The Suffering Servant – The Father’s Plan

Isaiah 53:10 says, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him“.  The phrase translated “the will of the LORD” is the Hebrew chaphets, which I’m convinced should not have been translated this way. Chaphets means, “to delight in, take pleasure in, desire, be pleased with”.  To say that it was the will of the LORD is accurate, but I don’t think it captures what is truly being said by Isaiah.  The will of God, after all, is not always pleasing to Him.  For example, we know that the LORD allows us to sin to fulfill His purposes, yet it grieves Him.  Ephesians 4:30 says, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”.  Our sin grieves Him.  Our sins do not please Him.

So, I think, that when English translators render this verse, “it was the will of the LORD“, they do so, perhaps, to attempt to protect the Lord’s integrity.  “Why would it please someone to crush His own Son?  Surely this word can’t mean ‘pleased'”.  It’s an admirable motive, but perhaps a misguided one.

It is okay if it pleased the LORD to crush His Son.  This doesn’t mean that God is sadistic in any way.  If the pleasure of God in this verse means that He was sadistically enjoying the death of His Son, then it would be contradictory to His character, and therefore, it would not be the right word.  But there are other reasons that it would please Him.

First, it was according to His purpose.  There is a correlation between His will being done and His pleasure.  Isaiah 46:8-10 says, “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to your mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end  from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'”.  Other translations say, “I will do all that I please” or “I do whatever I wish” or “I will accomplish all my good pleasure”, etc.  He does what He wants, and what He wants is perfect.

Another reason was that it was the means to a pleasing end.  The crushing of His Son was the way He ordained that He would bring many sons to glory.  It pleases Him to save His people, and multitudes at that.  Luke 15:7 says, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine persons who need no repentance.”  It pleased Him to crush His Son, because He had in mind what it would accomplish.  What a great thing to be pleased about, and what a wondrous and gracious purpose.

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