Isaiah thought that he was communicating what would appear to be a complete contradiction, something that those who heard his message would likely discredit. And, on the surface, that’s exactly what it was. Who would ever believe that the arm – or really the power – of the Lord could be seen in that which everybody normally considered to be a picture of powerlessness.
You see, we naturally look for revelations of the power of God in the strong things of this world – in lightning, battle, storms, thunder, fire and earthquakes. We certainly don’t look for a revelation of God’s power in the small and seemingly weak things of this world like the struggling growth of a tender plant or a root that springs forth from the dry ground. To most people these are not symbols of the arm of the Lord – of His power – but rather of powerlessness. However, Isaiah saw in these small, soft, weak things a mighty revelation of the arm and power of the Lord.
Isaiah realized that the highest revelation of the Lord’s might is found in the gentleness of Him who grew up as a tender plant. Isn’t that revelation true in our own heart? What do you think is greatest sign of God in this world? Wouldn’t it be the life of Him who had the power to lay down His life? What do you believe is the strongest manifestation of the power of one’s will? Isn’t it the strength of Him who said, “Not my will, but your will…”? What do you see as the greatest exhibition of endurance in this world? Wouldn’t it be the compelling cry of Him who said, “Come to me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest”?
I long to fully know the omnipotent strength of Him who was unknowingly eulogized with the words, “He saved others, but Himself he can not save.” You see, the world saw that as a sign of weakness, but it was actually a strength unspeakable and one that belonged only to Jesus. That divine inability was the greatest power in the universe – the power of divine love. It was the power of love that made Him powerless to save Himself. It was that singular strength that made it impossible for Him to turn from the narrow road – the dolorous way – but go to a garden and climb a cross.
I pray for the strength of the one who was able to say, “I can not save myself,” to be my strength too. I desire that His arm be revealed not only to me, but also in me. I ask to be made strong enough to bear the cross and despise the shame, to prefer the narrow path of divine duty above the kingdoms of this world and their glory. I need His strength to be able to trample self under foot, to surrender my will to His will, to yield my spirit to His Spirit for His is truly “the power of God unto salvation.”