In Isaiah Chapters 40 and 41 we have been exploring Who God Is. Here's what we know so far. God is Great! He delivered Israel; He is in control of world leaders; He is greater than idols. He provides. He protects. Let everything that has breathe praise the Lord.
Now, in Chapter 42, we learn more about God and His mysterious Trinity, specifically His Servant Jesus.
The Lord is our God; the Lord is One.
Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.Isaiah 42:1
Verse 1-3 are quoted in Matthew 12:18-20 and it states that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophesy.
- He will not cry out or raise His voice; nor make His voice heard in the streets
- A bruised reed, He will not break
- A dimly burning wick that won't be extinguished
- He will faithfully bring forth justice
Verse 4 goes on to prepare us that this isn't an immediate outcome. He won't be disheartened or crushed (nor should we) until the time is full and He has established justice. The nations wait expectantly.
In a beautiful and hope-filled passage, verses 5-9 detail the Lord God speaking to this Servant (Jesus). "Thus says God the Lord:
- This God created the heavens and stretched them out. He spread out the earth and its offspring. (Verse 5)
- He gives the people breath and spirit. (Verse 5)
- He tells Jesus Who He Is and that He called Jesus in righteousness. (Verse 6)
- He promises to hold Jesus by the hand and watch over Him. (Verse 6)
- He tells Jesus that He will appoint Jesus as a covenant to the people and a light to the nations. (Verse 6)
I need to pause for a second and meditate on that last one.
This God I have been reading about for a 1000 pages has made many covenants. Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, Jeroboam, just to name a few. And He has been faithful to His word. For better or worse, He followed up on what He promised. But now, He is sending His Servant as a covenant. And that covenant will be as a light to the nations?!?
This God of covenants becomes the covenant.
I suspect that this is because none of us could uphold our portion. We have those who completely betrayed the covenant, such as Jeroboam; but even the best of them committed terrible, terrible sins and poorly prepare the following generations for the covenant.
But this covenant, in the form of His Servant, can bring light to the nations because He will include a Helper for our portion of the covenant. How beautiful. And reassuring. But also quite convicting that He has done so much for me and I don't always see it or feel it.
In verse 7 God, the Lord, goes on to describe what to expect from this Servant--how we will know that it is He.
- open the eyes of the blind
- bring prisoners out of dungeons
- bring prisoners out of darkness
This is what I was better at explaining to my friends and family who are not believers. Jesus did not come to start a religion. He did not come to limit your life and fun. He came to bring you light and sight and freedom. He can set us free.
I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.Isaiah 42:8-9
No wonder they call this second half of Isaiah the "New Testament" half. This reads like something from the New Testament. I often feel bad for those 1st century people who had to content with Who Jesus Was. They had images of this King coming to defeat the Romans. But you read passages like this and you can't help but to wonder. I'm not judging...and I am not saying I would have gotten it right. But these passages show that something completely different was going to happen.
Verse 10, specifically, commands us to sing to the lord a new song. To sing His praise across the whole earth!
- you who go to the sea
- you islands and nations
- you in the wilderness
- you in the cities
- descendants of Ishmael
- inhabitants of Sela
EVERYONE that has breath PRAISE THE LORD!
SHOUT FOR JOY!
GIVE HIM GLORY!
The Lord will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.Isaiah 42:13
Ok. Fair enough. I can see why they expected a warrior- if they were taught this verse in a vacuum. But it has to be taken as the whole counsel of God. This plus what we read in Revelations and other passages tells us that this will be in the Second Coming. But we have the advantage of distance from the events to be able to see the bigger picture.
Verses 14-17 describe what the Lord will do. He stayed quiet and then He will groan like a woman in labor. In His travail, the mountains and hills will be laid waste, the rivers and ponds will dry up.
However, at the same time, He will guide the blind, give them light, and make their path plain.
Meanwhile those trusting idols will be put to shame.
Verses 18-25, the final passage of the chapter, is a cry from a distraught Father. He cries the spiritually deaf and blind. He reviews what He gave to His people and how they still ended up in caves, prisoners and prey, with no one to deliver them.
He goes on to point out that He even gave up on Israel and Judah...everyone else should take heed.
So much hope; but it comes as a covenant. We still have a choice to make.
Saved by the Servant or shamed and at war with the Servant.
That's quite a choice.