Summary: Jesus seems discouraged in His conversation with the LORD. God's answer shows us the light.
1.19.20 Isaiah 49:1-7
Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.
2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.
3 He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
4 But I said, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.
Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”
5 And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength—
6 he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
7 This is what the LORD says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers:
“Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down,
because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
Now listen to me. You say that to someone when you really want them to pay attention. Jesus is speaking to us through the prophet Isaiah, seven hundred years before He took on flesh. This was important for the Israelites to hear, but also for us. He specifically mentions the “islands” and the “distant nations.” It goes to show that the Old Testament wasn’t only written for the Jews. This is a universal book that we need to listen to. It contains divine revelation that God says, “You need to hear this if you want to see the Light!”
What do we need to hear? God’s servant has been called and is being prepared for battle. God had planned for this long before it ever happened. He exists prior to becoming human through the virgin Mary, and He is going to be called Jesus, which means “the Lord saves.” He is going to come to this earth and make war.
God pictures Himself as a warrior ready for battle, and He has some hidden weapons He is ready to fire. You think of the sword that was carried in the sheath. The handle usually would stick out, but His hand was over the handle so it couldn’t be seen. He is ready for direct combat, but He is also ready for long distance combat as well. He has arrows concealed in his quiver. They would come out in 700 years.
The weapons are connected with His mouth and not with His hands. His words would cut. This reminds us of what God says about His Word in Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Jesus had a way of cutting through people to get to the heart of the matter.
the Samaritan woman wanted to get into an argument about Jewish vs. Samaritan religion. Jesus pointed out by revelation that she had been living in five adulterous relationships in order to get her to repent, and then pointed her to Himself as the Messiah. (John 4)
the people of Nazareth started to reject Him because of their familiarity with Him in growing up there. So Jesus told them about how God rejected the Jews and sent Elijah to a widow at Zarephath - a Gentile - because of their unbelief - similar to what the people of Nazareth were doing. (Luke 4)
he never held back against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. When they tried to condemn him for healing a man on the Sabbath, he called them out for saying it was ok to rescue a donkey from a ditch on a Sabbath, as if donkeys were more important than humans. (Luke 14:5)
The point I’m making is that His words stung people, and they sting us too. In the Sermon on the Mount He took the Law to the extreme when He said that people’s righteousness had to surpass that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law if they wanted to get to heaven. (Matthew 5:20) He didn’t mess around with nice little rules and regulations on how to be a better sinner. He called the whole world wicked and under the control of the evil one. Again, He did this in order to get people to repent and look to HIM as their Savior. God’s design was that Jesus would stand out as THE Light in a sin darkened world. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”