This is Episode #220 and today we’ll read Isaiah 49-53 together. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #220 and today we’ll read Isaiah 49-53 together. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
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 49
The Servant Brings Salvation
Coasts and islands, listen to me;
distant peoples, pay attention.
The Lord called me before I was born.
He named me while I was in my mother’s womb.
He made my words like a sharp sword;
he hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me like a sharpened arrow;
he hid me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I myself said: I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and futility;
yet my vindication is with the Lord,
and my reward is with my God.
And now, says the Lord,
who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him
so that Israel might be gathered to him;
for I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
and my God is my strength —
“It is not enough for you to be my servant
raising up the tribes of Jacob
and restoring the protected ones of Israel.
I will also make you a light for the nations,
to be my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
This is what the Lord,
the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, says
to one who is despised,
to one abhorred by people,
to a servant of rulers:
“Kings will see, princes will stand up,
and they will all bow down
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel — and he has chosen you.”
The Lord Comforts His People
This is what the Lord says:
I will answer you in a time of favor,
and I will help you in the day of salvation.
I will keep you, and I will appoint you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land,
to make them possess the desolate inheritances,
saying to the prisoners, “Come out,”
and to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”
They will feed along the pathways,
and their pastures will be on all the barren heights.
They will not hunger or thirst,
the scorching heat or sun will not strike them;
for their compassionate one will guide them,
and lead them to springs.
I will make all my mountains into a road,
and my highways will be raised up.
See, these will come from far away,
from the north and from the west,
and from the land of Sinim.
Shout for joy, you heavens!
Mountains break into joyful shouts!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
Zion says, “The Lord has abandoned me;
the Lord has forgotten me!”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or lack compassion for the child of her womb?
Even if these forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me.
Your builders hurry;
those who destroy and devastate you will leave you.
Look up, and look around.
They all gather together; they come to you.
As I live” —
this is the Lord’s declaration —
“you will wear all your children as jewelry,
and put them on as a bride does.
For your waste and desolate places
and your land marked by ruins
will now be indeed too small for the inhabitants,
and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
Yet as you listen, the children
that you have been deprived of will say,
‘This place is too small for me;
make room for me so that I may settle.’
Then you will say within yourself,
‘Who fathered these for me?
I was deprived of my children and unable to conceive,
exiled and wandering —
but who brought them up?
See, I was left by myself —
but these, where did they come from?’”
Redeemer of Israel
This is what the Lord God says:
Look, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
and raise my banner to the peoples.
They will bring your sons in their arms,
and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
Kings will be your guardians
and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down to you
with their faces to the ground
and lick the dust at your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
those who put their hope in me
will not be put to shame.
Can the prey be taken from a mighty man,
or the captives of a tyrant be delivered?
For this is what the Lord says:
“Even the captives of a mighty man will be taken,
and the prey of a tyrant will be delivered;
I will contend with the one who contends with you,
and I will save your children.
I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
and they will be drunk with their own blood
as with sweet wine.
Then all humanity will know
that I, the Lord, am your Savior,
and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Isaiah Chapter 50
This is what the Lord says:
Where is your mother’s divorce certificate
that I used to send her away?
Or to which of my creditors did I sell you?
Look, you were sold for your iniquities,
and your mother was sent away
because of your transgressions.
Why was no one there when I came?
Why was there no one to answer when I called?
Is my arm too weak to redeem?
Or do I have no power to rescue?
Look, I dry up the sea by my rebuke;
I turn the rivers into a wilderness;
their fish rot because of lack of water
and die of thirst.
I dress the heavens in black
and make sackcloth their covering.
The Obedient Servant
The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are instructed
to know how to sustain the weary with a word.
He awakens me each morning;
he awakens my ear to listen like those being instructed.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I did not turn back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
and my cheeks to those who tore out my beard.
I did not hide my face from scorn and spitting.
The Lord God will help me;
therefore I have not been humiliated;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
The one who vindicates me is near;
who will contend with me?
Let us confront each other.
Who has a case against me?
Let him come near me!
In truth, the Lord God will help me;
who will condemn me?
Indeed, all of them will wear out like a garment;
a moth will devour them.
Who among you fears the Lord
and listens to his servant?
Who among you walks in darkness,
and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord;
let him lean on his God.
Look, all you who kindle a fire,
who encircle yourselves with torches;
walk in the light of your fire
and of the torches you have lit!
This is what you’ll get from my hand:
you will lie down in a place of torment.
Isaiah Chapter 51
Salvation for Zion
Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
you who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father,
and to Sarah who gave birth to you.
When I called him, he was only one;
I blessed him and made him many.
For the Lord will comfort Zion;
he will comfort all her waste places,
and he will make her wilderness like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and melodious song.
Pay attention to me, my people,
and listen to me, my nation;
for instruction will come from me,
and my justice for a light to the nations.
I will bring it about quickly.
My righteousness is near,
my salvation appears,
and my arms will bring justice to the nations.
The coasts and islands will put their hope in me,
and they will look to my strength.
Look up to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and its inhabitants will die like gnats.
But my salvation will last forever,
and my righteousness will never be shattered.
Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my instruction:
do not fear disgrace by men,
and do not be shattered by their taunts.
For moths will devour them like a garment,
and worms will eat them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
and my salvation for all generations.
Wake up, wake up!
Arm of the Lord, clothe yourself with strength.
Wake up as in days past,
as in generations long ago.
Wasn’t it you who hacked Rahab to pieces,
who pierced the sea monster?
Wasn’t it you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made the sea-bed into a road
for the redeemed to pass over?
And the ransomed of the Lord will return
and come to Zion with singing,
crowned with unending joy.
Joy and gladness will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee.
I — I am the one who comforts you.
Who are you that you should fear humans who die,
or a son of man who is given up like grass?
But you have forgotten the Lord, your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth.
You are in constant dread all day long
because of the fury of the oppressor,
who has set himself to destroy.
But where is the fury of the oppressor?
The prisoner is soon to be set free;
he will not die and go to the Pit,
and his food will not be lacking.
Stand Up, Jerusalem
For I am the Lord your God
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar —
his name is the Lord of Armies.
I have put my words in your mouth,
and covered you in the shadow of my hand,
in order to plant the heavens,
to found the earth,
and to say to Zion, “You are my people.”
Wake yourself, wake yourself up!
Stand up, Jerusalem,
you who have drunk the cup of his fury
from the Lord’s hand;
you who have drunk the goblet to the dregs —
the cup that causes people to stagger.
There is no one to guide her
among all the children she has raised;
there is no one to take hold of her hand
among all the offspring she has brought up.
These two things have happened to you:
devastation and destruction,
famine and sword.
Who will grieve for you?
How can I comfort you?
Your children have fainted;
they lie at the head of every street
like an antelope in a net.
They are full of the Lord’s fury,
the rebuke of your God.
So listen to this, suffering
and drunken one — but not with wine.
This is what your Lord says —
the Lord, even your God,
who defends his people —
“Look, I have removed from your hand
the cup that causes staggering;
that goblet, the cup of my fury.
You will never drink it again.
I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
who said to you,
‘Lie down, so we can walk over you.’
You made your back like the ground,
and like a street for those who walk on it.
Isaiah Chapter 52
“Wake up, wake up;
put on your strength, Zion!
Put on your beautiful garments,
Jerusalem, the holy city!
For the uncircumcised and the unclean
will no longer enter you.
Stand up, shake the dust off yourself!
Take your seat, Jerusalem.
Remove the bonds from your neck,
captive Daughter Zion.”
For this is what the Lord says:
“You were sold for nothing,
and you will be redeemed without silver.”
For this is what the Lord God says:
“At first my people went down to Egypt to reside there,
then Assyria oppressed them without cause.
My People Will Know My Name
So now what have I here” —
this is the Lord’s declaration —
“that my people are taken away for nothing?
Its rulers wail” —
this is the Lord’s declaration —
“and my name is continually blasphemed all day long.
Therefore my people will know my name;
therefore they will know on that day
that I am he who says,
‘Here I am.’”
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of the herald,
who proclaims peace,
who brings news of good things,
who proclaims salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
The voices of your watchmen —
they lift up their voices,
shouting for joy together;
for every eye will see
when the Lord returns to Zion.
Be joyful, rejoice together,
you ruins of Jerusalem!
For the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has displayed his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.
Leave, leave, go out from there!
Do not touch anything unclean;
go out from her, purify yourselves,
you who carry the vessels of the Lord.
For you will not leave in a hurry,
and you will not have to take flight;
because the Lord is going before you,
and the God of Israel is your rear guard.
The Servant’s Suffering and Exaltation
See, my servant will be successful;
he will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted.
Just as many were appalled at you —
his appearance was so disfigured
that he did not look like a man,
and his form did not resemble a human being —
so he will sprinkle many nations.
Kings will shut their mouths because of him,
for they will see what had not been told them,
and they will understand what they had not heard.
Isaiah Chapter 53
Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a young plant
and like a root out of dry ground.
He didn’t have an impressive form
or majesty that we should look at him,
no appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
he was despised, and we didn’t value him.
Yet he himself bore our sicknesses,
and he carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
All We Went Astray
But he was pierced because of our rebellion,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on him,
and we are healed by his wounds.
We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished him
for the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter
and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
He was taken away because of oppression and judgment,
and who considered his fate?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
he was struck because of my people’s rebellion.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
but he was with a rich man at his death,
because he had done no violence
and had not spoken deceitfully.
Yet the Lord was pleased to crush him severely.
When you make him a guilt offering,
he will see his seed, he will prolong his days,
and by his hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
After his anguish,
he will see light and be satisfied.
By his knowledge,
my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will carry their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him the many as a portion,
and he will receive the mighty as spoil,
because he willingly submitted to death,
and was counted among the rebels;
yet he bore the sin of many
and interceded for the rebels.
I was confused at the beginning of chapter 49. At first, I thought it was a little sidebar by Isaiah himself; a departure from being a mouthpiece for God. Then realization set in – thank You, Holy Spirit – and it became clear that verses 1-6 made up the second of the Servants Song. In this description, in seemed to me that Jesus was truly the clay in the Potter’s hand. He was formed and refined, He was there from the beginning. He gave credit and glory to God for everything. Then He described suffering and being used up – spent – while continuing to submit His will and vengeance for His agony to God.
In the third song in Chapter 50 we hear the words of the obedient servant, the song of the submissive servant. Could you feel His determination to stay focused on God throughout His whole ordeal? He would be abused and disrespected, and yet He said, I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame, – verse 7.
Our fourth and final servant’s song which begins in chapter 52, verse 13 and continues on through chapter 53, verse 12 is by far the longest poem. Almost everything about chapter 53 is familiar whether sung in Handel’s Messiah or quietly recounted at an Easter Sunrise service. We know these verses like 53:6 – We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all. And thank God He was willing to do so.
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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.
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