Isaiah 42

Isaiah 42

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The Lord’s Chosen Servant

42   Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
  I have put my Spirit upon him;
    he will bring forth justice to the nations.
  He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street;
  a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.
  He will not grow faint or be discouraged
    till he has established justice in the earth;
    and the coastlands wait for his law.
  Thus says God, the LORD,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
  who gives breath to the people on it
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
  “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
    I will take you by the hand and keep you;
  I will give you as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
    to open the eyes that are blind,
  to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.
  I am the LORD; that is my name;
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to carved idols.
  Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    and new things I now declare;
  before they spring forth
    I tell you of them.”

Sing to the Lord a New Song

  Sing to the LORD a new song,
    his praise from the end of the earth,
  you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it,
    the coastlands and their inhabitants.
  Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
    the villages that Kedar inhabits;
  let the habitants of Sela sing for joy,
    let them shout from the top of the mountains.
  Let them give glory to the LORD,
    and declare his praise in the coastlands.
  The LORD goes out like a mighty man,
    like a man of war he stirs up his zeal;
  he cries out, he shouts aloud,
    he shows himself mighty against his foes.
  For a long time I have held my peace;
    I have kept still and restrained myself;
  now I will cry out like a woman in labor;
    I will gasp and pant.
  I will lay waste mountains and hills,
    and dry up all their vegetation;
  I will turn the rivers into islands,
    and dry up the pools.
  And I will lead the blind
    in a way that they do not know,
  in paths that they have not known
    I will guide them.
  I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
  These are the things I do,
    and I do not forsake them.
  They are turned back and utterly put to shame,
    who trust in carved idols,
  who say to metal images,
    “You are our gods.”

Israel’s Failure to Hear and See

  Hear, you deaf,
    and look, you blind, that you may see!
  Who is blind but my servant,
    or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
  Who is blind as my dedicated one,
    or blind as the servant of the LORD?
  He sees many things, but does not observe them;
    his ears are open, but he does not hear.
  The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake,
    to magnify his law and make it glorious.
  But this is a people plundered and looted;
    they are all of them trapped in holes
    and hidden in prisons;
  they have become plunder with none to rescue,
    spoil with none to say, “Restore!”
  Who among you will give ear to this,
    will attend and listen for the time to come?
  Who gave up Jacob to the looter,
    and Israel to the plunderers?
  Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned,
    in whose ways they would not walk,
    and whose law they would not obey?
  So he poured on him the heat of his anger
    and the might of battle;
  it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;
    it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart.

(ESV)


Isaiah 42 Commentary

by Hank Workman

It’s known as the Servant Song.  The verses found in this passage of Isaiah are remarkably beautiful. Speaking toward Jesus the Messiah, they reveal His servant heart, revealing the very nature of God the Father.  Tremendous thoughts and statements throughout it would be easy to consider many characteristics.  There are promises throughout which speak hope.  Jesus is the full embodiment of what is spoken.  One such as the Servant Messiah, Jesus is marked by gentleness.  He is a gentle Savior.

Filled with the power of the Spirit, all of His ministry and power would flow reaching the Gentiles and us today.  His gentle heart, his quiet actions were evident throughout His earthly life and are recognizable today.  He has never pushed His way into a situation or upon a person, but by the quietness, yes the gentleness of the Spirit, He still is impressing and working upon all.  He’s a gentle Servant who moves among us, leading us toward the direction He has set.  This gentleness though also restores.

“A bruised reed He will not break.  A smoldering wick He will not snuff out.”

Isaiah 42:3

David Guzik writes, “A reed is a somewhat large plant, yet if it becomes bruised, the Servant will handle it so gently that He will not break it. And if flax, used for tinder to start a fire, does not flame but only smokes, He will not quench it into extinguishing.  Instead, the Servant will gently blow on the smoking flax, fanning it to flame again.”

I love these thoughts.  So many times we feel or have this perception even that God deals roughly with our failures, our weaknesses, our slip-ups and giving into our human nature.  The truth is He deals with us gently, tenderly until our own bruised reed is made strong or the smoking flax ignites to flame.

The gentleness of Jesus meets us where we are in all our hurt and pain, where we’ve been bent and bruised; shattered and restores and fans our very heart to flame.


Isaiah 42 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

God is the only Savior. His creation will bring glory to Him alone and it will not be shared with an idol.

In the beautiful and symbolic open verses, the theme of restoration continues. Early in the previous chapter (41), there was fear from the idol-worshipers because the Lord was sending Cyrus. Next, God assured Israel that He was working all events to restore His people, and they should not fear. Finally, the Lord reiterated that the future is His and no one else can change it.

This chapter continues those thoughts. The next step of hope in the redemption of God’s people is the Messiah, described as The Servant here. The language used to describe our Savior was used at Jesus’ baptism as well.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and lighting on him. 17 Then a voice said from heaven, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.”

Matthew 3:16-17 GNB

Though Jesus didn’t need to participate in baptism for the forgiveness of His sin, He would command that John baptize him anyway. This was to identify Himself with believers, but also, to fulfill chapters like these from Isaiah. The glory of God would rest on Jesus and He would fulfill all the prophetic chapters that spoke of the perfect Servant.

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