“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” Isa 50:7
To set one’s face like a flint is to be disciplined and not moved from a conviction. For the Christian, it means we follow in “Christ’s footsteps”. It means separating from unholy worldly influences. It can mean sacrifice and is the opposite of living after earthly rewards and selfishly seeking personal gain. It means doing God’s will; being loyal to God and his Truth above all else. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matt 16:24
God helps Christians to become disciplined through the power and influence of His Holy Spirit which is received by studying Scripture and an active prayer life. Symbolically, our part can be illustrated by soldiers. God’s part is that he provides special armor. “. . . endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” 2 Tim 2:3-4 (Also Eph 6:10-18) The Christian battle can never be won by human wisdom and strength, but is won by faith in Christ’s merit. “..Whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
Isaiah was speaking about his own battle and how he was not moved from his convictions but continued doing what God asked of him. Like Isaiah, Christians learn that if they set their “face like a flint”, they will not be defeated either.
Isaiah Prophesized About the Work and Life of Jesus
God foretold, through Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets, that a savior, a mighty captain, was promised and provided details about the Messiah’s work so that we are able to identify and recognize him. “. . . and he shall send Jesus Christ . . . which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets . . .” Acts 3:18-21
Isaiah 50:5-8, prophetically tells us about Jesus’ experience on the cross. “The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will to be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. He who vindicated me is near….” The cross was the ultimate test of Jesus’ pledge and conviction to do God’s will. His supreme love for God and mankind gave him the courage and discipline needed to “set his face like a flint”. Through Jesus’ experiences on earth, he was taught of God so that he could prove worthy to become “the Captain of our salvation“. During his earthly warfare, even though it meant death on the cross, Jesus “set his face like a flint”.
Through Jesus, we too are learning to know and trust God’s love and faithfulness and to follow our Master. Therefore, we can remain good soldiers, be victorious in tough battles and eventually develop a “Christ-like” character. ” Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Phil 2:5 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind …” 1 Pet 4:1
Like Isaiah, and especially like our Lord, the victorious disciple will say; “I set my face like a flint”.