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Eternity 50 - I Know That I Shall Not Be Put To Shame

Isaiah 50:7-10 ASV For the Lord Jehovah will help me; therefore have I not been confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. (8) He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. (9) Behold, the Lord Jehovah will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? behold, all they shall wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat them up. (10) Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that obeyeth the voice of his servant? he that walketh in darkness, and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and rely upon his God.

Romans 8:31-34 ASV What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; (34) who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

The "Servant" in Isaiah 50 is obviously Jesus the Messiah who gives his "back of the smiters" etc (Is 50:4-6). Yet, because Christians are 'in Christ" it applies to us also.

The validity of these wonderful promises for believers is confirmed by the verses quoted from Romans 8 and the similarity between the passages is striking. Twice the Servant says "the Lord Jehovah will help me..who is he that will condemn me" and in Romans "If God is for us, who is against us?".

The thrice repeated fact is that God is "with" His servants to protect them from accusation and give them hope in "dark" situations. God helps us, justifies us, and intercedes for us.

While the righteous may endure suffering for a time, in the end, which is all important, they are secure. In fact they are secured by Jehovah Himself!

This is not just a illusion it is a certainty. It is so certain that Isaiah's Servant says "I know that I shall not be put to shame".

Yet for a while Jesus was put to shame on the cross. There was humiliation for a season, but it was a "passing affliction" it came and went and was no more. In the end, after the resurrection, the shame was turned into triumph!

By contrast the enemies of the righteous will "wear out as a garment" , they will unravel, their arguments will be full of holes, they shall seem patched, threadbare and inadequate and fade away. In the end the forces of decay typified by "the moth" shall overtake the wicked and consume their prosperity.

The word "moth" occurs 7 times in the Old Testament, in Job, Psalms, Isaiah and Hosea, always in figurative expressions, typifying either that which is destructive (Job13:28; Psalm39:11; Isaiah 50:9; Isaiah 51:8; Hosea5:12) or that which is frail or temporary (Job 4:19; Job 27:18). A parallel passage in Isaiah is: "Isaiah 51:8 ASV For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation unto all generations."

The worm is the larvae of the clothes moth which ate the woollen garments. The moth is always a negative and destructive figure in Scripture, a symbol of transitory prosperity and of the consumption of that which is precious.

Jesus uses the phrase '"where neither moth nor rust destroy" to refer to Heaven as a world without decay. Here, on this earth, corruption and decay are common and are allowed full reign over the works of the wicked (see also Haggai 1 & 2).

The wicked are not secure, they will be overtaken and destroyed, consumed and made like a moth-eaten sweater.

Both Isaiah and Romans were written to deeply suffering people. The servants of God were being persecuted by the Babylonian captivity on one hand and by Nero on the other. Paul says "all day long we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered" and closes the chapter with a long list of adversities.

Yet these adversities could not separate them from the love of Christ. There was security in the midst of insecurity and justification in the midst of persecution.

The godly at times feel that they are "walking in darkness and have no light". That all around is thick gloom and no visible point of hope. At that point faith has to grasp onto God. "Let him trust in the name of Jehovah and rely upon his God".

Do not sit down in the darkness! Keep walking and rely on God for light.

When I was in Papua New Guinea among the Huli people of the Southern Highlands I was one of the first missionaries to own a torch with fluorescent tubes, and it was a massive twin tube, many battery affair. In the pitch black nights on the mountain slopes its bright light was visible for miles (because of snakes you never went out without a torch) and I was told that the nickname they gave me in Huli was "the man with the light" - a good nickname for a missionary and one I treasure to this day.

Light is hope and security. I felt safe in the midst of the pool of bright light that lantern gave out - and God brings light to His servants.

The grip of faith is all important. The ability to hold on and believe that in the end you will not be put to shame. (Now if you commit a crime or meddle in people's affairs you may face shame. God does not give Christians immunity from the righteous process of law.) That aside, God will deliver us from shame that we face as believers because of Christ and the gospel.

Just recently God delivered a Pakistani Christian named Masih from a death sentence on a blasphemy charge trumped up by a neighbor who wanted his land. But it took some years and many appeals and during this time it would not have been easy. Masih's faith would have been tested.

Similarly Joseph and others in Scripture have faced many difficult years before the light came into their darkness. We are not talking about hours or days but years and decades. We are talking about faith stretched to absolute breaking point. We are talking about darkness that seems as permanent as death.

But death is not permanent either. Light will break forth even for those who are dead in Christ. The last enemy is death and God has defeated it and with Christ and our resurrection life He will give us all things.

Man can do many things to us but man cannot separate from Christ or from hope or permanently destroy us. We will rise again. So we can say, with absolute certainty "I know that I shall not be put to shame".


John Edmiston


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