"Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.
This is what God the Lord says —
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
'I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.' "
- Isaiah 42:1-9
"Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
Concerning The Servant of the Lord, and the servants of the Lord
The Servant Songs in Isaiah:
- Chapter 42 - 42:1-4 (42:5-9)
- Chapter 49 - 49:1-6 (49:7-13)
- Chapter 50 - 50:4-9 (50:10-11)
- Chapter 52 - 52:13-53:12 (54-55)
In Isaiah 41:29, “See, they are all false!”, speaks of the idols. The verse actually begins with the word “Behold!” and then continues to describe the idols. These idols present false philosophies and corrupt values found in the world). Idols are said to be false and amount to nothing. They are mere images and wind that produce confusion. Chapter 42 also begins in the Hebrew with “Behold!” in Isaiah 42:1. But, in Isaiah 42 the “Behold” draws attention to, “Behold, the Servant of God” and his philosophy, values and justice. These will produce righteousness and prosperity. The nations are to make a comparison of the Servant of God and his ways with the idols of the world and their ways. 42:1-4 The Description of the Servant of Yahweh and of His Word The servant of God is brought to the nations attention instead of the idols in ch. 41. These descriptions of the servant of God can be applied to these classes of servants:
- They describe the perfect servant of the Lord whoever that would be ( Israel, angels, the church, etc)
- They obviously where fulfilled by Jesus Christ since he himself is the perfect man and perfect God. Naturally, he would be the perfect servant.
- They are the goal of any person wanting to serve God. These attitudes are a model of what we are to strive for today in our service to God
- In a more limited sense, Cyrus the Great and other national leaders that God uses to form history.
The Servant of the Lord:
- The servant is upheld by Yahweh. God empowers his servants. He does not put us out there and see how we do. Instead he gives us all the backup we need to accomplish his purpose.
- The servant is chosen. God chooses our time, place, family, nation, talents, strengths, personality and our spiritual gifts and our spiritual calling.
- Yahweh delights in the servant. God not only uses us but delights in our service to him. Our service to God is more about a two-way relationship than it is about serving a master. Similar to a husband and wife relationship more than a master and slave relationship.
- The servant has God’s Spirit
- The servant will bring justice to the nations. The word “justice” is the Hebrew word mishpat and refers to social order and legal equality. It means that the concerns of every one in society are met. Quite different than the fourth generation of Proverbs 30:14. This is having a society living in line with God’s judgments and standards. The Servant of the Lord’s culture is a culture that has “true religion” spoken of in James 1:27 – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (The mention of orphans and widows focuses on those who are in distress at no fault of their own and have nowhere to turn. This is not supporting a welfare state for men that won’t work or have messed up their lives due to unrighteousness.
- The servant will not shout or cry out
- The servant will not raise his voice in the streets. He would not advertise himself. His ministry would be quiet, unthreatening, and not aggressive
- The servant will not break a bruised reed. He would not discard what was considered useless by other standards
- The servant will not snuff out a smoldering wick. What others would consider spent and empty the servant would consider it to be functioning and useful.
- The servant will bring forth justice in faithfulness. The servant’s mission from God was to bring justice to the nations. He will execute his purpose faithfully. We each have an assignment, a mission, and a purpose. We should live each day faithful to this call.
- The servant will not falter. The servant of the Lord will have obstacles, but he will continue to the end. In establishing the kingdom of God, bringing about social justice or living a righteous life there will be obstacles and oppression that could cause us to stumble, fall and give up. With a mind set on God’s will and our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2) the servant of God will continue.
- The servant will not be discouraged until he establishes justice on earth. Discouragement can be overcome with:
2. Trust in God’s ways
3. Gradual movement towards a goal
4. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life
42:4 The Results of the Servant of The Lord: The islands will put their hope in his law. They will see the benefit of his law in their land, their society and their lives and will be looking for it. Notice the nations are waiting for The Servant’s Law. Not Moses’ Law. They are looking for the fulfillment of Isaiah 2:3-4.
These are the nations responding to God’s universal law of righteousness. 42:5 God now speaks directly to his servant. God is described in these ways:
- a created the heavens
- created the earth
- created all that is in the earth
- gives people breath (refers to the beginning of our life)
- gives life to those who walk on the earth (refers to being given daily life)
42:6-7 God makes promises to his servant(s). These are the promises concerning the Servant and concerning what God will do through his Servant(s)
- Called you in righteousness
- Take hold of your hand
- Will keep you
- Make you:
- to be a covenant for the people. Hebrew “berit ‘am” (literally “a covenant of a people”). The same word is translated “people” in verse 5 and in context refers to humanity. It is a parallel with the next phrase “Gentiles” or “nations”. Point: The servant of God will stand in the gap between God and the people who are in darkness. Through the servant of the Lord many people will be transferred out of the darkness of the pagan idolatry and worldly philosophies. The messenger of Malachi 3:1 for example is the servant telling people that God has made a way. John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
- To be a light to the Gentiles
- To open eyes that are blind
- To free captives from prison
- To release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness
42:8 Only Yahweh can do these things. None of the idols is worthy of his glory. 42:9 In context, the old things are the old idols of Israel’s past, the Babylonian captivity. The new things are Cyrus who God will use to work his plan for history which is the restoration of Israel. This Israel is also to be a servant of the Lord when they serve the Gentiles. And, ultimately, the coming of the Messiah to shining a light for both Israel and Gentiles. We now are the servants of God. He has told us of our role, responsibility, promises, provision and the fruit we will produce. What we will do is the new things for today. He told us ahead of time. We cannot forsake our potential or our responsibility. We stand in line with many who have been titled “the servants of Yahweh.”
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. - Matthew 5:9
I will be a light to the people around me.
I will be a source of goodness and hope.
The Lord will empower me to accomplish these things.
Remember, Lord, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace.
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners.
We have become fatherless, our mothers are widows.
We must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price.
Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are weary and find no rest.
We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.
Our ancestors sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment.
Slaves rule over us, and there is no one to free us from their hands.
We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert.
Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger.
Women have been violated in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah.
Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect.
Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.
The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music.
Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim
for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it.
You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long?
Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old
unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
Judgment and Hope
66 This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations;
so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”
Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: “Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame.
Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the Lord repaying his enemies all they deserve.
“Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.
Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her.
For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
12 For this is what the Lord says:
“I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.
See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
For with fire and with his sword the Lord will execute judgment on all people, and many will be those slain by the Lord.
17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one who is among those who eat the flesh of pigs, rats and other unclean things—they will meet their end together with the one they follow,” declares the Lord.
18 “And I, because of what they have planned and done, am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory.
19 “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord—on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels. 21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the Lord.
22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
it searches out his inmost being."
- Proverbs 20:27