Tuesday January 28, 2020
The second Servant Song in Isaiah is in ISA 49:1-6.
ISA 49:1 Listen to Me, O islands,
And pay attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me.
The spiritual need cries out for remedy and the Servant is described as a Spirit-endowed agent of divine revelation for whose teaching the earth waits, and as one whose mouth the Lord had prepared, whereby He calls the whole world to hear.
The promised Messiah is never cast as a political figure. He is portrayed as One who will set the captives free from sin and death.
ISA 49:2 And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword [near];
In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me,
And He has also made Me a select arrow [far];
He has hidden Me in His quiver [only revealed at the proper time].
ISA 49:3 And He said to Me, "You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory."
The Messiah is called “Israel” because He alone will do all that Israel was to do in faithfulness to God.
He is the covenant and salvation. He is all that man should be before God and He will be the substitute that will gift that life to whosoever will believe upon Him. That is the good news.
ISA 49:3 And He said to Me, "You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom [singular] I will show My glory."
It is a unique thing said to a unique person. He is life, faithfulness, fulfillment, power, and salvation; and He is a man and God who has given these things freely to His brethren. Explaining Him fully is like pouring the ocean into a bucket.
ISA 49:4 But I said, "I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the Lord,
And My reward with My God."
No one seems to be responding to the mission that the Servant is accomplishing, and if He remained with that thought alone, He would have fallen into depression and despondency, but He decides to defer to the Lord’s wisdom.
His serving seems like a waste of effort, but He turns from His own perception and rests in the Father who called and appointed Him.
Reward” is the outcome of His work. He sees nothing coming out of His effort, but it is not for Him to decide. As the called Servant he has been faithful in laboring and spending Himself, now it is for the Lord to bring what fruit He will out of it all.
There is the temptation that tells us that no fruit will be born and there is the temptation that tells us it will take too long to come to fruition. We noted this temptation being faced by David and Moses.
Resting faith is the answer to despondency.
In Gethsemane, our Lord’s distress was concerning the impending next few hours. What Isaiah has foreseen here is the moments that we see in the gospels when the Lord faced ill-minded rejection, blind unbelief, prejudice and misunderstanding; when people and disciples were caught up in the glamor of signs and wonders, and the primary task of preaching was threatened; when He cried:
"And I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not." 41 And Jesus answered and said, "O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you, and put up with you? Bring your son here." 42 And while he was still approaching, the demon dashed him to the ground, and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, 44 "Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men." 45 But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they might not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.
The Lord’s temptation is to know and understand what must happen to Him and to not fear. The disciples have simply decided not to deal with it. Ignore it and it will somehow go away.
Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, and because of who He was and all that He understood, His temptations were at the gravest level. We face must lesser temptations of lust and pride, and yet God still helps us. Like a child learning how to walk, God lovingly takes us by the hand and is very concerned that we learn and mature.
When He could only sigh over continuing failure to understand:
And they had forgotten to take bread; and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 16 And they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 "Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him," Twelve." 20 "And when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven." 21 And He was saying to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
Compare what He has to deal with and what they “decided” to deal with.
And, just hours before His cross when He foresaw the falling away of the inner group:
And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (It’s Passover and they’re full of joy and celebration)
27 And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, because it is written [ZEC 13:7], 'I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.' 28 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." 29 But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not." 30 And Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you, that you yourself this very night, before a cock crows twice, shall three times deny Me." 31 But Peter kept saying insistently, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And they all were saying the same thing, too.