Isaiah part 39, The Greater Deliverance (49-55), part 2 - the story pivots on the Servant Songs.Posted: Fri. May, 28 2021
Last time we revealed the opening of this section (the final movement of chapters 40-55: The Book of the Servant) in the second of four Servant Songs. These are beautiful love songs from God to you; the gift of His love being His Son who will submit to the Father’s will and who will suffer immeasurably in order to save you. We will see this time that each one of these marvelous Songs include the Song itself followed by a comment.
Each of the four Servant Songs is followed by a commentary.
The first Song (42:1-4) is declared by the Father in which He states that He delights in the Servant and upholds Him. He puts His Spirit upon Him and the Servant will bring forth justice to the nations. The Servant will be meek. He will save and not destroy. And though He will suffer, He will not be “disheartened or crushed” until He accomplishes His mission. This lovely song, quoted by the Father from heaven when Jesus was baptized by John, is directly followed by a commentary on the song (42:5-9). In the commentary, the Father states that the Servant would be called in righteousness. He reiterates that He would uphold the Servant and He would appoint Him as a covenant to the people. The Father reiterates that the Servant would not only save Israel, but also the nations, opening their eyes to the freedom that is only found in Him.
The final three Servant Songs (49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12) follow the same pattern of Song followed by comment. We find that the Songs are not extraneous insertions into Isaiah’s prophecies, but pivots upon which his sections turn.
In the second Servant Song (our last blog), the comment is in 49:7-13, and how gorgeous it is. Remember, as a believer, you are the recipient of these promises. Read carefully.
Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and its Holy One,
To the despised One,
To the One abhorred by the nation,
To the Servant of rulers,
"Kings shall see and arise,
Princes shall also bow down;
Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You."
8 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,
Neither 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.
11 "And I will make all My mountains a road,
And My highways will be raised up.
12 "Behold, these shall 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 is aware in all the Songs that rejection and demeaning is to be the Servant’s lot. Yet, to the despised and hated Servant, kings will bow (49:7). We also read that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that the Servant is Lord (ISA 45:23; EPH 2:10-11). The Servant is shown to be a man of prayer and the Father will answer Him (vs. 8). The Father promises that the Servant will be helped during His darkest hour and that He will succeed in His mission to be the covenant for the people, to restore them, to bring them out of darkness (“Show yourselves”). The Servant is the bread of life, and He is the living water. His people will no longer hunger or thirst (vs. 10). He will lead them and guide them to “springs of peace,” PSA 23:1. His leading them through hunger and thirst; scorching heat and sun (vs, 10), reminds us of the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land. That journey becomes a type of the true pilgrimage of the heart to God and His quiet waters and green pastures. These saved will not only be from Israel, but from afar (vs. 12). And so, “O heavens!” break forth into joyful singing. The Servant has saved us.
Despite the sins and rebellion of Israel and the nations, God is going to save through grace by our unmeritorious faith in the Servant.
Interim of Songs 2 & 3 - Israel rejects the Song and dispairs.
In the interim section between the second and third Songs, we find Zion to be despondent and unresponsive to the promises in the Song. This anticlimax to the great Song could hardly be stronger. We marvel at this, but we also know that this is a long established pattern in the behavior of mankind - God promises great things and man fails to believe it. Zion believes that the Lord has forsaken her, but they refuse to take a sober look at their own violations of God’s Law and the promises of judgment and discipline within the Law for those who break it. Still God responds to them that He is faithful to keep His covenant and like a nursing mother could not forget her child, so He will not forget them. The Lord heaps promise upon promise in an attempt to reassure the people and win their trust (49:15-26), but it is all to no avail (50:1-3). Then, despite their unresponsiveness, the Servant is again heralded in song (Servant Song #3) as responsive, buoyant, obedient, and suffering.
One of the magnificent promises God gives in order to win their trust is that even the children who were lost to them will return to them in resurrection.
"The children of whom you were bereaved will yet say in your ears,
'The place is too cramped for me;
Make room for me that I may live here.'
Can you imagine losing your child due to war or famine and then, after the grief of many years, witnessing that very beloved child being carried to you alive and full of joy on the shoulders of a stranger?
Thus says the Lord God,
"Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations,
And set up My standard to the peoples;
And they will bring your sons in their bosom,
And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
God has all the power to save (50:2-3), but Israel wouldn’t trust Him to do so. Instead they gave in to the religions of the surrounding nations and worshipped their idols. For these sins, adultery against God who called them, they were given a writ of divorce and sent into exile (50:1). Despite this, God would be their husband again. The saved of Israel will see the complete fulfillment of all covenants promised to them as they dwell in the kingdom of God, and this is immediately confirmed by the third Servant Song.
To Him be all glory and honor,
Pastor Joe Sugrue