KEY THOT: This passage is a reference to Christ’s determination to go to the cross despite suffering opposition and humiliation by the Jews and the Gentiles. To “set my face like a flint” is to harden one's facial expression like the flint (a hardened rock used for making arrow and spear). It is an attitude of steadfastness, not running away from suffering and death, so that God’s will may be done. Jesus was able to endure the suffering unto death because he knew that he “shall not be put to shame” for his Father “who vindicates me is near.” Even when we have to suffer opposition for doing God’s will, we should remain steadfast and determined to complete the journey and not buckle because of hardship encountered along the way. Like Jesus, our Father will be near us to vindicate our obedience at the end of our journey.
Once we are clear that what we are doing is the will of God, we should seek to please God from that point onward, no matter what others may say or do to us. There are two blessings in this determination to complete what God has called us to start: (1) God will vindicate us; (2) God will be near us. We will not be ashamed as we experience God’s presence and vindication when we have completed the task.
I believe in helping churches become missional, even if in the process there will be opposition from naysayers who are determined to maintain the religious status quo. But God’s purpose is spelt out in the prayer he taught us, that we are to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. And as long as we align our lives with this kingdom purpose and will, we will have the assurance that God will be near to us to vindicate us when we have run the race.
Father, what a privilege it is to be constantly engaged in seeking Your kingdom and righteousness first, for we know that You will draw near to us and will vindicate our single-minded determination to complete the journey. Amen.