6 I surrendered my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from their insults and spitting. 7 The Lord Yahveh will help me; so I have not been disgraced; so I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; 8 The One who vindicates me is near. Who will oppose me? Let us stand up together. Who are my enemies? Let them challenge me. 9 It is the Lord Yahveh who will help me; who will convict me of guilt? They will all wear out like a garment; the moth will consume them. 10 Who is among you, fearing Yahveh, listening to the voice of his servant, who has walked in dark places, and there is no light for him? Let him trust in the name of Yahveh, and lean upon his God. 11 Watch out all of you fire starters, lighters of torches. Go ahead, walk in the flame of your fire, and among the torches that you have lighted! This is what you will get from my hand: you will lie down in torment.
walk in the flame
Isaiah describes those who condemn his prophecies as fire starters, lighters of torches. They do not have time for God’s words, and offer this great prophet nothing but abuse and insult. But Isaiah sets his face like flint, determined and resolute. He will stay true to his mission in spite of their rejection. God will vindicate him, and those opponents will be humbled and lie down (die) in torment. These words are also recognised as foretelling the suffering and humiliation Jesus experienced. Both Isaiah and Jesus could suffer in this life, knowing that they would be eventually vindicated by God.
When we face unfair treatment – when people choose to ignore or misrepresent our message – when we are abused and humiliated – we need only remember that those who choose to walk by their own flame will one day regret it. On that day those flames will consume them. Only those who walk by God’s light will avoid judgment and death in hell.
LORD, give us the wisdom to walk by your truth, even when others despise and persecute us for it.