Astonished

We enter the most shocking section of the book of Isaiah.

The Coming Servant, Part 4: Isaiah 52.13-53.12 (1)

Pray Psalm 22.26-28.

The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the LORD.
Let your heart live forever!
All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the LORD’s,
And He rules over the nations.

Read Isaiah 52.13-15.

Reflect.

1. How is God’s Servant described here? What does He accomplish?

2. How shall the nations “see” “what had not been told them”?

Meditate.
We enter the most shocking section of the book of Isaiah. The prophet has pulled open the Lord’s time spyglass, to awaken the people to the coming salvation of the Lord. It will begin with their return from captivity in Babylon. It will be further elaborated, encompassing all the nations of the world, when the Servant comes to bring the Good News of God’s Kingdom. And that work will reach its full realization in a new heavens and new earth, when this world shall be no more.

What an exciting prospect! How will the Lord do this? What power will the Servant wield Who brings such salvation to His people and to the world? 

Be assured, Isaiah says, that God’s “Servant shall deal prudently” (v. 13). This Hebrew word (יַשְׂכִּ֖יל) means something like “to be wise” or “to make one wise.” It is the same verb used to describe the power of the tree of good and evil which Eve contemplated in the garden (Gen. 3.6). What Eve foolishly thought she could achieve by disobeying God, the Servant will now come to accomplish properly, according to the Lord’s will and plan. As a result, He will be extolled and exalted (Phil. 2.5-11), which is just what we might expect.

But wait: First, He must endure punishment, like Israel in Babylon, bearing sin and judgment, to the astonishment of all who see Him. In appearance, He will “be marred more than any man.” He will be what? Beaten beyond recognition? Bloodied in His face and form (v. 14)? The Servant Who deals prudently? 

And yet, He will “sprinkle many nations” (v. 15). With what? His blood (1 Pet. 1.2)?

Kings will be astonished, and their authority silenced (v. 15) as His work unfolds before them. They will hear something they’ve never heard before, something to make them pause and “consider.” Could it be that what they will hear is that this Servant, this bloodied and bowed Servant, has, by His suffering, brought the reign of God to the world? 

You betcha.

Prepare.
1. How was Israel in Isaiah’s and Daniel’s day a type of the Servant of God to come?

2. These verses show the Servant exalted and abased. Explain. Why exalted? Why abased? How does keeping Israel in mind, and the captivity in Babylon, help us in understanding the abasement of the Servant? 

3. How is the power of the Servant’s message portrayed in verse 15? How should that encourage us, to whom that message has been entrusted?

“And kings shall keep their mouths shut.” At the manifest demonstration of God’s power, those who formerly persecuted him and had dared to blaspheme will restrain their tongues from slander. Then he adds in a clearer vein: “For they to whom no report was brought concerning him shall see; and they who have not heard shall consider.” For those who did not receive the prophetic predictions, but who served idols, will see, thanks to the heralds of truth, the might of him who was proclaimed to them, and they will know his power. Theodoret of Cyr (393-566 AD),Commentary on Isaiah 17.52.15

O Lord, You have promised to give me power to be Your witness, and I want this power today. Help me as I…

Pray Psalm 22.26-28.
Thank God for the Gospel, for the Good News that “our God reigns!” Pray for the peoples of the world, that God may awaken them to the Good News of His Kingdom.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 22.26-28(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
The suff’ring King shall eat and praise with us the Lord.
Forever we His praise repeat and trust His Word.
Praise God above, all you who keep His vows and who His mercies love!

All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord;
All those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King!  His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!

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.

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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).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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