Through God's Chosen Servant, God Glorifies Himself and Heals the World (Isaiah 42,43)

Isa 42:1-25 Don Carson's Daily Devotional. This servant song is divided into three parts.

  1. In Isa 42:1-4 God addresses Israel and introduces the Servant, who will bring “justice” to the nations.
  2. In Isa 42:5-7, the Servant himself is addressed (note Isa 42:6: “I the LORD, have called you [sing.] in righteousness”), and Israel is allowed to overhear what is said. Here the God who gives breath to all people (Isa 42:5) now makes this Servant “to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles” (Isa 42:6), undoing all the degrading effects of sin (Isa 42:7).
  3. In Isa 42:8-9, the Lord again addresses Israel, once again summarizing the mission of the ideal Servant and insisting that these are “new things” graciously announced in advance.

Isa 42:1-9 is the first of 4 Servant Songs, fulfilled in Christ (Isa 49:1-13; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12). "The servant of the Lord," sprinkled through out ch. 40-55, is a title for the people as a whole (Israel, the church), but at times the servant is a specific person who is distinct from the whole.

God's Chosen Servant (Isa 42:1-9; 10-17; 18-25)

God's Servant is the only Savior of the world (Isa 42:1; Mt 12:18-21). The key word "justice" (Isa 42:1,3,4) means fulfilling mutual obligations (forgiveness) consistent with God's moral law to individuals and the world. Unlike human rulers, like Cyrus (Isa 41:2-4,25-29), the Lord's quiet servant will not crush but defend the weak (Isa 42:2,3; 11:4; 40:11). God will fulfill his covenant promise to his people and heal the nations (Isa 42:4,6,7), for he is the Creator and Sustainer God (Isa 42:5), who will glorify himself (Isa 42:8,9). Because of the Servant's work of redemption, the world will sing a new song, with unprecedented praise to God (Isa 42:10-17; 1 Pe 2:9). Though Israel is God's chosen instrument and servant, they, like the blind (Isa 42:18-20) on account of their disobedience (Isa 42:22-25), need God's word (Isa 42:21), and God's salvation themselves (Isa 42:6-9).

Israel's Only Savior (Isa 43:1-28)

For his own glory, God reassures his people that he, their Savior (Isa 43:3,11), Redeemer, Creator and King (Isa 43:14,15), will ransom and restore them from their enemies (Isa 43:1-7) through a new exodus (Isa 43:16-21). Why would God save them? In order to be witnesses to God's exclusive reality as God to the world (Isa 43:8-13). Yet they failed to honor God, and burdened God with their sins (Isa 43:22-28).
Memorable Verses: "A bruised reed he will not break" (Isa 42:3); "I will not yield my glory to another" (Isa 42:8); "Sing to the Lord a new song" (Isa 42:10); "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you" (Isa 43:2); "I created for my glory" (Isa 43:7); "I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior" (Isa 43:11); "See, I am doing a new thing" (Isa 43:19).

Application Verse: "The Lord was pleased, for his righteousness' sake, to maginify his law and make it glorious" (Isa 42:21).