Thursday, March 25th Isaiah 50:7-9

The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like 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 are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up. Isaiah 50:7-9

When Luke was writing the story of Jesus, in the 9th chapter, he described Jesus as “setting his face toward Jerusalem”. This description is more than a compass setting, that Jesus turned his body toward the south. It is rather a reflection of his inner disposition, his determination that nothing was going to stop him from doing what he needed to do.

It is much like the servant reflected in these verses from Isaiah: “The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.”

As the church marches toward Palm Sunday this week, the college basketball world is caught up in March Madness, the marathon of basketball games leading to the national championship. College basketball doesn’t mean much in the great scheme of things but, like all sports, it does put some of our deepest values on display – teamwork, honor, dedication, perseverance, and performance under pressure. At the end of the day, the teams which win prove willing and able to do what other teams can’t or don’t.

To what in our lives do we “set our face like flint?” Where are the lines we refuse to cross, or refuse to retreat? What do we stand for that prevents us from falling for anything?

When we identify those core convictions, those core values, those core behaviors that define us, we quickly realize that we’re talking about the places in our lives where we most need what God freely gives us.

Isaiah reminds us that the Lord helps us. We need not face the battle, or the opposition, or the temptation, alone. We can “set our face like flint” because we know that God has our back, for our own good.

No one will long remember who wins the national NCAA basketball championship. No one remembers more than a few of the names of those who wrongly accused Jesus. But – even as they have worn out like a garment; the moth having eaten them up – we will never forget Jesus.

He had no earthly power, privilege or position. He raised no army, conquered no territory, built no earthly palace.

But he has won us. Our allegiance. Our faith. Our trust. Our lives.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, you lived your mission of love for us without quivering or quitting. Nothing could stop you. Those who falsely accused you accused only themselves. Give us just a portion of that determination to be your people and be about your work. Help us do that which we cannot do without your help. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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