4 The Lord, the Eternal, equipped me for this job—
with skilled speech, a smooth tongue for instruction.
I can find the words that comfort and soothe the downtrodden, tired, and despairing.
And I know when to use them.
Each morning, it is God who wakes me and tells me what I should do,
what I should say.
5 The Lord, the Eternal, has helped me to listen,
and I do as He says. I have not been rebellious or run away from God’s work.
6 But it’s been hard. I offered My back to those who whipped me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not turn away from humiliation and spitting.
The prophet speaks, but his words are those of the Servant of God. The Servant is in tune with God, the Master Teacher. He teaches as he has been taught, and—for the first time it seems—He understands that suffering is an integral part of the work God has for him. The reality for God’s Servant and any who follow him is this: to be close with God means to be at odds with people.
7 Because the Lord, the Eternal, helps me I will not be disgraced;
so, I set my face like a rock, confident that I will not be ashamed.
8 My hero who sets things right is near.
Who would dare to challenge me?
Let’s stand and debate this head-to-head!
Who would dare to accuse me? Let him come near.
9 See here, the Lord, the Eternal, helps me—who could possibly win against me?
All my accusers will wear out like a ratty old moth-eaten shirt.