Summary: The servant who will bring justice to the nations.
I really enjoy DESIGN and construction. Civil Engineering. Lost assignment (but don’t tell the outcome). I know that when we build a home there are THREE things needed: foundation, brick walls and a roof. Just can’t have a house with foundation, walls and a roof.
Here’s a picture (slide—house). A FOUNDATION on its own makes no sense. WALLS on their own make no sense. A ROOF lying on the ground makes no sense.
The Bible is assembled like a HOME (click mouse).
There is a foundation—there are the walls and there is the roof. The first five books are like the FOUNDATION and the rest of the Old Testament is like the WALLS on the slab. And the New Testament is like the ROOF over the building.
So any one passage is supported by the rest of the building around it.
As we come to look at the Servant Songs in Isaiah (click mouse), we are looking at one particular PART of the building. Isaiah is about TWO-THIRDS of the way up the wall. To understand the Servant Songs, we need to look DOWN at the foundation, we must to look at the SONGS themselves, and we need to look UP to Jesus. But I hope you can see that we cannot get by without the Old Testament.
Graeme GOLDSWORTHY makes these comments (slide):
If God gave us sixty-six books by which to know him, his will, and our salvation; who are we to say that we can discard the first thirty-nine of them?
If we ignore the foundations laid [in the Old Testament] we will almost certainly end up with a superficial, even distorted, view of who and what Jesus claimed to be and do.
Goldsworthy reminds us that Isaiah is a book which HELPS us understand Jesus. Today we want to understand Jesus from the POINT of view of the Servant Songs. It’s a worthwhile exercise, so don’t tune out! For we CAN’T really appreciate who Jesus is, and all that he is DONE for us, unless we read our Old Testament with understanding. Let’s ask God to help us right now (remove slide).
‘Our Heavenly Father, unless we read your Word enlightened by your Spirit, it falls on deaf ears. Thankyou that you wrote your Word for us. Please help us to understand and apply those lesser known parts of the Scriptures. As we come to the Servant Songs, we pray that you will enrich our understanding of Jesus. Help us to see him with richer clarity. Challenge us to live each day with Jesus as our King. Amen’.
At FOUNDATION level is Moses who is described at least EIGHTY-FIVE times in the Old Testament as ‘the SERVANT of God’. What did God call Moses to do? What sought of servant is Moses? He is a servant whom God used to DELIVER his people.
Moses delivered his people by leading them out of SLAVERY in Egypt. Then he led the people to Mt Sinai where the law (the tôrâ) was mediated through him. This LAW was intended to bring God’s JUSTICE (mišpāṭ) to the people. Then Moses led the people through the WILDERNESS to the edge of the Promised Land. God’s people living in God’s place under God’s rule.
The word tôrâ means ‘law’ and we NORMALLY think of the ten commandments. But tôrâ is much wider: it refers to every WORD which instructs us HOW to live in relationship with God. Think just not ten commandments, but the WHOLE of the first five books of the Old Testament. This is the tôrâ which Moses delivered to the people.
The next word is mišpāṭ which means ‘justice’. The law is NOT a collection of random rules. The law brings ‘justice’ to the land—for God is a just God. Indeed, ‘justice’ is very CLOSE to the love and grace of God. When we think of ‘justice’ we often think of PUNISHMENT which happens when the law is broken. This is justice BUT justice also has a positive side. For example, God wants ‘justice for the orphan and the widow, and he shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing’ (Deut 10:18). This is mišpāṭ, this is justice. God’s people living in HARMONY with the character of God.
This world has a skew sense of justice. Abraham LINCOLN once said about a person, ‘He reminds me of the man who murdered both his parents, and then when sentence was about to be pronounced, he pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan’. A strange sense of justice. But the French mathematician PASCAL retorts, ‘Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just’.
Our great and wonderful God brings POWER and justice together in perfect harmony. What God has JUDGED to be right he has taught or given us as law. God is the SOURCE of justice and he GIVES his justice to us. mišpāṭ is God’s decision—God’s judgment on life in this world. What God has DECIDED as just, the servant will bring to his people.