He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Pretty harsh words….. DESPISED? Well, I didn’t really DESPISE him. He just rubbed me wrong! Sort of like how we think of God today, no? Of course I love him. But do I always act like I do? Do I esteem him as I should? Do I REALLY praise him with my life?
Or – do I still try and “hide” those things from him that I know greive him? As if I can just put a veil up, and POOF, God can’t see into my sinful life! I’ll only let him see the GOOD things! Doesn’t work that way….
While this verse was prophetic of how Jesus would ultimately be received by so many who did not like what he revealed in their hearts, it also was (and is) descriptive of how so many felt (and feel) about God. From Exodus 20:18-19:
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
We see that the Israelites were terrified in the presence of the Lord. As was Moses – but where the fear of God drew him near, the terror in their hearts drew them away. I read about this in a really cool book by John Bevere called The Fear of the Lord. He compared reverent fear that Moses had for the Lord with the sheer terror the Israelites had. I also think they loved their sinful nature – their bondage – so much that they in essence hated God. I mean – they saw more miracles happen right before them than anyone else, yet they constantly chose their own ways. And I would presume the shame they felt was what made them not want to be in the presence of God. I get that – I do that myself!
And God responded, stating that it was good that they did not want to be in his presence. God can’t have sin in his presence, and he would have had to wipe them all out. So – it was good for THEM, not him. Oh, how that had to break his heart! And he gave them the most beautiful promise of Salvation, in his Son Jesus Christ!
The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.
Jesus Christ is the prophet God spoke of. He sent his Son into the world, knowing we would reject him. Knowing we would hate him, even up to today! Knowing we would see in his face a reflection our shameful sin. But also knowing that through his Son, and the sacrifice he made and triumph over death and sin, we would be washed clean, and would be able to stand with confidence before the throne of God, without spot or wrinkle! Praise the Lord!