The Servant of the Lord
49 Listen to me, O coastlands,
and give attention, you peoples from afar.
The LORD called me from the womb,
from the body of my mother he named my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow;
in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the LORD,
and my recompense with my God.”
And now the LORD says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD,
and my God has become my strength—
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Thus says the LORD,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation,
the servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise;
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
The Restoration of Israel
Thus says the LORD:
“In a time of favor I have answered you;
in a day of salvation I have helped you;
I will keep you and give you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages,
saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’
to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’
They shall feed along the ways;
on all bare heights shall be their pasture;
they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them.
And I will make all my mountains a road,
and my highways shall be raised up.
Behold, these shall come from afar,
and behold, these from the north and from the west,
and these from the land of Syene.”
Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the LORD has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted.
But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me.
Your builders make haste;
your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you.
Lift up your eyes around and see;
they all gather, they come to you.
As I live, declares the LORD,
you shall put them all on as an ornament;
you shall bind them on as a bride does.
“Surely your waste and your desolate places
and your devastated land—
surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants,
and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
The children of your bereavement
will yet say in your ears:
‘The place is too narrow for me;
make room for me to dwell in.’
Then you will say in your heart:
‘Who has borne me these?
I was bereaved and barren,
exiled and put away,
but who has brought up these?
Behold, I was left alone;
from where have these come?’”
Thus says the Lord GOD:
“Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
and raise my signal to the peoples;
and they shall bring your sons in their arms,
and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
Kings shall be your foster fathers,
and their queens your nursing mothers.
With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,
and lick the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the LORD;
those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”
Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?
For thus says the LORD:
“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,
for I will contend with those who contend with you,
and I will save your children.
I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
Then all flesh shall know
that I am the LORD your Savior,
and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Isaiah 49 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Back in the 90’s there was a movie that resonated with the culture. Reality Bites was a hit on many levels for people as it captured the essence of that generation. I don’t remember anything of the movie, but it has always been the title that stuck with me.
For the reality most of the time is Reality Bites. I mean let’s get real, we struggle in this life. Many of us are survivors. We have the greatest disappointments, the hardest mountains of which we face. We have been violated by the effects of sin. For many of us our baggage awaits us first thing in the morning and is the last thing we set down before we crawl back in bed. The hardship and continual struggles of which we personally and inwardly battle make our current always seem inescapable.
We long for deliverance. We desperately cry out for relief. We look toward anything to relieve us of reality.
Jesus our Redeemer is that Person. Jesus our Redeemer is the One who calls us from our prison cells. He is the one who unlocks the gates and beckons us to come out. Jesus our Redeemer longs to be our revision of Reality.
In this incredibly beautiful chapter we read of the prophetic calling of Jesus, truly to His ministry and ultimate return. In jaw dropping beauty we read of Jesus releasing, restoring and instilling hope. Jesus our Redeemer has compassion on the afflicted and brings comfort to our own darkened and horrific reality.
Your reality may bite, but it doesn’t have to. Your reality can change. Jesus your Redeemer longs to be every aspect of your current reality.
Read these words and choose this day for Jesus to be your reality.
Thus says the Lord, “In a favorable time I have answered You, and in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages; 9 Saying to those who are bound, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ Along the roads they will feed, and their pasture will be on all bare heights. 10 “They will not hunger or thirst, nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them and will guide them to springs of water.Isaiah 49:8-13
11 “I will make all My mountains a road, and My highways will be raised up. 12 “Behold, these will come from afar; And lo, these will come from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim.” 13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted.”
Isaiah 49 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
His words were like a sharp arrow ready to pierce the heart. Israel would be his servant and he would be their master. But something was wrong. Their response was rejection! Though he came with strength to do great works, there was discouragement everywhere. This would be a human emotion our Savior could wholeheartedly relate to. Discouragement.
Read the first 7 verses carefully. As I dialed in to this chapter, I initially thought it was Isaiah who was the subject of this passage. However, it’s actually about Jesus. Read it again.
“It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth. “Isaiah 49:6
Although there was hope promised, deep sorrow and anguish would overcome our Savior’s heart. He would weep for Israel.
“And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.”Luke 19:41-42
When we give our hearts to the mission of the Lord there will be heartache. In many ways, this anguish must increase in those who truly know God because they have received a glimpse of His heart for people. This is why we pray and fast. We dedicate our bodies as vessels to carry the burdens of others and see a greater revelation of God among us.
This is what Jesus did. He sacrificed. He didn’t let His disappointment with others affect His obedience to the Lord. It’s a beautiful and powerful image that we should follow relentlessly.