We are reading Isaiah Chapter 49 – the second ‘Servant Song’ – and these are not among the best known verses in the Bible.
Isaiah is writing about the coming of Jesus Christ.
Verse 5 refers to being formed in the womb – there is not only a divine intervention but a divine intention – and God will not be thwarted.
When one considers the attempts to thwart the plans of God over the centuries, and to crush witnesses who would testify to the greatness of God – all these attempt have failed – from the pogrom in Egypt when Moses was born – to King Herod’s planned slaughter of the male children in Bethlehem a year of so after the birth of Jesus – and the global persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ today – these persecutors will one day have to stand before God – whether they want to or not – whether they think it is a good thing or not!
Verse 6 – Isaiah writes about the ministry of the servant expanding – his ministry widens – to the nations – even to the Gentiles.
Isaiah could not have been more comprehensive if he tried – this ministry is also all-inclusive – all are included and no–one is excluded. It is for all who want to come and who wish to come.
Salvation would be offered to all – it is a vast canvass.
God will speak to the whole world – through Israel – through Jesus Christ – and through the Church of Jesus Christ.
Do not let anyone accuse the Church of Jesus Christ as being exclusive.
Verse 7 – We read of the word ‘despised’ being used about Jesus for the first time. Jesus is not going to be accepted by all men.
Everyone is not going to like Jesus, or welcome Jesus. That was the situation then, and that is the situation today. It has always been like that. It does not make things any easier, but it is good to know that we are certainly not the first generation to experience such strong rejection of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
We need to remember that today. But, one day, people will see who Jesus Christ is – the Saviour – the Redeemer – the Holy One of Israel.
“The Holy One of Israel” is a favourite phrase of Isaiah – and so apposite.
Kings will arise – they do not normally do that – but in the presence of Jesus Christ they will arise – and bow down.
From verse 8, God speaks about the salvation of Israel, and there are lessons in these verses for us, who believe in Jesus and who belong to Jesus.
I will answer you – I will help you – I will keep you.
To those who feel they are prisoners I will say, “Come out” – and v.9 – to those who are in darkness – a light to the Gentiles – bringing salvation.
God begins to say things to people who knew suffering – and you can say things about God which you could not say if people had not experienced suffering.
Verses 10 to 13 are strong reassuring words – and they thought they had been forgotten and overlooked. See 40 verse 27.
You may still have to go through the deserts and climb the hills and rugged mountains, but God will be with you – providing for your need, when you need such help.
Our God will provide, protect and guide.
Verse 15 – Can a mother forget? No. Not really – but it is possible.
God says - “I will not forget you.” “Thank You Father for that promise – I will not forget you – make the reality of Your presence real to me this day.”
I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. Every time I look at My hands I see your name – so I can never forget you. And, when God sees the walls of Jerusalem HE thinks of His people.
Verse 20 – As people came back to that land, the city was too small – and they had to build outside the city wall – and that happened again over 100 years ago – and that continues to happen today.
Isaiah goes on to speak in such a strong positive way, as God pours His words into his heart and mind.
Verse 23 - “Those who hope in ME will not be disappointed. And yet, it is as if the people are saying in their hearts – can anyone rescue us here in Babylon?
They thought the situation was too serious. They thought the situation was even out of God’s control, and beyond God, and God answers them and God replies. Yes, I will do what you think could not be done – so that people may know!
Chapter 50 – The people were saying, it is as if HE has divorced us, and God says, prove it! Show ME the certificate.
They were saying that God was so much in debt, that HE has sold us into slavery. People say daft things at times!
No, no – it was not what I did – the fault is on your side.
When I came to meet you, there was no one there – verse 2.
When I called, no one answered. Was My Arm too short to reach you? No!
Do some think they have sunk too low to be reached by Jesus?
Do some consider that God is not strong enough to lift them up to where He wants them to be – rescuing them – and forgiving them – and renewing them?
We read verse 4 – Jesus has a word for the weary – wherever they are – no matter how sore or pained or dark their situation.
Jesus has a word – and sometimes all that is needed, is a morsel of bread and a sip from His Cup!
Reassure – Encourage – Strengthen – Satisfy.
“Lord God – let me pray these words – Reassure me – Encourage me – Strengthen me – Satisfy me – and wherever I go may I stretch out a loving and helping and rescuing hand to those wrestling and struggling in life’s rough seas – in Jesus Name I pray. Amen”
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