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Jehovah Will Help Me by Ella Pomeroy

Isaiah's Servant Songs by Ella Pomeroy'

Third of four articles by Ella Pomeroy on the Servant Songs of the Book of Isaiah.

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Unity Magazine November 1937

The Third Servant Song (Isaiah 50:4-9)

(Online: ASV WEB)

50:4The Lord Jehovah hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught. 50:5The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away backward. 50:6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 50:7For 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. 50:8He is near that justifieth me; who will content with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 50:9Behold, 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.
— American Standard Version Bible

4 The Lord Yahweh has given me the tongue of those who are taught,

that I may know how to sustain with words him who is weary.

He awakens morning by morning,

he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.

5 The Lord Yahweh has opened my ear.

I was not rebellious.

I have not turned back.

6 I gave my back to those who beat me,

and my cheeks to those who plucked off the hair.

I didn’t hide my face from shame and spitting.

7 For the Lord Yahweh will help me.

Therefore I have not been confounded.

Therefore I have set my face like a flint,

and I know that I won’t be disappointed.

8He who justifies me is near.

Who will bring charges against me?

Let us stand up together.

Who is my adversary?

Let him come near to me.

9 Behold, the Lord Yahweh will help me!

Who is he who will condemn me?

Behold, they will all grow old like a garment.

The moths will eat them up.

— World English Bible


Isaiah 50:4. IN THE FIRST POEM we had the command “Behold, my servant,” and in the second the assurance “Thou art my servant.” In the third, reprinted above, the servant himself is represented as being certain he is helped, supported, upheld, and defended. (Isa. 50:4-9 ) For our poet begins with the assertion that his very tongue is taught by Jehovah, therefore he finds himself supplied with words that enable him to aid the weary and heartsick men around him. The servant feels the inpouring of divine inspiration, and finds himself day by day and morning by morning stirred with fresh impulses toward helpfulness and new abilities to assist men in their daily efforts.

If I might digress for a few moments to give a bit of personal history, I would say this. No one in my family or among my friends could have been half so much surprised as I was to find myself being drawn into Unity work. Certainly no one could have been more overwhelmed at the spectacle than I was—until I one day encountered the very passage of which I spoke above. From then on there has been in my thought of the kind of work I am doing a constant effort to realize that the tongue that speaks is prompted and guided by the Lord Jehovah; and if any weary man is sustained by these printed words or by those spoken from any platform, it is because the Lord Jehovah has been the teacher.

Isaiah 50:5. Whatever takes place in any individual at any time may take place in any other individual; and if I could teach myself that the day is the Lord’s, the words Jehovah’s, and the results in His keeping, then each of my readers can teach himself that “Jehovah . . . wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear”; and he can realize that he is to listen to the inner voice and become as “they that are taught” if he desires to manifest the kingdom of heaven.

“The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear,” and like Simon who became Peter we hear graciously, accepting what we hear and letting the new idea or situation enter our mind so as to move us out of and above some old condition. As Simon listened when Jesus called and was astonished to be told that his name in the future would be Peter, so we find ourselves going beyond the point of merely listening quietly to the promises of Jehovah, passing to the Christ within us, and branching out in our thought to knowing clearly and actively that our ears are indeed opened, that we hear the word intended for us. We cease to be “rebellious, neither turned away backwards.” Instead of looking to the past for an experience that we can repeat or for well-worn wisdom on which we can rely, we step out into the arena of life with a high heart and a firm tread, for we are no longer interested in the past. Our entire thought life is concerned with the future and our own development.

Isaiah 50:6-7. The 6th verse expresses a conception of life that was universal at the time it was written. It is a conception that still haunts our life and makes it necessary for us to sit down with ourselves and hold another thought-cleansing session! The notion that suffering is inevitable, that it is necessary to the growth of the soul, that only by shame and agony can one prove one’s willingness to be led by Jehovah, that ancient conception of man’s relation to God appears in our thought today. So it is not surprising that our poet uses the language of woe to express the idea of life’s appearing to smite him, of life’s seeming to tear at the very beard on his face, while at the same time, even if apparent shame and spitting are added, he will nevertheless continue to know that “the Lord Jehovah will help”; and by his steadfast knowing of this central truth he will bring to himself the final great recognition.

For our writer realizes that if he keeps his face ever toward Jehovah, if like David he sets no base thing before his eyes, he can never “be put to shame,” for the fresh beauty of eternal love will always find him and support him. Flint was probably one of the hardest substances known to thinkers of the time of our poet: he proposed to keep his spirit so firmly set toward the Holy One of Israel that his life would be flinty in its divine quality; that is, he would be so firm, so steadfast that there would be in him no suggestion of softness or weakness. The soul that reaches this point is truly a Peter, a “rock,” and whatever he builds on the rock of faith must inevitably become a fact in his world.

Isaiah 50:8. “He is near that justifieth me.” If we have followed the outline given in these studies, we are quite certain that Jehovah will help, that He has awakened the inner ear, that each particular soul is chosen for service in the Lord’s temple, and that He has put His Spirit upon us. Therefore we constantly feel His nearness, we have lost all sense of separation from Him; for we know that when we truly love the Christ we become one with Him. Also “he is near that justifieth me”; for we realize that all our own sense of righteousness is truly that of the Christ; we feel deeply and earnestly that our conviction of help from Jehovah is the Christ speaking to us; and we know beyond question that the love of our Father has chosen us—you, me—to do His perfect work in this world.

So what does it matter who may desire to “contend with” us? The “adversary” will meet with nothing but Godlike indifference on our part. For these conditions shall fall away as a garment might fall to pieces: the “moth shall eat them up.”

Isaiah 50:9. Freed from the worn, the inferior, the inappropriate things of life, we find ourselves rejoicing in the knowledge that every word we utter, every act we perform, is inspired with the teaching from on high; for “The Lord Jehovah hath given me the tongue of them that are taught.” Then we speak the word that sustains our own life, we bless others with this word, and we become profoundly grateful that we have learned that the Lord Jehovah is at hand every moment of the day and night, always ready to sustain and prosper us.

Conclusion. Rebellion, criticism of life, disgust, annoyance, these fall away from us; for we have become far more interested in the help of Jehovah than in the peculiar antics of people around us. Who is “the smiter” in your life? Who acts daily in ways that make you feel as if the hair were being plucked from your head? You find yourself as you think of yourself as the servant of Jehovah and meditate upon the love and beauty of the Great Servant within you, and you lose all inclination to talk about the disturbances in life, to impress other people with the importance of your trials. Henceforth you are entirely fascinated by the loveliness of that which you have discovered in your own heart. You attend to the “help” that Jehovah constantly offers you, you find yourself freed from fear of the “adversary” and disentangled from the condemnation of those around you: you rejoice in the knowledge of the Christ within you and the glorious recognition of the Christ who says always, “Ye did not choose me; I chose you.”

(Continued in December Unity)


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