Monday, November 6, 2017

Isaiah Post 22 - Behold My Servant! (Chapter 42)

Today we will look at the first of the four "Servant Songs" of Isaiah. 

The servant Israel is mentioned back in 41:8, in a very broad sense.  And indeed, Israel has been a servant to the world - bringing to us the covenants, the law, the promises, and the very Messiah Himself.  See Romans 9:4.

But now, chapter 42 begins to narrow things down.  Behold My servant who pleases Me!  This is different from Israel as a servant to the world.  This gets more specific.  The first two verses tell us that the LORD's Spirit would be upon Him, He would bring forth justice to the Gentiles, and that He will not cry out or raise His voice.

In Matthew 3:17-18, we see this Spirit descending upon Yeshua at His immersion in the Jordan River.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Isaiah continues in the next verse by saying something we don't really relate to in these modern days:
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.

In ancient times reeds were used for basket-making.  The broken ones were called bruised - they were useless and were thrown away. 

A broken reed, useless for making paper

Also, in regard to smoking flax; well, in our modern culture, sadly, we can relate more to smoking weed.  But smoking flax referred to the wicks in the temple menorah - they were used up:  burned out and useless.

This section is quoted in Matthew 12:18-21. Matthew is letting us know that Yeshua is fulfilling what was foretold about Him.  He is the Servant.   Yeshua was and is for the downtrodden.

It is interesting to note that Matthew stopped at verse 3, even though Isaiah continued in verse 4 with this:
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

Matthew did not include verse 4 because this is an example of near/far prophecy.  He will accomplish part 2 of this prophecy when He returns.  Justice will be established throughout the earth when the Messiah returns to rule here someday soon.

Isaiah continues with verse 5:  Thus says the LORD who created – the word is boray, which means to create something out of nothing - the heavens and the earth. This word is only used of God, never of man, and is first found in Genesis 1:1.

Verses 6 and 7 clearly tell us what the Servant is going to do.  He is righteous, guided by God; He is given as a covenant to the people, a light to the Gentiles, an opener of eyes, bringing freedom for the
prisoners. What a perfect picture of what the Messiah has done for the world!

The very next verse tells us,
I am the LORD, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.

I must pause here and say that "The LORD" is not His name.  The holy name of our Creator is known as the tetragrammaton (4 letters, YHVH in Hebrew).  The Jews of old, and also to this day, revere His name so much that they will not prounounce it.  They will say Adonai (Lord), or Hashem (the Name).  This doctrine has spilled over into our Christian bible translations as well.  Whenever you see the word LORD in all capital letters in scripture, it is a substitute for the Hebrew name YHVH.  Because the name has been hidden, there are varying thoughts on it's correct pronunciation... Yahweh, Jehovah, Yehovah, etc.

Biblically, a name isn’t just something one is called; there is meaning to the name.  It’s who they are... their character, their nature, their very being.

Hebrew is unique in that individual letters have meaning.  For example, the yod means a hand.  The vav means a tent peg or nail.  And the hey means look, or behold.  Therefore, one of the meanings of the name of the Almighty is behold the hand, behold the nail.

It is interesting that the statement, My glory I will not give to another, would be tied in with messianic prophecies.  This is another verse that shows the Messiah as divine, because Yeshua is glorified when He comes to earth. 

Note:  Either Yeshua is YHVH in the flesh, or a false idol to the extreme.  He accepted worship from His disciples.  Both humans and angels in scripture rebuke people who try to worship them.  Yeshua did not, because He is worthy of our worship.  YHVH will not give His glory to another, because Yeshua is YHVH in the flesh.

Verse 9 continues with a declaration of new things.  YHVH will declare them before they happen.  Prophecy comes from the LORD and it confirms Who He is.  Jeremiah 31:31 declares that a new covenant is coming soon.

The next section, verses 10-13 are a praise to God because of what He is going to do!  A new song!  Let all the earth give glory to God!  It's going to be big!

In the next section, Isaiah is speaking again about the servant Israel.  God has restrained Himself a long time, but judgment is coming.  This servant, we are told, is blind and deaf, but they will see again see.  Discipline is coming because of their idols and their refusal to walk in the law of YHVH

In verse 25, we see the LORD's fury is being poured out, and Israel is not taking it to heart.

Regarding discipline – the Lord disciplines those He loves. Proverbs 3:12 tells us,
For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

This idea is repeated in Hebrews 12:6 - For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.

The LORD obviously loves His people. 

Therefore, the Servant is to be brought forth from the servant in order to redeem the servant, whom the Servant loves.  Chew on that for awhile!

And when you are done chewing, click here for musings on chapter 43.

To start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

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