God intended Israel’s return to faith be accomplished by the Servant of the Lord. Isaiah 49:1-6 comprise the second Servant Song. The Servant is named, but the name is not revealed (49:1). He personalizes what instruments of judgment do (49:2). He is “My Servant” and “Israel” - what Israel should have been, the Revealer of God’s glory (49:3). He trusts God, though His task is personally and deeply demanding. From trust He will lead people to trust (49:4). His assignment is simple: “To bring Jacob back to Him” (49:5). His work is critically essential to God’s plan (49:6). He will be despised by the very people He seeks to redeem, but God will see that He receives the honor due Him (49:7).
God strengthens Him to establish a covenant of faith (49:8). The compassion of God will not only provide release but abundant provision for the captives on their homeward journey (49:9-11). Looking beyond exile in Babylon, the Servant’s work includes people of faith from every direction. Nature and people everywhere are summoned to praise the Lord for His salvation (49:12-13).
Isaiah, however, is speaking to people who show little inclination to trust God. The problem with Jerusalem is not God’s absence but absence of their loyalty to God. Their blindness is self-induced. Nevertheless, God’s grace is not restricted by unbelief. He does not forget His promises (49:14). A mother possibly might forget her child, but God will never forget the people of His election (49:15).
God’s hands bear testimony of His work on their behalf (49:16). Though blinded by sin, Israel is summoned to “see” that He is in fact preparing their deliverance (49:17). Their homeland will flourish again, and their descendants will be multiplied (49:18-20). Exile will transform into reunion (49:21). Even their captors will cooperate willingly in their return (49:22-23). “What the soldiers have taken will be taken away” from them (49:24-25, NCV). There will be no mistaking His deliverance (49:26).
Isaiah makes the point plain to doubters. No “certificate of divorce” ever existed. Israel was never a pawn paid to another nation because God never owed anything to any nation. Rather, God Himself brought their judgment, and would again through the coming exile (50:1). God spoke to Israel over many years and warned them about what sin would cause, yet they largely rejected His call, though the magnitude of His power was readily available (50:2-3).
Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: email@example.com.
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