The Coming Servant of God, Part 1: Isaiah 42, 43 (3)
Pray Psalm 79.8, 9.
Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us!
Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us,
For we have been brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation,
For the glory of Your name;
And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins,
For Your name’s sake!
Read Isaiah 42.14-20.
1. What is being born in these verses?
2. In what sense is God’s Messenger blind and deaf?
This brief passage includes some powerful images designed to help the people of Isaiah’s day focus on the dramatic and radical work of restoration God is promising to accomplish.
First is the image of childbirth (v. 14). Childbirth means pain and suffering; it also means a new beginning. But notice what is being “born”: the turning upside-down of the natural order (v. 15) – mountains and hills leveled, vegetation withered, water overflowing, and fresh pools drying up. What God is going to do will upend everything His people understood about “normal” or “natural”.
Then a note of gentleness: leading the blind, giving them light, helping them through crooked places, accompanying them on their journey (v. 16) – like leading a newborn child into the first stages of new life. In Isaiah’s day, few people went to such lengths for those who could not help themselves (cf. Amos 2.6-8). God would do that for His people.
At the same time, the power and influence of those who trust in idols will be “turned back” (v. 17). In the presence of what God is doing, false religions and worldviews, and those who hold to them, haven’t got a chance.
God calls His deaf and blind people to hear and see (v. 18). They must understand with the eye of faith that God’s promised restoration will bring them into an altogether new and different world, and they must prepare for that by waiting on the Lord now.
God is sending a deaf and blind Messenger to serve His purposes (v. 19). How could that possibly encourage the people of Isaiah’s day? The Messenger God is sending is impervious to lies, distractions from God’s Word, or diversions from His path and purpose. He is blind to vain offers of glory outside God’s will, and deaf to suggestions that He could do better by listening to someone other than God (cf. Matt. 4.1-11).
Israel has heard “many things” from their great prophet and God, but they do not yet hear as they should, nor keep the Word as God intends. For that, they will need more revelation from Isaiah and others, coupled with a time of testing from the Lord.
1. Meditate on Acts 17.1-9. How does God’s salvation turn our world upside-down?
2. In what sense and ways has the coming of God’s Messenger “birthed” a new age?
3. What do we need to do to improve in hearing and observing God’s promises?
It is evident, indeed, that some possess ears better able to hear the words of God. But to those who do not have those ears, what does he say? “Hear, you deaf, and, you blind, behold.” Also, “I opened my mouth and panted,” and “You have broken the teeth of sinners.” All these things were said in reference to the faculties that render service for spiritual food and spiritual doctrine. Basil the Great (330-379 AD), Homilies on the Psalms 16.13 (Psalm 33)
Blind me, Lord, to everything that is not of You, and make me deaf to the allurements of the devil, so that, like Jesus, I may…
Pray Psalm 79.
Pray for yourself and your church, that you may “see” any ways that you have allowed the world to become established in your soul, and any ways you may have listened to counsel from anyone other than the Lord.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 79 (Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
O God the nations all Your inheritance have spoiled!
Your City have they ruined, Your temple they have soiled!
Your servants’ bodies all to the birds of heav’n are thrown;
The flesh of all Your faithful the jaws of beasts now own.
The blood of faithful servants like water flows around;
And none are there Your saints to commit into the ground.
Our neighbors mock and scorn us: How long, O Lord, how long?
How long will You be angry and scorn our mournful song?
Pour out, O Lord, Your wrath on all who deny Your Name;
Who trust You not nor seek You, bring down to deepest shame!
For they have with great rancor Your precious saints devoured;
Lay waste their habitation at this late dreadful hour.
Why should the nations mock and say, “Where now is their God?”
Let there be known among them harsh vengeance for our blood!
Hear, Lord, our groans and sighing; preserve us by Your pow’r.
For we are fairly dying each day and hour by hour.
Reproach those who reproach us with judgment sevenfold!
Let thanks and praise to You by Your precious flock be told.
We are Your sheep, O Savior, we thank You all our days.
Look on us with Your favor as we declare Your praise.
T. M. Moore
Where do the prophets fit with the rest of Scripture? How can I be a better student of God’s Word? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better approach to and understanding of the Scriptures. Watch this brief preview video, then register at The Ailbe Seminary and enroll in this free online course.
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.
If you value Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
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).