Thursday January 30, 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.
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."
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."
ISA 49:5 And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him
(For I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
And My God is My strength),
The Servant recalls in the context of the word of God that the rejection of Him that tempted despondency was in fact what He was called for.
For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
The task which seems to have defeated Him is in fact the very thing that the Lord has prepared Him for, and this (cross) would bring Jacob back to Him.
If God called Him to it, then how can it go wrong? Thus, despondency flies away and buoyancy takes its place.
The issue running throughout vv. 4-5 then is that despondency arises through listening to ourselves and our self-assessment, instead of looking to God, recalling His purposes, living according to our dignity in Him and rediscovering in Him our source of power.
ISA 49:6 He says, "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."
“It is too small a thing” that Israel alone would be restored. He was called to the greater work of being “a light to the nations (Gentiles).”
The parallelism of the poetry associates “You should be My Servant,” with “You should be My salvation.” Parallelism requires this balance. The point is, and has already been made, is not that the Servant is the agent of communicating salvation but that He is in His own person the salvation that the world needs. He is the world’s light. And Isaiah will continue to tell the story of this amazing and unique Person through the rest of his revelation.
Verse 7 begins the comment that the task is confirmed.
ISA 49:7 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."
Notice that the Servant is distinct from Jacob and Israel. The Servant who undertakes Israel’s task is intimately associated with Israel and yet distinguished from her. In Him the faithful remnant is reduced to a single individual. In the carrying out of His task He is to suffer contempt, unjust judgment, and death; but by His suffering He will achieve His object, and blessing and liberation for multitudes will be the outcome of His death.
He was aware of the contrast that His life and the circumstances of His death illustrated. His life was life to the world - pure life, yet His death was in shame and humiliation on the cross. He was aware that this seeming contrast was needed for that life to be given to men, men who all were His enemies, born in sin, all having gone astray. The cross was repulsive, yet it has an irresistible attraction.
When Jesus comes to Israel, He comes to a nation that has completely failed in their faithfulness to God.
Not that we are to foolishly suppose that Israel could have been good enough to negate the need of the Messiah, for if all in Israel were like Daniel’s or Jeremiah’s they would all still need a Savior. The point is that God’s elect nation was given a shot at faithfulness, at faithfully following God’s Law and commands and resting in His promises and they failed at it terribly. And not just them, though the spot-light is on them, but all of us failed to be holy.
So, how would the nation accept their Messiah? When He would present their failure, and reveal the fact that He was there to make it right, would they admit their failure and believe in Him? This is precisely the mission of the Baptist. All the prophets are rolled up into one in John who proclaimed repentance to Israel and baptized in water as a symbol of their repentance and a public display of it.
The leadership in Israel and a great many of the people would reject Jesus as the Messiah. In fact, they would reject the truth about the Messiah, instead believing in a false image of the Messiah.
There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
"And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. 20 "For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
There are so many passages that we could go to that would tell us the same thing.
So, did the Servant fail? Of course not. In the midst of the plots against Him, the high priest Caiaphas would prophesy that one man must die for the people, Pilate would have a sign put on the cross above Jesus stating His name and calling Him a king, and even Judas would come to understand that he had done wrong and would give back his silver and then hang himself. But most of all, He would resurrect, walk out of the tomb, ascend to the right hand of God to sit in the seat of power and authority, and then thousands upon thousands would believe upon Him and thus participate with Him in glory and in His kingdom. Only God knew how it would all go down, and the Man Jesus trusted in God to accomplish it, and the Father did so, greater and more beautifully than anyone ever expected.
The kingdom of God needs a King.
The kings of Israel had not been absolute monarchs; they ruled as the representatives of God. Each king was the Lord’s anointed, deriving his sovereignty from the heavenly King, whose vicegerent he was, and to whom he was responsible for the manner in which he ruled.
When the royal house of David fell in 587 B.C. to Babylon, the contemporary prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel pictured the crown as remaining without a wearer “until He comes whose right it is.”
Nebuchadnezzar had twice seized Jerusalem, but had yet to destroy the city. At the time a vassal king, Zedekiah, who has no faith in Yavah and loves lies, continues to sit on the throne of David, but he will not do so for much longer.
"Therefore, thus says the Lord God, 'Because you [Jerusalem, vs. 2] have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear — because you have come to remembrance, you will be seized with the hand. 25 'And you, O slain, wicked one, the prince of Israel, whose day has come, in the time of the punishment of the end,' 26 thus says the Lord God,' Remove the turban, and take off the crown; this will be no more the same. Exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high. 27 'A ruin, a ruin, a ruin, I shall make it. This also will be no more, until He comes whose right it is; and I shall give it to Him.'
The greater David of the future, one who should be in the fullest sense the anointed King of that royal house, shall restore and surpass the glory of God in that nation, and subsequently in the whole earth.
"Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord,
"When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
6 "In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
'The Lord our righteousness.'
7 "Therefore behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord, "when they will no longer say, 'As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,' 8 but, 'As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.' Then they will live on their own soil." [Millennial reign of Christ fulfilling the covenants to Israel]
ISA 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
ISA 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
DAN 2:44 "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.
In Daniel, the pagan monarchies are depicted in the guise of wild beasts, but when the eternal kingdom is set up it will be given to “one like a son of man” and its authority will be exercised by the holy ones of the Most High.
DAN 7:13"I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
DAN 7:14 "And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
DAN 7:18 'But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.'
DAN 7:27 'Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.'