ï»¿“He was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)
In this, our third consideration of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant passage (Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12), we learn that people looked down upon Him whom the Lord will exalt. The expression “for he shall grow up before him as a tender plant” (53:2) likely refers to a sucker limb. These scraggly sprigs grow straight out of the side of tree trunks. Homeowners find them annoying enough to pay tree services to cut them off. That’s just what the world did to the Savior (53:8).
“As a root out of a dry ground” (53:2) lies poised to trip an unsuspecting pedestrian, so the religious people alive at the Savior’s first coming saw Him as a danger. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11).
At the same time that “we hid as it were our faces from him” (Isaiah 53:3), the Father esteemed Him by giving Him a new title. Irish Hebraist J. Alec Motyer did well to translate Isaiah 53:1 as “Who believed what we heard? And Yahweh’s Arm, to whom was it revealed?” The title Yahweh’s Arm refers to His Servant’s abundant strength.
Isaiah reveals tension between Yahweh’s high esteem for His strong “Arm” versus the people who “esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). What led His own, especially the religious Pharisees, to despise the same Servant who “shall be exalted and extolled” (Isaiah 52:13)?
Was it not pride? Like the Pharisees, our pride persuades us that we have no need of God, that we need no correction or rescue. Pride even keeps us from seeing our own pride! Humility is the remedy, for “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15). With humility, we can see our need and esteem Him. BDT
Days of Praise Podcast is a podcast based on the Institute for Creation Research quarterly print devotional, Days of Praise. Start your day with devotional readings written by Dr. Henry Morris, Dr. Henry Morris III, Dr. John Morris, and others to strengthen and encourage you in your Christian faith.