Isaiah 49:4. “Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent My strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely My judgment is with the Lord, and My work with My God.”
Verse 4. – Then I said, I have laboured in vain; rather, and I, for my part, had said. The Servant had momentarily desponded, seeing the small results of all his efforts to reclaim Israel, and had felt a natural human regret at so much labour apparently expended in vain; but his despondency had been soon checked by the thought that God would not suffer any “labour of love” to be wholly in vain, but would give it the recompense which it merited. The verse brings strongly out the true humanity of the “Servant,” who feels as men naturally feel, but restrains himself, and does not allow his feelings to carry him away. Compare with this despondency the grief exhibited by our Lord on two occasions (Matthew 23:37; John 11:35), and the depression which extorted from him the memorable words, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (Matthew 27:46). My work; rather, my reward, or my recompense.
We don’t often think of Messiah as being discouraged, but we should consider that He was tempted in all points just as we are. It must have seemed, as he watched the story of mankind roll out through history, that all His efforts to preserve Israel, to redeem her from idolatry and bring her back to Himself, were a wasted effort.
The biggest lesson to learn, I think, is that He never quit. He never said, “Okay, that’s it, I give up.”