Isaiah 49 Commentary

Isaiah 49 Commentary

Israel is the servant of the LORD, called to be a blessing to the nations. The scripture is reflecting the Abrahamic blessing. But Israel has worked all but in vain. His strength is all spent. Israel’s best hasn’t been good enough.

Probably because of Israel’s failure, another Servant, an individual, speaks and claims the role of Israel. His task is to restore errant Israel – to steady the warship; to bring back Israel to her rightful position as a blessing to the nations. The Servant will also be a light to the nations.

The Servant isn’t plan B; he has always been plan A. The Servant’s appointment to His role came long before the Servant’s birth. Indeed, immediately after the fall in Genesis 3, the LORD spoke of the seed of the woman. The promise was repeated when the LORD singled out Abraham but it was actually through Abraham’s seed that the nations would be blessed.

But who exactly is this servant who kings rise to show respect to? The princes bow low to honor him. At the same time, as we shall read, he is stricken and suffers at the hands of men.

Isaiah’s vision of the Servant is truly complex! No wonder the Pharisees could not just get it. No wonder believers hardly get it. No wonder wicked men and women simply cannot understand it. It takes the grace of God to begin to appreciate the role of the Servant in the sinner’s life. It takes even greater grace for the believer to appreciate that the Servant still gathers His own back to a life of holiness. It is a continuous process. As we have seen in this chapter, the Servant’s dual role involves the gathering of scattered Israel as well as providing light to the Gentiles.

“In the time of my favor, I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you.” We are living in the times declared by the LORD Jesus Christ as the year of God’s favor. We can find forgiveness and experience restoration and become a covenant people.

And in a twist of events, the saved seem to join the Servant. They become a covenant people. Verses 8 and 9. Together they say to the captives, “Come Out,” and to those in darkness, “Be free!”

Then the LORD speaks tenderly to His own people. He hasn’t forgotten them. He will rescue them.

Can plunder be taken from the strong? Yes, it is possible because it is the doing of the LORD.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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