This verse speaks about the art of instructing with a word, those who are weary. No one has mastered this art better than Christ. Actually, this verse is about Him. It is the beginning of the third of the so-called “Servant Songs” in Isaiah (the others are 42:1-9; 49:1-7; 52:13-53:12). Christ is my example of a true servant of the Lord. I can learn from Him in order to become more like Him.
The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught … To know how to speak to the weary is a gift from the sovereign Lord God. But I don’t receive this gift overnight. The comforting tongue is a characteristic of those who are taught. These are His disciples who listen to the teaching of the Word of God faithfully and continuously. During this process they internalise more and more the thinking of their great teacher. They speak as He would speak. They get the tongue of a disciple.
… that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. The main purpose of the Lord’s teaching is that I know how to assist with a word those who are exhausted. Of course, a word comes from the Word. The gospel gives comfort to those who feel the weight of their sin (Mt 11:28). The Bible doctrines and truths about God provide guidance, give hope and they strengthen. When I have studied and understood them, I have a rich supply of concepts and words to address the various needs of those who are weary relevantly, clearly and in due time.
Morning by morning He awakens. Like a master wakens his pupils, so Christ wakens me. He loves to teach early. Early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him (Luke 21:38). Every morning He is ready for a new class. Am I ready, too? Or am I sleepy and find it hard to concentrate? When someone asks me during the day what I have read in the Bible this morning, do I remember? Have I noticed what He wanted to teach me? How much do I need Him to awaken me from my spiritual lethargy!
He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. “To train the tongue we must begin with the ear. No one is qualified to teach who has not first of all found pleasure in learning” (C.H. Spurgeon). The preparation of the tongue of a disciple is never finished. We can never say, “Now I know. Now I don’t need any further training.” If I want to communicate the Word of God properly, I need to listen attentively. If I want to protect my teaching from becoming stagnant, I need to receive a fresh supply of His teaching every morning. I need to study and to learn constantly.1 It’s a great privilege and a real grace that God is willing to teach me the art of instructing with a word him who is weary.
1 If you know English you may wish to try RefNet.fm. This is a 24-hour internet radio and includes broadcasts from Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, John Piper, R.C. Sproul and others. It’s a great tool for studying God’s Word.