Let me quote the verse from which these words are taken: “The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned (the instructed) that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary” (Isa. 50:4).
1st. Who speaks the word in season
Who is that “Me” who is instructed by the Lord God for a service so precious and so deeply needed?
It is He who (as the same passage states) asks the question: “Is My hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? . . . I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.”
In His hand is all that power. He can redeem; He can deliver; He can darken the face of the sky; in His hand is omnipotence—a truly wonderful Person is He!
And yet He it is who is qualified to do a service so infinitesimal as to drop a word of comfort into the ear of the weary. What vast extremes are in His service!
He who covers the heavens can comfort a poor weary heart here below. And He does!
2nd. How did He acquire this ability?
How, in what school, did He receive this learning? How comes He to act in sympathy and to feel the sorrows of His afflicted people? The answer is given us in Hebrews 2 and 5. There we read that He “took part in flesh and blood”; He became incarnate; He stooped from Godhead glory into the fashion of man; as man He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. He who had hitherto commanded, who “spake and it was done,” now learns obedience in suffering, as each of the four divinely-given biographies of His perfect life makes known to us; it was in this school—that of weariness and weeping, of hunger and poverty) of contact with every phase of human misery and woe, the tears of the doubly bereft widow and the desolated home of Bethany, the painfully visible effects of sin and the groan of a convulsed creation—in this familiar school and not in the unruffled dignities of heaven He learned the art, rare and precious, of sympathy and of speaking a word to the weary. His sympathy is the result of dearly-bought experience, and is, therefore, ever efficacious.
He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. “He was tempted in all (note the word) points like as we are, yet without sin” (sin wholly absent).
3rd. The Word spoken is seasonable
His word to the weary is spoken, we read, “in season.” That is, He knows the exact moment when to whisper into the wearied ear, and just when to support the breaking heart.
It was in a moment of physical crisis in my own career, that I learned the meaning of His rod and staff comforting me. I had, till then, attached the idea of support to that staff. Now, I discovered that there was also “comfort.” So says the charming pastoral psalm, where we find the sheep drifting down through the valley, but, even there, comforted by the shepherd’s rod and staff! Yes, but this makes the dreaded valley a very easy journey when you find that such comfort is yours in it, and that beyond its shadow is the House of the Lord for ever!
Christ’s ministry is always seasonable, never out of season. It may not assume an audible form, as it oft-times did in days of old, as, for instance, to Abraham, Moses, the prophets, or to Paul, once and again, but in some sweet and suitable way by the Word, or otherwise—a psalm, a hymn, or a spiritual song—the patient service and comfort of the living Lord, is proved by the weary.
4th. Who are the weary?
Well, such a question is superfluous today . . . Who is not weary?
“And they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah” (Jer. 51:64)—a striking statement at the close of this significant prophecy, but not very dissimilar from the “groan” of Romans 8. Wearying and groaning are, did we only allow the fact, the chief features of humanity today. The frivolity of nature can only be accounted for by its insensibility. The awful fact is that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not,” and this diabolic obfuscation of mind, on the part of all such, is the reason of this sad phenomenon. Did every one feel as he should that he “must give account of himself to God,” how different would be his thoughts and habits! But “God is not in all his thoughts,” and hence the trifling.
But not so is the weary. To him God is real, and needed, and obeyed, and loved. He follows in the blessed steps of his Master and Lord. He realizes the contradiction to God on all hands. He is oft-times weary, rightly so, and he it is who receives and enjoys “a word in season” from Him who has power to redeem and to deliver, as well as to cover the heavens with blackness, or do what He will in the armies of heaven.
“Thy sympathy how precious,
Thou succourest in sorrow.”