The Prophets are usually thought of as being those who “forth tell” God’s truth. Forth-telling is usually associated with instructions regarding man’s responsibility under the Law of Moses. It most often contains an element of condemnation for his hearers’ failure to live up to God’s standards. The Prophet is the “in your face” preacher who exposes your sinfulness and calls for you to change your ways.  The other aspect of an Old Testament Prophet seems to be the foretelling of judgment that will fall upon the wretched sinners for their forsaking God’s ways. The judgments are severe and devastating and sometimes very specific.  Also, they will speak with great authority using phrases like, “thus says the Lord.”

But it seems that in the later chapters of Isaiah we see a different and new element coming with the promise of the Messiah. We make most sense of these passages by seeing that they are messianic. They speak of the coming of the last “Word” from God heard in the proclamations of the Messiah and the struggle he will have with the acceptance of his message. Look at a couple verses from Isaiah 50:4-6. It says, “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.”

In this passage we see that God instructed this prophet to say something very different. He doesn’t say “thus saith the Lord.” Instead he suggests that God had given him the “tongue” of an encourager and up-lifter of broken hearts. God didn’t give him the words, but gave him the tongue of the one who knows what words to use to sustain the weary. God has made his ears teachable and he can’t get enough of this wonderful message that he is blessed with sharing with others. Jesus is this prophet who does not bring the word from God but is the “Word” of God. It was the forth-telling and foretelling prophets that used a cat of nine tails on his back. It was the self-appointed spokesmen from God that slapped his face and pulled out his beard and spit in his face. But the Living Word of God, Jesus, never changed his message: “Come to me all you who are weary and burned out on religion and I will give you rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28)