This is Episode #218 and today we’ll read Isaiah 42-44 together. In this episode, we will read the first of the Four Servants Songs. And more!
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #218 and today we’ll read Isaiah 42-44 together. In this episode, we will read the first of the Four Servants Songs. And more!
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Isaiah Chapter 42
The Servant’s Mission
“This is my servant; I strengthen him,
this is my chosen one; I delight in him.
I have put my Spirit on him;
he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not cry out or shout
or make his voice heard in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed,
and he will not put out a smoldering wick;
he will faithfully bring justice.
He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until he has established justice on earth.
The coasts and islands will wait for his instruction.”
This is what God, the Lord, says —
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk on it —
“I am the Lord. I have called you
for a righteous purpose,
and I will hold you by your hand.
I will watch over you, and I will appoint you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light to the nations,
in order to open blind eyes,
to bring out prisoners from the dungeon,
and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.
I am the Lord. That is my name,
and I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
The past events have indeed happened.
Now I declare new events;
I announce them to you before they occur.”
A Song of Praise
Sing a new song to the Lord;
sing his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea with all that fills it,
you coasts and islands with your inhabitants.
Let the desert and its cities shout,
the settlements where Kedar dwells cry aloud.
Let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy;
let them cry out from the mountaintops.
Let them give glory to the Lord
and declare his praise in the coasts and islands.
The Lord advances like a warrior;
he stirs up his zeal like a soldier.
He shouts, he roars aloud,
he prevails over his enemies.
“I have kept silent from ages past;
I have been quiet and restrained myself.
But now, I will groan like a woman in labor,
I will lay waste mountains and hills
and dry up all their vegetation.
I will turn rivers into islands
and dry up marshes.
I will lead the blind by a way they did not know;
I will guide them on paths they have not known.
I will turn darkness to light in front of them
and rough places into level ground.
This is what I will do for them,
and I will not abandon them.
They will be turned back and utterly ashamed —
those who trust in an idol
and say to a cast image,
‘You are our gods! ’
Israel’s Blindness and Deafness
“Listen, you deaf!
Look, you blind, so that you may see.
Who is blind but my servant,
or deaf like my messenger I am sending?
Who is blind like my dedicated one,
or blind like the servant of the Lord?
Though seeing many things, you pay no attention.
Though his ears are open, he does not listen.”
Because of his righteousness, the Lord was pleased
to magnify his instruction and make it glorious.
But this is a people plundered and looted,
all of them trapped in holes
or imprisoned in dungeons.
They have become plunder
with no one to rescue them
and loot, with no one saying, “Give it back!”
Who among you will hear this?
Let him listen and obey in the future.
Who gave Jacob to the robber,
and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the Lord?
Have we not sinned against him?
They were not willing to walk in his ways,
and they would not listen to his instruction.
So he poured out his furious anger
and the power of war on Jacob.
It surrounded him with fire, but he did not know it;
it burned him, but he didn’t take it to heart.
Isaiah Chapter 43
Restoration of Israel
Now this is what the Lord says —
the one who created you, Jacob,
and the one who formed you, Israel —
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you,
and the rivers will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be scorched,
and the flame will not burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior.
I have given Egypt as a ransom for you,
Cush and Seba in your place.
Because you are precious in my sight
and honored, and I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you
and nations instead of your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’
Bring my sons from far away,
and my daughters from the ends of the earth —
everyone who bears my name
and is created for my glory.
You Are My Witnesses
I have formed them; indeed, I have made them.”
Bring out a people who are blind, yet have eyes,
and are deaf, yet have ears.
All the nations are gathered together,
and the peoples are assembled.
Who among them can declare this,
and tell us the former things?
Let them present their witnesses
to vindicate themselves,
so that people may hear and say, “It is true.”
“You are my witnesses” —
this is the Lord’s declaration —
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
No god was formed before me,
and there will be none after me.
I — I am the Lord.
Besides me, there is no Savior.
I alone declared, saved, and proclaimed —
and not some foreign god among you.
So you are my witnesses” —
this is the Lord’s declaration —
“and I am God.
Also, from today on I am he alone,
and none can rescue from my power.
I act, and who can reverse it?”
God’s Deliverance of Rebellious Israel
This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says:
Because of you, I will send an army to Babylon
and bring all of them as fugitives,
even the Chaldeans in the ships in which they rejoice.
I am the Lord, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.
This is what the Lord says —
who makes a way in the sea,
and a path through raging water,
who brings out the chariot and horse,
the army and the mighty one together
(they lie down, they do not rise again;
they are extinguished, put out like a wick) —
“Do not remember the past events;
pay no attention to things of old.
Look, I am about to do something new;
even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert.
Wild animals —
jackals and ostriches — will honor me,
because I provide water in the wilderness,
and rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people.
Your First Father Sinned
The people I formed for myself
will declare my praise.
“But, Jacob, you have not called on me,
because, Israel, you have become weary of me.
You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings
or honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings
or wearied you with incense.
You have not bought me aromatic cane with silver,
or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
you have wearied me with your iniquities.
“I am the one, I sweep away your transgressions
for my own sake
and remember your sins no more.
Remind me. Let’s argue the case together.
Recount the facts, so that you may be vindicated.
Your first father sinned,
and your mediators have rebelled against me.
So I defiled the officers of the sanctuary,
and set Jacob apart for destruction
and Israel for scorn.
Isaiah Chapter 44
“And now listen, Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen.
This is the word of the Lord
your Maker, the one who formed you from the womb:
He will help you.
Do not fear, Jacob my servant,
Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants
and my blessing on your offspring.
They will sprout among the grass
like poplars by flowing streams.
This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’;
another will use the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and take on the name of Israel.”
No God Other Than the Lord
This is what the Lord, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, the Lord of Armies, says:
I am the first and I am the last.
There is no God but me.
Who, like me, can announce the future?
Let him say so and make a case before me,
since I have established an ancient people.
Let these gods declare the coming things,
and what will take place.
Do not be startled or afraid.
Have I not told you and declared it long ago?
You are my witnesses!
Is there any God but me?
There is no other Rock; I do not know any.
All who make idols are nothing,
and what they treasure benefits no one.
Their witnesses do not see or know anything,
so they will be put to shame.
Who makes a god or casts a metal image
that benefits no one?
Look, all its worshipers will be put to shame,
and the craftsmen are humans.
They all will assemble and stand;
they all will be startled and put to shame.
The ironworker labors over the coals,
shapes the idol with hammers,
and works it with his strong arm.
Also he grows hungry and his strength fails;
he doesn’t drink water and is faint.
The woodworker stretches out a measuring line,
he outlines it with a stylus;
he shapes it with chisels
and outlines it with a compass.
He makes it according to a human form,
like a beautiful person,
to dwell in a temple.
He cuts down cedars for his use,
or he takes a cypress or an oak.
He lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest.
He plants a laurel, and the rain makes it grow.
Return to Me
A person can use it for fuel.
He takes some of it and warms himself;
also he kindles a fire and bakes bread;
he even makes it into a god and worships it;
he makes an idol from it and bows down to it.
He burns half of it in a fire,
and he roasts meat on that half.
He eats the roast and is satisfied.
He warms himself and says, “Ah!
I am warm, I see the blaze.”
He makes a god or his idol with the rest of it.
He bows down to it and worships;
he prays to it, “Save me, for you are my god.”
Such people do not comprehend
and cannot understand,
for he has shut their eyes so they cannot see,
and their minds so they cannot understand.
No one comes to his senses;
no one has the perception or insight to say,
“I burned half of it in the fire,
I also baked bread on its coals,
I roasted meat and ate.
Should I make something detestable with the rest of it?
Should I bow down to a block of wood?”
He feeds on ashes.
His deceived mind has led him astray,
and he cannot rescue himself,
or say, “Isn’t there a lie in my right hand?”
Remember these things, Jacob,
and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you, you are my servant;
Israel, you will never be forgotten by me.
I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud,
and your sins like a mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.
Rejoice, heavens, for the Lord has acted;
shout, depths of the earth.
Break out into singing, mountains,
forest, and every tree in it.
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
and glorifies himself through Israel.
Restoration of Israel through Cyrus
This is what the Lord, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says:
I am the Lord, who made everything;
who stretched out the heavens by myself;
who alone spread out the earth;
who destroys the omens of the false prophets
and makes fools of diviners;
who confounds the wise
and makes their knowledge foolishness;
who confirms the message of his servant
and fulfills the counsel of his messengers;
who says to Jerusalem, “She will be inhabited,”
and to the cities of Judah, “They will be rebuilt,”
and I will restore her ruins;
who says to the depths of the sea, “Be dry,”
and I will dry up your rivers;
who says to Cyrus, “My shepherd,
he will fulfill all my pleasure”
and says to Jerusalem, “She will be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Its foundation will be laid.”
There are four passages within Isaiah chapters 40-55 known as the Four Servants Songs. According to James M Ward, in 1968, these poems have been singled out by biblical scholars as “songs” celebrating the sacrificial life of a righteous servant of God who brings about the redemption of others. In other words, Jesus. We find the first of these songs in chapter 42, verses 1-9. It describes Him as gentle, submissive, on mission worldwide, and just. In verse 4, Isaiah looks beyond Christ’s first coming to His return.
Now, here’s my confession for the day…writer’s block! But in that, God has led me to an exciting discovery. I just found a YouTube channel called Real Life with Jack Hibbs. Maybe you know it. Anyway, he did a two-part sermon on Isaiah chapter 44. I’m all re-excited! Isaiah’s writing is SO rich here! It’s inter-connected with the entire history of Israel and Christendom.
I truly believe that we need to use any and all resources to increase our understanding of God’s Word. Praying, reading, listening, sermons, commentaries, pastors – our own and others. Yes, we must exercise discernment and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. But be open to learn. Everything. I’ve linked the sermon on Isaiah 44 in the transcript for this episode at Lifting Her Voice.com and in the Show Notes. I encourage you to listen. And then share your thoughts with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
- Article: The Servants Songs in Isaiah by James M. Ward
- Sermon: His Spirit is Our Hope, Part 1 – Isaiah 44:1-28 by Jack Hibbs
- These will help! Overview videos of all books of the Bible
Bible Study Resources
- CSB Study Bible – Hardcover or Kindle!
- The Bible Project’s Bible Basics – Free!
- Every Bible You Could Ever Want!
- The Bible Hub – Free!
- Bible Study Tools – Free!
- The Bible Project– Free!
- Want to use your tablet for Bible reading? Consider Kindle.
- I love Audible! Try it for free!
- Want it? FaithGear has it!
- Wear your faith! Christian Strong
- Bet Hannon Business Websites designed and maintains my website.
- Title of song used in the podcast is 3 Joys & the Truth, by Daniel O’Connor.
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