A LIGHT FOR THE NATIONS
Isaiah 49:1-7 - Second Servant Song
1. The universality of His mission (Isaiah 49:1)
The Servant’s appeal to the islands (or coastlands) and “far off people” ultimately embraces the whole world (Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:6). Yet He never loses sight of His call to restore Jacob (Isaiah 49:5).
2. The Servant presents His credentials (Isaiah 49:1; Isaiah 49:3)
The Servant was called from the womb (cf. Jeremiah 1:5), and named before He was born (Matthew 1:21). In Isaiah 49:3 He is named as Israel, yet the New Testament identifies the Servant as Jesus (Matthew 12:14-21; Acts 8:32-35). Our Lord is the ideal which Israel typologically represented.
3. A sharp sword and a polished arrow (Isaiah 49:2)
The Spirit of God endowed the Servant (Isaiah 42:1) with a “sword” which proceeds from His mouth (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 19:15; Revelation 19:21). When Isaiah wrote this passage the words of Jesus were still hidden with God, like a sword which rests in the sheath with His hand upon the handle. Like polished arrows ready in a quiver upon a man’s back, the final word of God was yet to be revealed (Hebrews 1:1-2).
4. The call of the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:4-6)
Christ Jesus was formed to be a servant (Philippians 2:7) to bring Jacob back to God. Yet His work with Israel seemed to be in vain. Salvation must first reach the ends of the earth, but God has not forgotten His ancient people (Romans 11:12; Romans 11:15; Romans 11:25-26). They shall behold the one whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10), but meantime our Lord is given as a light to lighten the Gentiles (Luke 2:32).
5. The vindication of God’s servants (Isaiah 49:7)
In Isaiah 49:7 there are two voices: the LORD, and His Holy One. The words are addressed to the faithful remnant who, like Jesus, are despised of men (Isaiah 53:3), and abhorred by the nation. They are chosen of God, but for now they are in servitude to the rulers of this earth. Yet, in time, Kings and princes shall arise and worship because of the faithfulness of Israel’s covenant God.
When we (like Jesus) rest in the LORD (Isaiah 49:4), we too shall be exalted (Isaiah 49:5).