Noble Gifts for Lowly Uses
Isaiah 50:4-11
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary…

I. GOD'S HIGHEST GIFTS HAVE THEIR DEFINITE END AND PURPOSE. In Nature, for instance, nothing has been created in vain. And so it ought to be in human life, that world of feeling and desire within the breast of man. You see that the prophet looked upon the tongue of the learned as a gift from God, holding it in trust, where many would have counted it as their own. And he saw it was a gift for very plain and apparent purposes — for men are stewards, and not owners of all that is bestowed upon them. This splendid administrative genius of the Anglo-Saxon race, dominant and even imperious, but only because it has seen into the heart of purposes working themselves out in the midst of the ages, the wealth it has acquired, the influence it commands, has this no meaning in the economy of nations? You only need the touch of Christ to consecrate it and turn it into right channels, and the whole world is blessed thereby. "We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak."

II. THIS DEFINITE PURPOSE IS A VERY SIMPLE ONE, AND POSSIBLY AT FIRST SIGHT INSUFFICIENT. Ambition would say so, and ambition is as natural to the human heart as desire itself. We ask great things, we would be great things, we would do them. It must be confessed, however, that no sin of man has been more constant and apparent than that which has made men look down upon these lowly uses belonging unto lofty gifts. A proud reserve has been considered in all ages as appropriate to commanding talents. The statesman's wisdom, the orator's art, the poet's fire, what are they side by side with all that wondrous wealth lavished upon simple fishermen in Galilee, and carried into the home of Lazarus, and spent among the humble poor. Between the highest born among men and the humblest service henceforward there can be no disparity. "If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet," He said to His disciples, "ye ought also to wash one another's feet." And as with individuals, so with nations. God gives special gifts for His own purposes.

III. THIS PURPOSE IS A VERY URGENT AND APPROPRIATE ONE. After all, the end is not beneath the means. It needs the tongue of the learned to speak a word in season to him that is weary, that word fitly spoken which dries the tear from the eye, and banishes sorrow from the heart. To do away with pain and assuage grief, is not that a noble, a Divine thing? And will you see how Christianity has been doing this in lower and yet very important directions, permeating society by its subtle influences for good? And more when you understand Isaiah's words in their true and spiritual significance, what a field of usefulness unfolds itself! For the great burdens of mankind are not physical, but mental and spiritual.

(W. Baxendale.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

WEB: 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 wakens morning by morning, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.

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