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A JUST SERVANT
(The LORD’s chosen servant)
The prophet Isaiah was born in Jerusalem into the family of Amoz, a relative of the royal house of Judah. He spent his early years as an official of King Uzziah (Azariah), who reigned over Judah for 52 years (2 Chronicles 26:3). In the year that King Uzziah died of leprosy (2 Kings 15:5), around 740 B.C., Isaiah received his calling from GOD in a stirring vision while visiting the Temple in Jerusalem (Isaiah 6).
Isaiah was married to a woman described only in his book as “the Prophetess” (Isaiah 8:3). He fathered two sons with her who are given two highly symbolic names. “Shear-jashub”, his first son, whose name means “a remnant shall return”, prophesies “the return of the Jews to Judah, after their deportation and captivity in Assyria” (722 B.C.). The second son, “Maher-shalal-hash-baz”(the longest word in the bible), whose name means, “swift spoil, speedy prey”, prophesies “the doom of Damascus and Samaria, and the destruction of Syria and Israel, who had formed an alliance against Jerusalem.
Isaiah’s connection with the royal family may explain how he was always able to enter into the presence of the kings of Israel, seemingly, at will. His active ministry spanned over 60 years, from around 740 B.C. to, at least, 701 B.C., and possibly until as late as 690 B.C. He lived through a succession of political crises, including the intervention of Assyria (2 Kings 16:5), the Syro-Ephraimitish War, which began in 734 B.C. (2 Kings 15:37-16:9), the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17:5-6), the siege of Asdod by King Sargon in 711 B.C. (Isaiah 20:1), and the attempted invasion by Sennacherib of Assyria in 701 B.C. (2 Kings 19).
In the Book of Isaiah, the phrase “servant of the LORD” usually refers to “the nation of Israel”. However, the servant Israel, at this point, had failed miserably to answer her charge and mission that had been given to her by GOD.
Another famous phrase that refers to Israel is “GOD’s chosen people, or, nation”. It is a phrase which takes on three separate meanings, neither of which is what most people think they are. Contrary to popular belief, it does not mean that the Jews are “people of special privilege” as much as it means that they are “people of special responsibility”. The Jews were chosen by GOD to perform basically three duties, and they are:
· To bring GOD’s Word to the world and exhibit it through their behavior.
· To bring GOD’s Law to the world and incorporate into their community and society.
· To bring GOD’s SON into the world so that HE might communicate to humanity how to live obediently as “human beings” under GOD, and to offer mankind salvation through HIS vicarious sacrifice on the cross at Gologtha.
The Jews, as a nation, had, at that time, already failed miserably to perform the first two, of those divinely appointed duties. Their continued sin and disobedience had severely separated them from GOD, and their lifestyles and society had begun to, more resemble the pagan nations around them, than it did the ideology that GOD had commanded them to follow. And now, they were only 700 years away from the third and final part of their mission of fulfilling their responsibility to their FATHER GOD in Heaven (birthing JESUS into the world).
JESUS, our LORD and SAVIOR, would soon be born into world through the Davidic line of the Jewish nation. HE would be, to the world, what the entire nation of Israel in general, had failed to be, since its inception. They had never fulfilled their responsibility to be an example of GODly behavior here on earth.
Here in Isaiah 42, the MESSIAH is “the SERVANT of GOD”, of which the prophet Isaiah speaks. Here he is prophesying of the “coming”, or “first advent”, of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST into the world to be the “gentle servant of hope”, WHO would bring “full justice” to all who have been wronged. HE would bring “truth” and “righteousness” throughout the world, and all men would wait for HIS instructions (v.14).
In this passage we see that JESUS would come to complete the mission that Israel had proven itself to be incapable of completing. In verses 5-7 Isaiah tells us that the coming SERVANT would have a goal to become “a light to the world”. GOD would give this SERVANT to HIS people to guard and support them, and, to be a “personal” confirmation of HIS Covenant with them.
JESUS, the GREAT SERVANT, would guide “all nations” to GOD the FATHER, and HE would open the eyes of the spiritually blind, freeing them from their incarceration in sin, and thereby, releasing them from the darkness of a sinful existence. And the LORD warns us in verse 8, that, HE will not cede HIS glory to any man, nor, any carved idol made from the hands of men, anywhere in the world.
Isaiah 42:1-4 is the first of four passages in his book that have famously become known as “Servant’s Songs”. The others are Isaiah 49:1-6, 50:3-9, and 52:13-53:12. These verses serve to emphasize again and again, “the qualities of servanthood” that every Christian must aspire to embody and exemplify throughout all the days of their Christian Walk.
The successful servant is upheld and chosen by GOD, and they are endowed with the HOLY SPIRIT to strengthen, council, and guide them. They must be humble and sensitive to the degree that they realize that, even “those whom society rejects as having no value”, are “worth saving” to GOD.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website