The LORD’s Servant will will evangelize the Gentiles. The LORD’s Servant will restore Israel.
This chapter includes one of the “Songs of the Suffering Servant” from Isaiah:
Isaiah 42:1-17. Servant Song #1. The Servant will bring justice to the earth.
Isaiah 49:1-7. The LORD’s Servant will will evangelize the Gentiles. The Servant’s pre-natal calling to lead both Israel and the nations.
Isaiah 50:4-6. The life of the Suffering Servant. The Servant is both a teacher and a learner who follows God’s path.
Isaiah 53:1-12. The Servant of the LORD. The suffering servant bears the punishments and afflictions of others.
Isaiah 61:1-3. Some scholars regard this as a fifth servant song, although the word “servant” is not mentioned
The Servant Songs were first identified by Bernhard Duhm in his 1892 commentary on Isaiah.
VERSE 1. Listen, islands, to me. Listen, you peoples, from afar: the LORD has called me from the womb; from the inside of my mother, he has mentioned my name.
islands … you peoples, from afar. The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
called me from the womb. The LORD God exists outside of our limited space-time continuum. He sees it all.
To him, everything exists, all at once. He calls us by name, even before we even exist.
he has mentioned my name. That is, “he called me by name.”
The LORD God called Isaiah by name. And he calls you by name too.
VERSE 2. He has made my mouth like a sharp sword. He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. He has made me a polished shaft. He has kept me close in his quiver.
BBE translation. And he has made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shade of his hand he has kept me; and he has made me like a polished arrow, keeping me in his secret place;
a polished arrow. Isaiah is a tool in the LORD God’s arsenal. Isaiah is highly effective.
However, in other passages in the Bible, the term “arrow” is a euphemism for “children.”
Psalm 127:4. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of youth.
Psalm 127:5. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. They won’t be disappointed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
You are my servant. To follow the path of a seeker of the LORD God—this is to be a servant of the LORD God.
Seeking the LORD God is itself a ministry. It a way of serving the Most High God. And it ministers to other people.
Our own seeking shines the glory of LORD God to other people.
in whom I will be glorified. The LORD God shows his glory to other people through us.
To have our own life glorify God is a dream-come-true for us believers.
VERSE 4. But I said, “I have labored in vain. I have spent my strength in vain for nothing; yet surely the justice due to me is with the LORD, and my reward with my God.”
I have labored in vain. For people who have been in ministry for a long time, it is easy to feel this way:
- The hours are long
- The work is wearisome
- The results are few
- Few people are thankful
- It often feels fruitless
But Mother Teresa of Calcutta remarked:
We are not called to be successful, but faithful.
VERSE 5. Now the LORD, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, says to bring Jacob again to him, and to gather Israel to him, for I am honorable in the LORD’s eyes, and my God has become my strength.
NLT translation. And now the Lord speaks—the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him. The Lord has honored me, and my God has given me strength.
formed me from the womb to be his servant. This introduces something we call the ministry of being a seeker.
That means you seek the LORD God. You are not apathetic or rootless. You are in love with God and devoted to growing in your relationship with him.
The LORD God made you to be a seeker. It’s in your design. Augustine put it this way:
Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in you.
commissioned me. The LORD God called Isaiah to full-time ministry. Isaiah gave up a secular career and only did ministry.
In our day, the LORD God calls some people to professional ministry. We could also describe it as “full-time” or “salaried.”
Have you been called to professional ministry? Many people see it this way:
- If YES, then change your career to professional ministry
- If NO, then do NOT change your career to professional ministry
That is how most people see it. However, we see it in reverse: you are already called to ministry.
You need a special calling from God to be exempt from it.
to bring Israel back to him. Isaiah’s was a ministry of restoration.
my God has given me strength. When we admit that we are weak, the LORD God can become our strength. Read more »
VERSE 6. Indeed, he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give you as a light to the nations, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.”
NIV translation. he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
too small a thing. If we believe our mission in life is to touch just a few souls here and there, then our vision is way too small. Thatʼs not enough. The LORD God would make of us a light to the entire world! Read more »
for you. The LORD God has big plans for Isaiah.
Isaiah will be the human agent that evangelizes the whole world.
a light. In ancient days, a candle burned in the Tent of Meeting. But in our day, the light is to shine from within us. How can you let your light shine? Read more »
for the Gentiles. The LORD God has big plans for the Gentiles. He always has their evangelization on his mind. He wants them to be in on his eternal salvation.
that you may bring my salvation. This is the Ministry of Evangelism.
Isaiah will boldly proclaim the message of the One God. It will restore the Jewish people to faith. And it will bring Gentiles to faith.
to the ends of the earth. The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
VERSE 7. The LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, says to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and rise up, princes, and they shall worship, because of the LORD who is faithful, even the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
VERSE 8. The LORD says, “I have answered you in an acceptable time. I have helped you in a day of salvation. I will preserve you and give you for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritage,
I will preserve you. That is, “I will keep you safe.”
Some people object to going overseas for missionary work.
Their concern is safety.
However, for the person of faith, safety is not an issue. The LORD God promises to keep us safe.
VERSE 9. saying to those who are bound, ‘Come out!’; to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves!’ “They shall feed along the paths, and their pasture shall be on all treeless heights.
those who are bound. Some people have been imprisoned, spiritually, for years.
They’ve lingered in emotional dungeons for decades. Like the Israelites, they were lost in the desert for half their life.
Now the LORD God is about to bring them into their Promised Land.
These prisoners of gloom will come out and not be afraid. There will be plenty of lush pasture.
VERSE 10. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun strike them: for he who has mercy on them will lead them. He will guide them by springs of water.
guide them by springs of water:
Psalm 23:2. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
make all my mountains a road. That is what John the Baptist did.
Isaiah 40:4. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain.
Luke 3:5. Every valley will be filled. Every mountain and hill will be brought low. The crooked will become straight, and the rough ways smooth.
VERSE 12. Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.”
these shall come from afar. The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
From all over the world, God’s scattered people are regathering.
VERSE 13. Sing, heavens, and be joyful, earth! Break out into singing, mountains, for the LORD has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted.
NIV translation. Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
Shout for joy. This regathering of God’s people is joyful. Even the sky itself will celebrate and shout for joy.
the LORD comforts his people. He consoles us.
have compassion on his afflicted ones. The LORD shows compassion to people who have been oppressed.
BBE translation. But Zion said, The Lord has given me up, I have gone from his memory.
I have gone from his memory. Sometimes it can feel as though we’ve been forgotten by the LORD God.
VERSE 15. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you!
Yes, these may forget. In the U.S., we have a hyper-exalted view of motherhood.
It can blind us to the fact that some mothers mistreat their own child. Some mothers abandon their own child. Some mothers abuse their own child.
I will not forget you. The LORD God will not mistreat us. He will not abandon us. He will not abuse us.
VERSE 16. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Your walls are continually before me.
I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. The LORD God has written our names on palms of his hands.
We Christians sees this in a literal sense. We are written on the palms of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The “pen” that did the writing was the nails pounded through his hands to the cross.
ICEL translation. Your rebuilders make haste, as those who tore you down and laid you waste go forth from you.
Your rebuilders make haste. God hastens to restore us.
Your destroyers … will leave you. The LORD God forces our destroyers to depart from us forever.
VERSE 18. Lift up your eyes all around, and see: all these gather themselves together, and come to you. As I live,” says the LORD, “you shall surely clothe yourself with them all as with an ornament, and dress yourself with them, like a bride.
VERSE 19. “For, as for your waste and your desolate places, and your land that has been destroyed, surely now that land will be too small for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
VERSE 20. The children of your bereavement will say in your ears, ‘This place is too small for me. Give me a place to live in.’
VERSE 21. Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who has conceived these for me, since I have been bereaved of my children and am alone, an exile, and wandering back and forth? Who has brought these up? Behold, I was left alone. Where were these?’ ”
BBE translation. Then you will say in your heart, Who has given me all these children? when my children had been taken from me, and I was no longer able to have others, who took care of these? when I was by myself, where then were these?
Our “children” will be those people who accept our ministry and benefit from it.
They in turn will go out, in the fullness of time, and do likewise.
Their recipients will do likewise.
In a spiritual sense, they are our “children.”
VERSE 22. The Lord GOD says, “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and lift up my banner to the peoples. They shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
VERSE 23. Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; and those who wait for me shall not be disappointed.”
NIV translation. Kings and queens will serve you and care for all your needs. They will bow to the earth before you and lick the dust from your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.
Kings shall be your foster fathers. The LORD God turns the tables for his children who have suffered.
They were the tail; now they have become the head.
Those who trust in me will never be put to shame. This is a powerful statement!
VERSE 24. Shall the plunder be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives be delivered?
VERSE 25. But the LORD says, “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the plunder retrieved from the fierce, for I will contend with him who contends with you and I will save your children.
BBE translation. But the Lord says, Even the prisoners of the strong will be taken from him, and the cruel made to let go his goods: for I will take up your cause against your haters, and I will keep your children safe.
I will take up your cause against your haters. The LORD God will fight those who oppose us.
We have a protector! The LORD God will stand up for us.
I will keep your children safe. That is a very powerful promise.
VERSE 26. I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh; and they will be drunk on their own blood, as with sweet wine. Then all flesh shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
all flesh shall know. The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.