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Bible: What Does Isaiah 49-50 Teach Us About the Servant of the LORD?

Updated on September 19, 2016

The Obedient Servant of the LORD

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Jesus, the Servant


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Destiny of Unbelievers


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Isaiah 49-50: The Servant's Character and Mission

Raised in Obscurity

A specially called One addresses certain distant nations, and informs them that God claimed Him early in life (v. 1), and prepared Him in secret for the divine mission of proclaiming the LORD's message (v. 2).

[The repetition of the phrase “He has hidden Me” emphasizes secrecy or obscurity.

God trained, guided, guarded, tried, and perfected this Instrument until He was ready to use Him. He became a polished shaft, a sharp sword.

But until that time, He was a very obscure, humble servant.

This characterization accords very well with Jesus' twenty years or so as the village carpenter in Nazareth.

The context (chapters 49-53) relates details of the sufferings of True Israel, the Lord Jesus, not the nation Israel or Isaiah as the representative of God's people, as Jews would contend].

Verses 3 and 4 are puzzling, for they speak of dejection—an attitude not expected from Jesus, but quite possibly from others.

Perhaps as a type of the future Servant, Isaiah interjects a personal account of his work.

His ministry had not been successful, but he knows that God will reward his faithfulness.

In a sense, neither was Christ's mission totally successful, since apparently most of Israel did not respond obediently to God.

Yet one day He will triumph completely (v. 5) not only with the Jews, but with the Gentiles also (v. 6).

[Interestingly, Paul applies verse six to himself and to Barnabas as representatives of the Church, the body of Christ.

After the Jews rejected Him in Antioch, Christ, through His body, reaches out to the Gentiles (Acts 13:42-47)].

Hated by the Nation

Yahweh again addresses His chosen Servant as One hated by the nation (v. 7a), but also One whom kings and princes would eventually worship (v. 7b).

He will help Him restore Israel to the land, bringing them from all directions and providing for them as they travel home (vv. 8-12).

Isaiah calls upon all creation to rejoice over God's mercy toward His people (v. 13).

This theme of mercy continues, as Jerusalem's despairing cry of abandonment prompts God to respond gently, "No, I have not forgotten you" (vv. 14-15).

In fact, He and the city are very close (v. 16).

God will remove Jerusalem's would-be destroyers, and then both restore and enlarge families so generously that the land will not be large enough to hold them all (vv. 17-21).

The nations will bring Zion's children home and then be subject to Israel and the LORD (vv. 22-23).

Undoubtedly, this passage refers to the Messianic Kingdom, for God will put to death those who do not subject themselves to His Lordship (vv. 25-26).

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Isaiah 50

Submissive and Obedient to God's Will

In response to Israel's implied accusations against Him, Yahweh asks questions.

He answers His own inquiries in the same breath, blaming them for their dismal circumstances, recalling the Sea of Reeds incident as an example of their unbelief in His power to save them (vv. 1-3).

As the Paragon of one whose obedience and trust God commends, the Servant enters the scene (vv. 4-10).

The LORD gives Him wise speech (v. 4), an obedient heart (v. 4), a submissive spirit (vv. 5-6), an attitude trusting God for future vindication (vv. 8-9), and a dogged determination to do His will (v. 7).

He enjoins those of like character or desire to trust God as He does (v. 10).

Those who would rather trust themselves will find only condemnation in the end (v. 11).

© 2012 glynch1

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