Humbled and Exalted

Isaiah 49: 7-8.

Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him Whom man despiseth, to Him Whom the nation abhorreth, to a Servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose Thee.

Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee: and I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

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Jesus was indeed despised and rejected of men. His own nation rejected Him without cause, choosing instead to free a notorious criminal, Barabbas, and allow Jesus to be crucified. Jesus would be rejected by Israel, but accepted and honored of God, with strength for all He would be called upon to suffer.

That He would be a  servant of rulers  means that, although He was God, He was also man and submitted to human laws and earthly rulers (v. 7; Ps. 2:2; Mt. 27:41).

Kings and princes will worship Him, which proves Him to be Divine and  not Isaiah or some  other ordinary man, and certainly not the church or Israel, as some think.

Verse 8 is quoted in 2 Cor. 6:2. As used here of the Messiah, it does not mean personal salvation from sin, for He knew no sin; it refers to hearing and helping Him in the the day that God would be gracious and provide salvation for all men. God would not only hear and help Him, but would preserve and give Him to be the Maker of a new covenant to the people, to establish the earth and to restore and cause the waste places of earth to be inhabited.

The Light of the World

Isaiah 49:5-6.

And now, saith the Lord that formed Me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be My strength.

And He said, It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.

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Jesus, Messiah, was called from the womb, named from birth, and formed in the womb.  His purpose was to glorify God, to bring salvation not just to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles.

In verse 5, Israel was to be brought back to God finally and forever as a result of Messiah’s coming. It was a far future prophecy here, indicated by the Hebrew verb tense for which English has no specific translation.

Even though that regathering would not be complete during Jesus’ walk on earth, still the Father would be glorified by His life, death, and resurrection.  It is Jesus, Messiah, Who speaks here claiming God as His strength.

Verse 6 gives us the glorious promise that Jesus would be the Light, the way of salvation, not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles. This statement is quoted in Luke 2:32 and Acts 13:47.

Trust God

Isaiah 49:4.  “Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent My strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely My judgment is with the Lord, and My work with My God.”

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Verse 4. – Then I said, I have laboured in vain; rather, and Ifor my parthad said. The Servant had momentarily desponded, seeing the small results of all his efforts to reclaim Israel, and had felt a natural human regret at so much labour apparently expended in vain; but his despondency had been soon checked by the thought that God would not suffer any “labour of love” to be wholly in vain, but would give it the recompense which it merited. The verse brings strongly out the true humanity of the “Servant,” who feels as men naturally feel, but restrains himself, and does not allow his feelings to carry him away. Compare with this despondency the grief exhibited by our Lord on two occasions (Matthew 23:37John 11:35), and the depression which extorted from him the memorable words, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (Matthew 27:46). My work; rather, my reward, or my recompense.


We don’t often think of Messiah as being discouraged, but  we should consider that He was tempted in all points just as we are.  It must have seemed, as he watched the story of mankind roll out through history, that all His efforts to preserve Israel, to redeem her from idolatry and bring her back to Himself, were a wasted effort.

The biggest lesson to learn, I think, is that He never quit.  He never said, “Okay, that’s it, I give up.”

Messianic Prophecy

Isaiah 49:1-3.

 Listen, O isles, unto Me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called Me from the womb; from the bowels of My mother hath He made mention of My name.

And He hath made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid Me, and made Me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid Me;

And said unto Me, Thou art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

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Today we begin a new section, a change of direction. We will be looking at many prophecies of the coming of Messiah from this chapter through chapter 57.

Calling and naming Messiah was fulfilled in Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:28-35; 2:1-19.

He hath made My mouth like a sharp sword: Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21.

In the shadow of His hand hath He hid Me:  (protected and preserved Me)

Thou art My servant: Messiah is called the servant of God  in v. 3,5,6,7: 42:1; 50:10;52:13; 53:11.

O Israel:  Messiah is not only declared to be the servant of God to fulfill the predictions of v. 1-12, but He is called  Israel , meaning simply that He will prevail with God and man even in a deeper and more complete sense than Jacob did, as in Gen. 32:28.

In Whom I will be glorified:  God was glorified in Christ and will always be thus honored.

Regathering From Babylon

Isaiah 48:20-22.

20 Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed His servant Jacob.

21 And they thirsted not when He led them through the deserts: He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: He clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.

22 There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.

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When God lead Cyrus the Great to release His people from captivity in Babylon of the Chaldeans, He  also released them from the idolatrous culture  of Babylon, inviting them back into worship of The Holy One of Israel. There were those who were happy to remain in Babylon, having become quite comfortable with their lives there. Not all the children of Israel had any desire to leave the luxury of Babylon to go back to what was a desolate Jerusalem at that time.

God reminded His people of their trek so long ago from Egypt, in which He preserved them, protected them, and provided for their needs. He is willing to do it again.

I remember singing a beautiful piece with the college choir I was part of.  It was called With a Voice of Singing,and was based on this passage in Isaiah. Here it is:

I really didn’t expect to find it so quickly 🙂

And then, the final warning of this chapter:  “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.”  Sometimes, it seems the wicked are the only ones who DO have peace in this sinful world. It will not always be so. There is all eternity for those who refuse God. It will not be peaceful for them.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Discouragement

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Related image

Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Why all these verses about trusting God, staying encouraged, understanding that this is but a light affliction (small potatoes, my friends)?  Well, it’s my struggle this morning. My pain is back, and yes, I have to admit to discouragement.  As soon as I went back to work, the pain in my back returned very quickly.

Please, if you’ve been praying, continue.  Of course I would love for the pain to release its grip, but even more than that I want to allow the peace of God, that passes all understanding, to fill my mind, heart, and soul. This is temporal (earthly) and temporary. Heaven is  that which is not seen, and heaven is permanent.

All these scriptures today are more for my own attitude adjustment than they are for you 🙂


Peace Like a River

Isaiah 48:18-19.

18 O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

19 Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before Me.

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The Mississippi River starts in the state where I’ve lived, off and on, through my growing up and early marriage years.  In central-northern Minnesota, there is a lake from which the mighty Mississippi springs. Lake Itasca.  The very beginning of the river is so narrow that one can easily jump across it. But it gathers other waters as it flows, and by the time it reaches Minneapolis and St. Paul, there’s certainly no more jumping it.

The river flows deep and wide in many places, and is still a busy traffic route . Generally, it’s a peaceful river. It can become dangerous, but only rarely, as it flows down toward the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s the river I think of when I hear the song Peace Like a River. 

Again, I can almost hear the anguish in the voice of God when He says to His people,  “O, that you had listened to Me, and obeyed Me, you could have peace like a wide river, and your righteousness could have been like easy, gentle waves on the ocean. Your children would be as numerous as grains of sand. They would not have been cut off from the blessings of God if only they had been obedient to God.

Still, there is always a remnant. Even after the Holocaust, there was still a remnant left in countries that had suffered almost complete decimation of the Jewish population. God has always preserved His people, according to His promises, because He loves them, and He has a purpose for them.

Obedience is always the pathway to blessing with God.

Sovereign, Comforter, Redeemer

Isaiah 48:16-17.

16 Come ye near unto

me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent Me.

17 Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

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There are many references all through scripture that mention the three who are part of what we refer to as the Trinity.  While it is true that the actual word trinity is not used in scripture, the concept shows up very early, starting in Genesis 1:1.  “In the beginning, GOD. . . .”  in which the word GOD is Elohim, the plural form of the word. Singular is El or Eloah. However, even though Elohim is plural, it governs a singular verb.  There really is no good way to translate this into English, but for the purposes of illustration, in English we would say He (singular)  is;  They are.  But in Hebrew,  the usage is They (plural, Elohim) is (singular).  They is  would sound very strange to us, but understanding this point of grammar is helpful in understanding the plurality of God.

I say all that to help clarify our passage for today, because a literary term, point of view, changes in verse 16.  It changes to the second Person of the Trinity,  the Messiah.

There is no doubt that the speaker in v. 16 is a Divine Person, Who had openly, and not secretly, spoken of the plan to raise up Cyrus, from the beginning. This appears to have been the Messiah Whom God and His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) had sent. Here is a clear reference to the Divine Trinity of separate and distinct persons in the Elohim of Scripture–the Lord God (one Person), the Holy Spirit (another Person), and the Messiah (still another Person) sent by the two–the Lord God and the Holy Spirit.

In verse 17, Redeemer is a title that is used only of Jesus, Messiah, sent by God and the Holy Spirit.

Do I, in my human finite brain, understand how all this can be?  No, not really.  God has said that His ways are above ours, that His thoughts are above ours.  Faith is believing that what God says is true. Someday, I will understand.  For now, I accept by faith that God exists in a realm and in a manner far above, outside, beyond my intellectual understanding.  He is Sovereign, He is the Comforter, He is the Redeemer.

I, Even I, Have Spoken

Isaiah 48:14-15.

14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The Lord hath loved him: He will do His pleasure on Babylon, and His arm shall be on the Chaldeans.

15 I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.

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It’s always a good idea to figure out all the pronouns in a passage like this. One of the reasons I always try to remember to capitalize any pronoun referring to God is that it helps us know when He is speaking.  For the rest of the pronouns in these verses, we need to understand that there is reference to Cyrus here, repeating a prophecy made earlier that God would life Cyrus up to conquer Babylon.  Again, I’m not a Hebrew scholar.  I have to depend on those who are, and I have found no disagreement among the three sources I use most often.  So let me see if I can clarify what is going on here.

God said, “All ye (Israel), assemble yourselves, and hear.”  Then He asks again, “Which of your idols has told you all these things that will happen?”

Then He changes His direction. “The Lord hath loved Cyrus. Cyrus will do God’s will on Babylon, and Cyrus will destroy the Chaldeans.  I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called Cyrus, I have brought Cyrus to do my work, and Cyrus will have success.”

Now, it is noticeable that part of this prophecy is in the future tense and part in the past; but in reality every detail pertained to the future, it being uttered about 200 years before its fulfillment (Ezra 1:1-6). God had already predicted the destruction of Babylon by Cyrus on several occasions before this, but here He spoke as if He had already loved Cyrus,  called him, and brought him.



Listen to Me!

Isaiah 48:12-13

12 Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He; I am the First, I also am the Last.

13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

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Can you hear the pleading in the voice of God?  He shouldn’t have to remind His people over and over again that He is Who He says He is!  He has shown them mercy so many times, and still they are tempted away into worldliness and idolatry. The history of Israel is a recording of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God Who walked them out of bondage in Egypt and preserved them countless times from the hands of their enemies. So many miracles, so many times they returned to Him only to repeat the cycle over and over again.

I particularly love verse 13.  It’s almost as if He were saying,  “Pay attention!  Have you forgotten that I AM has made the foundations of the earth and rolled out the heavens! My creation has not forgotten Me!  When I call on them,  they stand at attention!”

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll probably say it again and again as we continue through the book of Isaiah:  I am amazed, humbled, and awed at what a mighty God we serve.  This book is so rich in His love and mercy, and even as He promises judgment, He allows for repentance and reconciliation.

We need to pay attention, too.