Friday, November 24, 2017

Isaiah Post 28 - The Second Servant Song, to All The World (Chapter 49)

Chapter 49 starts out with the second of four "Servant Songs" in the book of Isaiah.

Here are verses 1-13, with my commentary interspersed throughout the passage. Get ready... this is good stuff!  This is the Messiah speaking:

“Listen, O coastlands, to Me,
And take heed, you peoples from afar!
The LORD has called Me from the womb;
From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.
(For unto us a child is born, a Son is given; from Isaiah 9:6)

And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;
In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,
And made Me a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me.”
“And He said to me,
‘You are My servant, O Israel,
In whom I will be glorified.’
(This servant is called Israel, but it is not referring the nation. It is a reference to the greatest Israelite of all, which will be confirmed in verse 5.  He is the only one who has ever perfectly kept “Torah,” or the Sinai covenant.   And why was that covenant given at Sinai? To demonstrate to Israel the nation - and the world - how impossible it is not to sin, or fall short.  See Galatians 3:19)

Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain;
Yet surely my just reward is with the Lord,
And my work with my God.’”
(Has the Servant really labored in vain?  Most of Israel rejected the Messiah when He came the first time.)

“And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength),
( The Servant will bring back Jacob and Israel to Himself.  Israel doesn’t gather itself to itself - that just isn't logical.  This is how we know that the Servant here is the Messiah of Israel.

Some Bible versions- the ones based on the Masoretic text such as the King James Version - actually say NOT GATHERED in this verse.  The Dead Sea Scrolls say gathered.  This is an interesting discrepancy… when Israel rejected Yeshua, they were not gathered but scattered. Today they are being gathered in preparation for receiving Him!)

And now for one of my favorite verses in Isaiah:
 Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Can I get an amen here?  This one should make us all rejoice!  Not just Israel will be redeemed by the Servant, but He will be a light to the nations!  Salvation (Yeshua) to the ends of the earth!  In Acts 10-15, we see the Good News beginning to expand to the nations.  The apostles were confused about this, even though it is plainly foretold here in Isaiah.  Oh, how our culture can blind us sometimes.

Thus says the LORD,
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,
To Him whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the LORD who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chosen You.”
(We read that the Messiah will be despised by the nation of Israel, but kings and princes from all over the world shall worship Him.)

Thus says the LORD:
“In an acceptable time I have heard You,
And in the day of salvation I have helped You;
I will preserve You and give You
As a covenant to the people,
To restore the earth,
To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;
(YHVH will give the Servant as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth!  This is near/far prophecy.  Israel’s rejection of the new covenant was not permanent.)

That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
“They shall feed along the roads,
And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.
I will make each of My mountains a road,
And My highways shall be elevated.
(What a beautiful picture of what the Messiah does for us)

Surely these shall come from afar;
Look! Those from the north and the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”
Israel will return from afar, and there will be great joy!

Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted.

All the earth will rejoice someday! The servant’s work was NOT in vain (from vs 4). The church should be rejoicing at the regathering of His people Israel, but sadly, most of it isn’t.

This is all being played out before our very eyes. The eyes of the world is on Israel and what is happening there. World politics are centered on these events. Jerusalem is a cup of stumbling to an unbelieving world.

This last verse is a throwback to Isaiah 35:10:
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

It makes me wonder: did the apostle Paul have Isaiah 49 in mind when he penned Romans 11? Israel rejects the Messiah, the Good News circles the earth, and then all Israel is saved.

Moving on in Isaiah 49...Zion thinks the Lord has forgotten . Today, they are returning to the land, mostly in unbelief.  Modern Israel began as a secular nation.  But everything happens right in God’s perfect order… see the dry bones in Ezekiel 37.  They are brought together, but have no breath (the word for breath is ruach, which also means spirit) in them at first.  The breath comes later, after the reassembling.

Verses 15-21 give us a glimpse of the heart of the LORD for His people. Here's my paraphrase...  Can a mother forget her nursing child?  Like I could ever forget you!   Here, let me show you something.  My hands! Lift up your eyes, look and see.

What a picture of God’s love for His chosen people.

Isaiah goes on to say the land will even be too small to accommodate them.  And this is so!  Ever since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has been expanding into the biblical heartland.  And Israel gets in trouble with the world every time they build. Jewish settlements built beyond the green line, in desolate, uninhabited areas come under worldwide scrutiny.

The nations of the world don't hate Israel, even though they think they do.  The world actually hates God, so therefore it hates those whom God loves.  I think I finally understand the secular Jews who advocate for Palestine and protest against the state of Israel.  They don't want to acknowledge God.

In verse 21, Zion metaphorically asks, where did all these children come from?  I’ve been barren!  I've been a wasteland!

Get ready for what follows in verses 22-23:

Thus says the LORD God:
“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;
Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the LORD,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”

The nations will actually help Israel return to the land. Lick the dust from your feet is a metaphor, for respect and also humility. World leaders and kings are used to having people bow down to THEM, and yet here we see the opposite happening.  It won't be all the world, but only those who are able to see the hand of the LORD moving in these last days. Perhaps it is those who take Isaiah 40:1-2 to heart:

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the LORD's hand
Double for all her sins.”

Isaiah 49 continues in chapter 24 is a rhetorical question.  Can the captives be delivered?  Of course they can!

The chapter wraps up with a grim warning to the enemies of Zion.  You don’t want to be on the wrong side… choose wisely.

Why does God do all this?
All flesh shall know
That I, YHVH, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

For the next post in this series, click here.

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

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