The Coming Servant of God, Part 1: Isaiah 42, 43 (2)
Pray Psalm 144.1, 2.
Blessed be the LORD my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—
My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.
Read Isaiah 42.10-13.
1. Why should we praise the Lord? How should we praise Him?
2. How is God like a “man of war”?
Praise to the Lord is always appropriate. But in times of uncertainty – or even times of busyness – we can become so occupied by our fears or concerns or numerous obligations, that we lose sight of God’s unchanging love and unfailing faithfulness. Thus, rather than know the joy with which He surrounds us in His Kingdom (Rom. 14.17, 18), we become fretful, fearful, snippy, and self-pitying.
Just like many of the people of Judah and Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day.
God was working through Isaiah’s preaching, counsel, writing, and example to give His people hope. Yes, some very bad things were about to happen. They were necessary to help God’s people shake off their attraction to idols, especially those of things and place and pedigree, and to prepare them for the next stage of His unfolding plan of redemption.
But it was important that the people keep their eyes on God; and one way to do that, and to do it throughout the day, is to pray and sing the praises of God.
God commands all nations to praise Him (vv. 10, 11). They don’t however, because they don’t know Him. What’s our excuse?
One day all nations will praise God, but for many of the people of those nations – living and dead – it will be too late to realize the benefit of what their praises extol (Phil. 2.5-11). God’s people know better, and they must reinforce what they know, and show it to the world, by praising the Lord throughout the day in words and songs.
A mighty warlord was coming to take Jerusalem captive; God is a mightier warlord than Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonians would exult in victory over the people of Judah and Jerusalem, but the shout of victory at Christ’s return will make their shouts seem like a whisper (1 Thess. 4.16). And while the enemies of God would realize victory in the short-term, in the end, God will vanquish allHis foes, every rebellious nation and person, and all the wicked powers and principalities of the air (vv. 12, 13).
Concentrate on God, and heed His summons to praise and sing new songs to the Lord. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22.3), so as we praise Him, we will realize His presence, promise, and power in sustaining and renewing ways. Israel would need to praise Him to sustain themselves until God brought them back from captivity. We need praise, and will continue to need it, until Jesus returns to take us to glory with Him.
1. Given that God is so worthy of our praise, why are we so reticent in giving it?
2. We praise God when we recall His promises and victories, survey His virtues and works, and celebrate His many blessings, both those we have realized and those we anticipate. How could you begin to bring more praise of God into your daily walk with Him?
3. How does praising God work to renew us in mind and heart? How can this enhance our daily experience of His Kingdom?
This Word, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first (for he was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared as man. He alone is both God and man. He is the Author of all blessings to us. By him, we, being taught to live well, are sent on our way to life eternal.… This is the New Song, the manifestation of the Word that was in the beginning and before the beginning. The Savior, who has existed before, has in recent days appeared. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), Exhortation to the Greeks 1
Guide me in praising You this day, O Lord, that I might obey Your every command and…
Pray Psalm 144.
Whatever struggles you will face today, the Lord is mightier. Offer your praise to Him, as you prepare for the day ahead, and take His praise with you as you go.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 144 (Tidings: O Zion, Haste, Your Mission High Fulfilling)
Blest be the Lord, Who trains my hands for battle;
He is my Rock, my steadfast love and strength!
He is my shield; no foe can shake or rattle;
He will subdue them all to me at length.
Refrain v. 15
Happy are they on whom blessings fall!
Blessed are the people who on Jesus’ mercy call!
Lord, who are we, that You regard and love us?
Why should You care for our poor sinful plight?
We are but breath; You dwell on high above us;
our days like shadows pass before Your light.
Bow down the heav’ns, come down and touch the mountains.
Flash forth like lightning; scatter all Your foes!
Send out Your arrows, send them out to rout them;
stretch forth Your hand and save us from all woes!
From every foe and every lie deliver!
Then will we sing new songs unto Your praise.
Rescue Your servants, who are Yours forever;
grant us deliv’rance by Your hand always.
Bless, Lord, our children, strengthen them forever.
All our provision, day by day supply.
Bless our endeavors; from distress deliver.
Keep us from harm and all distressing cries.
T. M. Moore
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Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).