He spoke of the travail of His soul. Because of the travail of His soul, you and I can sit here in this place that is dedicated to the worship of God and rejoice in fellowship together.

He Poured Out His Soul Unto Death

There is another word about soul in the paragraph. It is down in verse 12. You will notice:

Isaiah 53

12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death…

Notice the word soul there again. We are still talking about the entire personality of our God. He poured out His soul unto death. It was His life poured out that brought about our salvation. Here again we have a reference to the Old Testament economy and the order of sacrifices for the Levitical tabernacle. You remember, there were not only sin offerings, there were burnt offerings and there were drink offerings. The drink offerings, when they were presented to God, represented the wine that was poured out on the ground as a symbol of the fact that it was offered to the LORD. That is in keeping with what the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ entailed on the Cross, because He poured out His soul unto death. It was life poured out that made a sacrifice for your sins and mine.

He Bore Our Iniquities and Our Sins

That leads us to the third thing. We have been talking about His soul, and we have been talking about His reference to sin. We find it more in detail in verse 11:

Isaiah 53

11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; [notice this phrase] for he shall bear their iniquities.

We are looking at it, of course, from the past. Isaiah was looking toward the future, but we are looking back, so we might well say today that He bore our iniquities. That is, all of our iniquities were placed upon Him.

You will notice in verse 12 what might seem to be a repetition, but it is not. It is the unique delineation of the Holy Spirit of God as He records the Word, for again we read in verse 12:

Isaiah 53

12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; [notice now] and he bare the sin of many…

It is not a repetition. He bore our iniquities, and He bore our sins. We have seen these two words in other sessions, and we have noticed that there is a difference. Iniquities refer to the nature of man, the nature called a “sin nature,” that inclination that causes men to go astray from the womb as soon as they are born. Then, of course, He bore our sins , which represents the fruit of that sinful nature.

When Jesus Christ died, He died for the complete man, and that is the reason the Apostle Paul could declare, “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for if you died unto sin once, you died. Reckon yourselves therefore to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God.”

He Was Numbered With the Transgressors

As we hurry on, we would notice the third thing that is related to the sacrifice of the Savior, as it is built around the word transgression . We have noticed the word soul and the word sin . Now notice the word transgression again in verse 12:

Isaiah 53

12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: [notice now] and he was numbered with the transgressors…

“He was numbered with the transgressors…” The word numbered is an interesting word. It comes from the Hebrew word manah , and it means “to be officially enrolled in a certain group.” You see, the Lord Jesus Christ just didn't bear our sins in sort of an offhand fashion. Sometimes you are asked to carry something that isn't too attractive. Maybe it doesn't smell too good. You hold it way out from you at arm's length and carry it wherever you have to go. You don't want to be associated with it. You do it just because you have to, but that is not the way the Savior bore our sins. They were not only placed upon Him, but they became a very part of Him, because the Word of God tells us that “He Who knew no sin was made to be sin [not made to be the carrier of sin, but made to be sin] for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

Here Isaiah is bearing the story out once again when he says He was numbered with the transgressors. We are reminded that He was actually enrolled in God's book as a transgressor. That is real identification.

He Made Intercession for Transgressors

The second thing that is said about transgression is made in the last statement of verse 12:

Isaiah 53

12…and made intercession for the transgressors.

We pointed out to you in earlier discussions that this wasn't easy for Him because intercession is not made up of a little now I lay me down to sleep prayer, where you say, “Good morning, God,” and “Good night, God.” It is made up of real agony of soul and real agony of spirit. He made intercession for the transgressors.

There are many things we might say about the intercession which He made for the transgressors there on the Cross, but I am only going to refer to one of them. It was a completely unselfish act on His part, and that is the secret of victorious intercession.

I say it was a completely unselfish act on His part because, remember when He was making intercession for the transgressors, if you read the story of Calvary and pay very close attention, you will notice that He was suffering His greatest agony when He made intercession for the transgressors. When he said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”, He was suffering His greatest agony. He would have had reason enough to say, “I'm hurting too bad. I have got to think of Myself. I'm too sick. I'm too tired.” These are all the reasons that you and I give for not bearing the burden of intercession and reasons that He well could have given, but He didn't. That is the reason it was a selfless and unselfish intercession. He made intercession for the transgressors, and He is still making it today.

You and I are pretty careless about intercession for transgressors. If you don't believe that, you just think back over the number of unsaved people for whom you have been asked to pray, and then you think about how long you prayed for them. Then you think about how long it has been since you have prayed for them and how perfectly content you have been in the pursuit of your ordinary life, even though those people for whom you were so greatly burdened are still on their way to Hell. The burden just isn't there any more.

We are recognizing, of course, that God lifts the burden sometimes. There are reasons too numerous for us to enter into. I am bypassing that for the moment. I am suggesting what I trust the Holy Spirit will use to speak to our hearts. Could it be that the burden has been lifted because we don't care any more? Could it be that the burden has been lifted because we are too interested in ourselves right now? His was a selfless intercession, and I would remind you that the only successful intercession is a selfless intercession.

He Shall See His Seed

The Apostle Paul said to the Hebrews, “The Lord, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross and despised the shame,” and that is what I want to talk to you about in the remaining part of our lesson. I told you that there was, intermingled in this paragraph, the suffering of the Savior, the sin offering of the Savior, and the satisfaction of the Savior. Isaiah, looking down through the corridors of time, could see the Lord Jesus Christ enjoying the joy that had been set before Him.

Paul said, “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured all of this,” and Isaiah tells us about that joy. Notice it with me now, as we look at this last paragraph and notice verse 10 again:

Isaiah 53

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, [notice now] he shall see his seed…

“He shall see His seed.” Let's put it this way: “He shall see His spiritual offspring. He shall see His spiritual children. He shall see those for whom He died.” Oh, what joy there is in Heaven among the angels for the one sinner who repents.

We would remind you that you shouldn't limit that joy to the angels. What joy it brings to the Lord Jesus Christ when He sees a soul come to Christ! What joy it brings to Him when He sees an individual translated from the kingdom of darkness into His own kingdom!

We sometimes hear a solo that goes something like this: “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.” That song has always touched my heart. I can't sing, but over and over again, I find myself singing it in my heart, for it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.

Every sacrifice that we have had to make, every problem that we have had, every burden that we have carried, every moment of loneliness that we have endured will be worth it all when we see Jesus. I wish someone who had the ability would write a song saying, “It will be worth it all when Jesus sees us,” for that is the truth of this passage of Scripture. When He looks upon those for whom He died and sees the tremendous miracle wrought in their lives, if you could engage Him in conversation and say, “Jesus, was it worth all the pain and all of the suffering You endured?”, He would say, “It was worth it all.” He shall see His seed. That is what Isaiah means here.

He Shall Be Satisfied

Look now at verse 11:

Isaiah 53

11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied…

Not only shall He see His seed, which will bring joy to His heart, but He shall see the travail of His soul, and He will be satisfied with what He sees. That is the greatest miracle in the world to me—that God could see anything in my life with which He could be satisfied, but He is going to. He is going to. He is going to because He has given the promise that some day He will present His Church to Himself without spot or blemish or any wrinkle or any such thing.

It is good self-examination to follow the words of the song, “I am satisfied with Jesus, but the question comes to me, is He satisfied with me?” It is a good question of self-examination, but don't become morbid about it, because even though you fall short of what He would have you to be at any given moment, He is satisfied. He is satisfied with His handiwork because “He who hath begun a good work will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

My word of advice to you is to be pliable in His hands. Stay yielded, because He is going to finish the work, and the more you bow your neck, the harder it is going to be on you. The more you stiffen yourself, the easier you are going to be broken. Just stay pliable, and when He puts on the pressure, give to the pressure. Don't stiffen, because He is going to finish His work and He is going to be satisfied with what He sees.

If you have any creative ability and you are making something, when you get it all finished and look at it and say, “I'm not satisfied with that.”, you don't throw it out on the junk heap. You just tear it up and start all over again.

You see, the Savior is going to be satisfied, and if you don't stay malleable and yielded, and if you don't stay pliable so that He can make you into the vessel that He would, He may have to tear you up and start all over again. The tearing-up process is not pleasant, Beloved. It is not pleasant, and if you learn that early in life so that you can stay pliable and yielded to Him and let Him have His way with you, then He will be satisfied.

He Shall See His Seed Justified

If you will look with me in verse 11, you will see another suggestion about how satisfied He will be:

Isaiah 53

11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many…

He will not only see His seed, He will not only be satisfied with what He sees, but He will see His seed completely justified. This word justified is a word that you find in your New Testament, and in the Old Testament it is a word with a unique meaning. It has reference to a legal transaction which completely exonerates the culprit of any involvement whatsoever in the accusations against him. So you see, you are not going to be barely saved; you are not going to get to Heaven by the skin of your teeth. When He looks at you and looks at the work He has done in your behalf, He is going to find you completely exonerated from every accusation that is against you.

Let's notice some other things that are going to happen which represent the dividends which the Lord Jesus Christ will receive because of the sacrifice that He made for you and for me. Notice verse 10 again:

Isaiah 53

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, [notice now] shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

“He shall prolong His days.” We read over here in verse 8 that He was cut off before He had a chance to live His life. Folks said, “What a shame—cut off in the middle of everything.” God said, “Oh, you don't understand. When it is all finished, He shall prolong His days and the will of God.” That is what it means by the word pleasure . “The will of God shall prosper in His hand.”

I wonder what that means. Of course, the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, and the Lord Jesus Christ lives eternally, for He said, “I am He that was dead, and I am alive for evermore.” But, I wonder if it doesn't mean something more than that. I wonder if it does not refer to the fact that you and I, fully yielded and consecrated to Him, are prolonging His days, because He is living His life through us.

I wonder if it doesn't mean that the will of God is prospering in His hand because He is at the helm. He is directing those of us who have been sent out. People have said to me, “Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have lived here on the earth when Jesus was here?” I think I know what they mean, and in a sense I can agree with them, but Beloved, it is more wonderful now because the Lord Jesus Christ was limited by all of the physical limitations with which you and I are familiar. Now He isn't. His ministry was a little area called the Holy Land when He was here, but now His ministry is the entire world as the will of God is prospering through us, controlled by His hand.

He Has Been Given a Portion With the Great

I would like for you to notice something else in verse 12, where we read:

Isaiah 53

12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great…

This is God speaking. This is one of the dividends that the Savior will receive. He will be given a portion with the great. That is a comparative phrase, because we are reminded in the Word of God that He has raised to a place that is far above principality and power. He has been given a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. A name above every name. He has been given a place with the great. There is no one greater than He.

We Shall Be Glorified Together

But I am interested in this next phrase, because it includes me and it includes you. Notice:

Isaiah 53

12…he shall divide the spoil with the strong…

The picture is of a captain who has won a great battle over the enemy, and all of the spoil of the opposing army belongs to him, and he divides it with those who have stood with him in the battle. That is exactly what the Word of God tells us. The Word of God tells us that we are heirs of God and that we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, and we are reminded that we will come into our inheritance when the Lord Jesus Christ comes into His. There is no escaping that, and that is why the Word of God emphasizes so definitely that if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him, because we shall be glorified together.

It will be a wonderful thing to share the glory which the Lord will have someday, and every faithful servant who bears the name of Christ shall share that glory. We get the cart before the horse. We get real interested in getting our oscars down here, but we are not supposed to. We are supposed to get them up there. We get real encouraged if somebody says something nice to us, and we get real discouraged if they don't say something nice. If they say something mean, we are ready to give up, but it shouldn't bother us. It should not have any influence on us whatsoever, because Christ has not come into His inheritance, so why should we expect to come into ours?

They are still cussing Christ, aren't they? They are still taking His name in vain. They are still saying mean things about Him. They are still doubting His sincerity and His wisdom. Why should it be any different for you and for me? The day will come, though, when He will come into His inheritance, and when He does, He will divide the spoils with the strong.

This is Isaiah's song, the suffering Servant . These are the dividends which he will reap some day and we will reap them with Him.


Home Contact Us Bible Studies Books King James
Abilene Bible Church Living Bible Studies
Dr. Daiqing Yuan Tim Temple Dr. Joe Temple
Some icons on this site used courtesy FatCow Web Hosting

www.livingbiblestudies.org