Well, we continue with one of my favorite sections of Isaiah. There’s so much in these chapters that deal with not only God’s mercy on Israel returning from exile (the remnant) but also (by means of double fulfillment of prophecy) the church and the Messiah!
Do not fear — chapter 41
What fearful creatures we are! We’re fearful of the future, of what we don’t understand, of the evil that we know is in the world, of our lack of control and more. Despite our bravado, the Bible is full of encouragements to not fear — and we find comfort in them. Israel was fearful of its neighbors, but the LORD assures them of their safety in His hands and more…ascendency over them. If only they’d listen, their fears would have been assuaged (vv.27-29). Do we make similar mistakes? How often does the Lord tell us to put our lives in His hands, yet we worry, we hedge our bets, we fear. “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matthew 6:25, 26, NAS95.
Bringing justice to the nations — 42:1-13
This section (42:1-4) is quoted by Matthew as a clear reference to the Messiah
“This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN; MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL is WELL-PLEASED; I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM, AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES. “HE WILL NOT QUARREL, NOR CRY OUT; NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS. “A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF, AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT, UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY. “AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.’” Matthew 12:17-21, NAS95.
Although the Jews of the first century were expecting a military Messiah, one with a nationalistic interest, this prophecy reveals a gentle One. He would be a Messiah promoting justice — to the Gentiles! Not a quarreler, not a shouter; not one who would hurt a fly — as we would put it. Hardly an expected picture of the conquering King, who would sit on the throne of David. But I gotta say — we all gotta say — I’m so glad this was the Messiah of God. A Messiah, who through His sacrifice, served God’s justice on sinful mankind, who created peace between God and man and Jew and Gentile (“For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,” Ephesians 2:14, NAS95).
That, of course, is not to say that the Messiah isn’t a lion, too. But we’ll save that for another post.
Saying “Look!” to the blind, and speaking words to the deaf — 42:14-25
What’s the saying, “There’s none so blind as him who will not see”? I wonder if God feels like He’s talking to a brick wall sometimes. I rather suspect so. From our innate consciences to the revelations of the prophets to catastrophes, God has tried to speak to men; but men find every reason to ignore it. How refreshing it would be for God, if we’d just simply and humbly listen and obey.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.