Suffering – Where the Light Shines Through – Part 3

 

1. Read Isaiah 50:4-9

a. Jeff Horvate in his

mid 40’s and lives with cerebral palsy, a birth defect that affects his muscles, limiting

his ability to move and making his speech is difficult for strangers to understand.

i. He requires a scooter to get around. After his parents died he had to find his own housing and provide for himself.

ii. He managed to get trained in working with computers and graduate with a degree in business. Jeff is on disability assistance, but has held part-time jobs with the state as well as his own IT business.

iii. When I knew Jeff 10 years ago, he was trying to get the most he could out life and stay positive. I would only see his frustration when it came to his greatest

wish: getting married.

iv. Jeff and I are still connected on Facebook, and more and more I have seen his attitudes changing. Recent posts read this way:

1. I believe GOD is NOT perfect. GOD create health problems like cancer and palsy. He create birth problem. I wish I can work earn nice pay to maintain better life style.

2. To the lady who hit me last july at harden and town center, I am ok but my scooter is not working. so can’t leave my house. I hope you will go down when you leave this life

3. Pastor canot cure my cerebral palsy. why we pay them large amount of money they can’r cure sickness like cancer. I say paid all pastor 500 a month if they want money get a real job.

b. Jeff has a hard life, and good reasons to feel frustrated. What’s interesting is how many people in our culture have Jeff’s anger and sense of persecution for far less reasons than Jeff has.

i. Two years ago, several studies explored a blossoming “Victim Culture” in the US which puts focus on ‘microaggressions:”

1. “a form of social control in which the aggrieved collect and publicize accounts of intercollective offenses, making the case that relatively minor slights are part of a larger pattern of injustice and that those who suffer them are socially marginalized and deserving of sympathy,”

2. Some see this as the ‘political correctness’ thriving on college campuses now having a wide broadcast on Social Media like Facebook and the internet ‘blogosphere.’

3. It’s not about denying victimization, but the substitution of power for drama which changes nothing and broadens the destruction.

c. Victims speak out about their victimization, but primarily with reasons and excuses which confirm their powerless, seek out a rescuer, and blame at least one persecutor.

2. Chapters 40-61 of Isaiah contain five passages called “servant songs” which run the gamut of types of human suffering.

a. The song in chapter 50 focuses on the servant’s experience of rejection, feeling attacked by others for what he says, does or for simply

existing.

b. The servant’s adversaries are not identified. They could be the Babylonian Empire which has subjected the Jews to exile.

i. Most likely, though, the adversaries are Jews themselves who don’t want anyone rocking the boat about God’s bigger plan for the Jews’ freedom and restoration.

3. Let me stop and ask you all a question: has there been sources of rejection or opposition in your life? How did you deal with it? Specifically, how have you spoken about it?

a. If it hasn’t happened to you yet…what’s your plan?

 

4. Notice something which stand out in this ‘servant song:’ there are 4 “Lord Gods” in Isaiah 50:4-9. Each “Lord God” is followed by an active decisive verb of which Yahweh is provider

and the servant is the recipient. So what does God give?

a. A Tongue: a way for those who are weary and persecuted to talk about it.

b. An Ear: an attentiveness to God’s message in the midst of persecution.

c. Help (twice): support that is both necessary and sufficient to stay hopeful and on track.

d. The Servant says that these three gifts prove God is utterly Reliable,

the Servant can persist, and his mission will not fail.

e. God doesn’t swoop in and rescue by taking persecution away, but he provides redemption and empowerment so the persecution doesn’t stop you in your tracks, stop you from being you.

5. Good advice. But before you start putting together your ‘anti-victim -get me a tongue, ear and help” plan, know that the Servant is Jesus. This is a prophesy that’s not about you, but foretelling the one who will be able to serve you by doing what it really takes to make a

stand for you and emerge victorious over anything the world can throw.

a. If anyone could declare victimization, it’s Jesus. But instead he declares God’s power and takes the role of servant.

b. Paul said in Romans 8:33-34, 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 3Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that,

who was raised—who is at the right

hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

c. Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:10-11: 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven

6. If the Servant is Jesus, and He is the one who is your voice, your ears, and most of all your help; what is your plan when you suffer because of the victimization, rejection and oppression of others?

 

a. Well, what do we usually call the practice of listening to God speak to you, and speaking to Him your need?

i. Prayer to Jesus, along with meditating on His Word, is a great way to receive his message of strength, persistent faith, and hope.

b. But we also have the church, our brothers and sisters in Christ. And what is the church if it’s not a place where Jesus speaks, listens and helps through each other for each other. It’s supposed to be a place of compassion, prayer and equipping. We speak and act faith into victimization and powerlessness.

i. But the church can’t be the church if no one speaks about their struggles, listens to each other’s wisdom, and – most importantly, stand together for each other as fully devoted servants of the Great Servant.

 

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