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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah

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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 42 : First Servant Song & the Past and the Future

 

[In these ‘Frameworks' we add subheadings and summary notes for each verse so the everyday reader, can sense what the verses are saying and catch the direction of the prophecy]

   

v.1-9 The Servant of the Lord

v.10-12 Responses to the coming Servant

v.13-16 The Lord comes with transforming life

v.17-25 Spiritual Blindness & Idolatry lead to destruction

   

 

[Preliminary notes: There are two parts to this chapter:

In the first part (v.1-9) we are introduced to the First Servant Song (others to follow are found in 49:1–6, 50:4–7, 52:13–53:12. Initial thoughts are that it applies to Israel, but some parts of it and the ones that follow, strongly indicate it applies to the Messiah, Jesus.

The second part, from verse 10 onwards, sees the Lord speaking more generally. Verses 10 to 16 speak of the blessings that will come (through the work of the Servant), while verses 17 to 25 deals with the judgments that have come on Israel for their idolatry [v.17], the blindness that Israel so often demonstrated [v.18-20], having received God's Law they ignored it and suffered for it [v.21,22]. So now He was asking them to pay attention to what He is saying [v.23] because their sorry state was because of the discipline the Lord had brought on them [v.24,25].

 

 

v.1-9 The Servant of the Lord

 

v.1 [The Servant Introduced] God revealing His Servant who He supports, who He has chosen and Spirit-anointed to bring justice to the whole world – that suggests perhaps more than just Israel

v.1   ‘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.

   
v.2 [The Servant's Approach] The servant's ministry will not be loud, bringing attention to himself.

v. 2  He will not shout or cry out,
     or raise his voice in the streets.
    

v.3 [The Servant's Activity] Those who are bruised by life and almost giving up, he will support, and faithfully he will pursue my plan to bring justice.

v. A bruised reed he will not break,
     and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    

v.4 [The Servant's Endurance] He will persevere and not let himself be put down by opposition until the time of the end when he brings Justice to the world, having brought my teaching to all sorts of peoples.

v. 4  he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
     In his teaching the islands will put their hope.'

 

v.5 [God who addresses the Servant] This is what the Lord, the Creator of all things, says to the servant

v. 5  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:
    

v.6 [The Servant's Call & Task] As we walk together, I called you to exhibit what is right, and I will enable you to bring in a new covenant that will be a light for all the world.

v. 6  ‘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,

 

v.7 And you will open blind eyes and release those who are captives.

v. 7  to open eyes that are blind,
     to free captives from prison
     and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

 

v.8 [The Servant's Glory] As God we will do this for I will not share my wonder with any ordinary human, and certainly not with idols!

v. 8  ‘I am the Lord ; that is my name!
     I will not yield my glory to another
     or my praise to idols.
     

v.9 [The Servant brings a new work] The original plans for Israel have been fulfilled so now it is time to bring in the next new phase that involves you.

v. 9  See, the former things have taken place,
     and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
     I announce them to you.'

 

 

v.10-12 Responses to the coming Servant

 

v.10 [Response: praise] Let the whole world sing a new song of praise

v. 10  Sing to the Lord a new song,
     his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
     you islands, and all who live in them.
    

v.11 [Response: reassurance & joy] Even in places where God's judgment has come such as Kedar [21:16,17] – or places beaten down in battles such as Sela [2 Kings 14:7], even these places will rejoice at his coming and his work.

v. 11  Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices;
     let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
     let them shout from the mountaintops.

     

v.12 [Response: worship] (All of these places will have cause to worship and praise the Lord.)

v. 12  Let them give glory to the Lord
     and proclaim his praise in the islands.
    

   

v.13-16 The Lord comes with transforming life

 

v.13 [The Lord comes as a warrior] Like a warrior God will go out and defeat His enemies [unrighteousness] and will be seen to have victory over them – see 1 Cor 15:25

v. 13  The Lord will march out like a champion,
     like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
     and will triumph over his enemies.

 

v.14 [His time of holding back is over] The years have passed while God appeared silent and inactive but now as His plans come to fulfilment He cannot hold back.

v. 14  ‘For a long time I have kept silent,
     I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
     I cry out, I gasp and pant.
   

v.15 [Judgment precedes blessing] Part of His work involves judgment [to remove sin]….

v. 15  I will lay waste the mountains and hills
     and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn rivers into islands
     and dry up the pools.

    
v.16 [Deliverance & Transformation] …but the other part will be to lead those who had been blind.

v. 16  I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
     along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
     and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
     I will not forsake them.
    

  

v.17-25 Spiritual Blindness & Idolatry lead to destruction

  

v.17 [Turning back to idol followers] Yet the idol worshippers will be brought to shame.

v. 17  But those who trust in idols,
     who say to images, “You are our gods,”
     will be turned back in utter shame.

    

v.18-20 [Israel included] But the blind and deaf have included Israel in the past, who entered into covenant with God, saw miracles but never understood, who heard much but never took it in.

v. 18  ‘Hear, you deaf;
     look, you blind, and see!
v. 19  Who is blind but my servant,
     and deaf like the messenger I send?
Who is blind like the one in covenant with me,
     blind like the servant of the Lord ?
v. 20  You have seen many things, but you pay no attention;
     your ears are open, but you do not listen.'

     
v.21.22 [So discipline followed] When God had called them He gave them His Law, but they ignored it and ended up beaten by enemies, a sad and sorry people with no one to help them.

v. 21  It pleased the Lord
     for the sake of his righteousness
     to make his law great and glorious.
v. 22  But this is a people plundered and looted,
     all of them trapped in pits
     or hidden away in prisons.
They have become plunder,
     with no one to rescue them;
they have been made loot,
     with no one to say, ‘Send them back.'

 

v.23 [Attention now needed] So who will listen to me now, or pay attention to what is coming?

v. 23  Which of you will listen to this
     or pay close attention in time to come?
    

v.24,25 [Realise God brings discipline] Don't you realise it was the Lord who disciplined them who gave them over to their enemies because they refused to listen to Him, and thus He brought war on them from invaders.

v. 24  Who handed Jacob over to become loot,
     and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the Lord ,
     against whom we have sinned?
For they would not follow his ways;
     they did not obey his law.
v. 25  So he poured out on them his burning anger,
     the violence of war.
It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand;
     it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.

 

 

[Concluding comments: Having gone through the verses now, we will simply repeat what we said in the opening notes:

- In the first part (v.1-9) we are introduced to the First Servant Song (others to follow are found in 49:1–6, 50:4–7, 52:13–53:12).

- In the second part, from verse 10 onwards we see the Lord speaking more generally.

- Verses 10 to 16 speak of the blessings that will come (through the work of the Servant).
- Verses 17 to 25 deals with the judgments that have come on Israel
- for their idolatry [v.17],
- the blindness that Israel so often demonstrated [v.18-20],
- having received God's Law they ignored it and suffered for it [v.21,22]
- so now He was asking them to pay attention to what he is saying [v.23]

- they need to realize that their sorry state was because of the discipline the Lord had brought on them [v.24,25]

    

 

Continue to Chapter 43