God’s Just Servant
Isaiah 42 | Printed Text Isaiah 42: 1-9 | Devotional Reading Psalms 98
Our lesson for today is taken from the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah was a one of the greatest and most prolific prophets of his time. He prophesized for 53 years or more during the reign of at least five kings: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh. Isaiah was commissioned by God through a vision in which he saw the Lord sitting on the throne in the temple, high and lifted up. Above the throne were heavenly creatures singing “Holy, holy, holy! The Lord Almighty is holy! His glory fills the world.” In the vision, God’s train filled the entire temple, and in dramatic fashion God called Isaiah into service.
The Prophet Isaiah is a contemporary of Micah and Hosea. Micah served the Southern Kingdom like Isaiah, while Hosea ministered to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Isaiah has been called The Willing Servant of God, because of his immediate response to God’s call. God said, “who will go for us?” and Isaiah responded, “Here am I, Lord send me.” Traditionally, it is believed that Isaiah met his death when Manasseh, King of Judah, had him sawed in two. Many of the prophecies of Isaiah’s are about the coming Messiah and Servant King (Jesus Christ). Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah approximately 700 years before his birth.
A Judge to the Nations (Isaiah 42: 1-4)
In our printed text for today, we find Isaiah speaking the words that God gave him concerning the coming of God’s chosen one. Christians believe God’s chosen one is Jesus Christ. These verses are sometimes called the servant song and Isaiah opens with behold, (look and see) my servant whom I uphold my elect (chosen one), in whom my soul is delighted. The writer goes on to state, the chosen one is pleasing to God and he will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
The servant God would send (Jesus Christ, the chosen one) would not have to shout or cry out in the streets to be heard and minister effectively. He would be a righteous administrator of justice to all nations. He will be meek, humble and lowly and embody the gentleness of a lamb as he carries out his mission from God. Although he is humble in his service, he would effectively implement righteous judgement to all nations.
A Light for the Nations (vv. 5-7)
Isaiah continues in verses 5-7 with saying God who will send the chosen one to be a light to the nations. This God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the same God who created the heavens and the earth and all that dwells therein. He created the sun, moon and stars and put them into their place. He is the God, our father, who raised up the chosen one to be a servant of righteousness, encompassing integrity, honesty, and purity. It is God who will send the chosen one. God will hold his hand and keep him as he serves as a light and speaks righteousness to God’s people. God would send the chosen one to fulfill the covenant he made in the past with the Jewish nation to serve as a light to Gentiles and anyone who would only believe and put their hope and trust in him.
A Hope for the Nations (vv. 8-9)
This lesson concludes with Isaiah prophetically stating, I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.” “Everything I have prophesizes has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before is happens.”
There is power and authority in the name of the Lord. It is a name above all names. It is the same God (Lord) that spoke to Moses on Mount Sanai before the Exodus. It is the name of the covenant maker and keeper of Israel. That name, Lord, helps one to immediately identify with the person and characteristics of God. He is faithful and will always keep his word. He is a provider and way maker who can and will see his people through the storms of life. He is creator of the heavens and earth and has all power in his hands. He is the one and only true and living God and he will not share his name or praise with carved images or anyone.