The Soliloquy Of The Servant

I don’t know how many of you love Shakespeare or enjoyed studying his works in school?  Oh, there’s two of us. He was a master of literary devices.  The term ‘literary device’ refers to the structures writers use in their creative writing to communicate with their audiences. Presenting a story about people to a reader or an audience, making the characters come alive in real situations in real places, doing the things that real people do – fighting, falling in love, dying.

Shakespeare used many literary devices – some of his most important ones were:

Allusion. This is a reference to a person, place, event, usually without explicit identification. …

Dramatic Device. …A dramatic device is anything that drives the action.

Dramatic Irony. …Dramatic irony is a situation in which the reader knows something about present or future circumstances that the character does not know.

Symbolism. …It is the frequent use of words, places, characters, or objects that mean something beyond what they are on a literal level.

Monologue. …a long, uninterrupted speech that is spoken in the presence of other characters.

Soliloquy. …A speech in which a character, who is usually alone on the stage, expresses his or her thoughts aloud.

The most famous Shakespearian  soliloquies (and indeed, the most famous soliloquys in the English language) are found in three of his plays – Hamlet , Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. For example, perhaps the best known opening line to a Shakespeare soliloquy is “to be or not to be”, from Hamlet.

So why talk about soliloquy’s?  The passage before us this morning, one of the Servant Songs of Isaiah has been referred to as: “A soliloquy of the Servant of Jehovah.” “A soliloquy of the Messiah.”  In this passage the servant speaks and we do well to listen. 

1.  JESUS LISTENS WELL AND OFFERS COMFORT!  Isaiah 50:4-5 (Awakening the Ear)

2.  JESUS LOVES SO MUCH AND GAVE HIMSELF!  Isaiah 50:6-9 (Silencing the Accusers)

3.  WILL YOU LISTEN TO THE SERVANT OR CAN YOU ONLY HEAR YOURSELF?

Isaiah 50:10-11

1.  JESUS LISTENS WELL AND OFFERS COMFORT!  Isaiah 50:4-5 (Awakening the Ear)

“The 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.  The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward.“

In the first two Servant Songs in Isaiah 42 and 49, there were hints of opposition to the ministry of the Messiah but in this third song, His suffering is graphically described.  When we get to the fourth song in chapters 52 and 53 we will see not only how He suffered, but what His suffering means.  The substitutionary atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.  His suffering on behalf of sinners like you and me.  

The first three verses of chapter 50 have set out that fact that the children of Israel were sent away into exile because they refused to listen to God.  Beginning in verse 4 this remarkable section of prophecy reveals the heart of the ministry of the servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  The key point is His willingness to listen to the Father and to be obedient even unto death.  

Paul expressed it this way in Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV) “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” 

This song is the Servant’s soliloquy as He speaks in the first person describing His ministry.  Four times in the passage the Servant uses the name The Lord God, “Adonai Jehovah”, the Sovereign Lord.  This title is found nowhere else in the Servant Songs.  In his book “Synonyms of the Old Testament: Robert Girdlestone says: “Adonai Jehovah” means that “God is the owner of each member of the human family, and that He consequently claims the unrestricted obedience of all.”

The emphasis is on the Servant’s submission to the Lord God in every area of His life and service

and it reflects the Servant’s high regard for God’s authority and power, and His willing submission to God’s purpose and plan. He states that God has given Him the words to speak.  God has opened His ear, and He is fully obedient. 

Jesus’ wisdom is explained, He listens to the teaching of God and literally speaks the Word of God because He is the living Word.  John 1:1 (ESV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  God gave Jesus intelligence, knowledge and wisdom beyond anything ever known among men.  He speaks God’s wisdom through words to the weary. 

Matthew 11:28 (ESV) “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Christ was instructed by God the Father at all times, their communion was constant and the instruction came directly from God.  Mark 1:35 (ESV) “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”  

John 7:16 (ESV) “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.” 

The Father taught Him what to say and how to say it.  John 12:49 (ESV) “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.” All this took place because Jesus listened well, the polar opposite of the children of Israel.  And the polar opposite of our own children and ourselves at times. 

Jesus was fully obedient to the will of the Father.  John 5:30 (ESV) “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Remember that in Gethsemane He prayed: “Not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)  It was following the will of God that led Jesus to the cross where He died for you and for me in the place that we deserve to die because of our sins.  The listener, the learner, the Lord Jesus, is led along

the path of suffering and humiliation.  Because…

2.  JESUS LOVES SO MUCH AND GAVE HIMSELF!  Isaiah 50:6-9 (Silencing the Accusers)

“I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.  But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.  He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me.  Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.”

In His obedience to the will of the Father Jesus willingly offered His back to those who beat Him, His beard to those who would pluck it out and His face to those who would spit upon Him.  And He did it all for you and for me!  The Lamb of God was led to the slaughter in the will of God.  Jesus loves so much! 

In all that He faced, Jesus was not ashamed, it was His glory, His joy, to die in submission to the Father’s will and plan.  Not that He desired death but He longed for you and me to have eternal life!  Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne

of God.”

He knew He would be fully vindicated by God the Father:  Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV) “Therefore God

has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The Accuser is silenced because Jesus Christ met in full the demands of God’s justice and holiness and He make us right with God when we believe on Him and are saved.  We then stand not condemned.    Paul explains this picture beginning in Romans 8:1 (ESV) “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  And he can barely contain his excitement as he comes to Romans 8:31-39 (ESV) and applies it to the believer echoing the thoughts of Isaiah 50: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who 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.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ 

Jesus our Lord.”

Our vindication from Satan’s accusation and from sin’s condemnation (Romans 8:1) has been bought by the blood of the submissive, obedient Servant our Saviour predicted in Isaiah 50. No one will be able to bring a charge against God’s elect because Jesus obeyed on our behalf!

Jesus listens well. Jesus loves so much. 

3.  WILL YOU LISTEN TO THE SERVANT OR CAN YOU HEAR ONLY YOURSELF?

Isaiah 50:10-11 “Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who

walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.  Behold, all

you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.“

The final words of the Servant contrast the path of faith and the path of unbelief. 

1 Peter 2:21-23 (ESV) “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.  He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.  When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

The reference in verse 10 to “the voice of the servant” confirms the identity of the speaker to whom we have been listening.  

The challenge is to follow the path of faith. 

Do you fear the Lord?  Do you obey the voice of His servant?  Are you walking in the light?  If you are walking in darkness you need light.  Jesus is the Light.  Trust in and rely on Him. Faith dispels

the darkness!

Jesus said: John 8:12 (ESV) “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

How do you know you’re trusting in God and relying on Him?  You fear the Lord.  You obey the

voice of His servant.  You walk in the light. 

Walking in the light…1 John 1:7 (ESV) “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”  

Hearing His voice… John 10:27 (ESV) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Fearing the Lord…Proverbs 9:10 (ESV) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”

Jerry Bridges in his book “The Joy of Fearing God” says: “We cannot separate trust in God from the fear of God.  We will trust Him only to the extent that we genuinely stand in awe of Him.”  

The Servant tells us that the path of faith is based on trusting in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.  The path of faith is contrasted with the path of unbelief.  

Isaiah 50:11 (ESV) “Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.”

Literally this is telling us that you cannot light your own way.  If you walk in your own way you will face judgement.  If you try to kindle your own fire to create your own light the Message puts the Servant’s words this way: “I’ll hold your feet to the flames.” 

The College Press Commentary says: Such efforts (at lighting your own way) are futile, however, 

and doomed to failure. God therefore sarcastically exhorts those who refuse to trust him to pursue this approach and to see where it leads—to torment.  

What about you?  Will you listen to the voice of the Servant or will you listen only to yourself? 

The Christ Centered Exposition commentary says:  The chapter ends by asking a question of all who are walking in the darkness of sin. Will you fear the Lord, listen to Christ, and walk humbly through faith in his light? Or will you reject Christ, light your own torch for guidance, and seek to live according to your own wisdom? The first group will be saved; the second will lie down in eternal torment.

For Christians:

First: Will you fear the Lord?  Will you listen to His voice?  Will you obey His word?  Learn to listen well daily as Jesus did.  Learn to love as Jesus loved.  

Second: Stand in awe of the suffering Saviour, God’s Servant, Jesus Christ!  Feel the weight of the

abuse that He endured, it was your sin and mine that caused His suffering. 

Third: Be ready to share the word that He teaches and encourage the hearts of others.  Challenging those who dwell in the darkness to come to the light.  

For Non-Christians: 

Here is a graphic warning.  If you refuse to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and continue to try to light your own way, the end of that way is eternal torment.  Don’t succumb to the fires of falsehood. 

Come to the One who alone is John 14:6 (ESV) “the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through” Him. 

The Bible Speaks Commentary says: 

The Servant is not simply to be admired or wondered at; he is to be obeyed (10). In short, in describing his own discipleship the Servant has shown them what God requires of all his people: not empty profession, but wholehearted, costly obedience.

Jesus often said: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Will you listen to the voice of the Servant?  Or can you hear only yourself?  

What about you?  As this new year is about to begin will you listen to the voice of the Servant? 

Or will you go on refusing to hear? 

Leave a Reply