Summary: God shows his wondrous love and provision through His 1)Covenant (Isaiah 49:8-10), 2) Care (Isaiah 49:11-14), and 3) Compassion (Isaiah 49:15-16)
Each year, from November 5 to 11, Canadians join together to celebrate Veterans’ Week. During this week, hundreds of commemorative ceremonies and events will take place across the country to remember and recognize the achievements of our Veterans and honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Throughout our history, in the face of injustice, Canadians respond. (http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/veterans-week)
As great as the sacrifice and dedication has been, we continue to live in a world with ongoing conflict. People living in impoverished and war torn countries wonder if the world has forgotten them. Canadians still have work to do and therefore, Canada continues to be a force for justice and care.
In the midst of difficulty and perceived failure, when we experience trials and afflictions, we tend to feel that we have been forsaken and forgotten. Life’s trials trouble us and cause us doubt, confusion, and anguish. We ask: “Where is God now when I need him?”...God’s people need to hear the sweet message of God’s love for them as long as they live in the chaos, confusion, and conflict of human history. (Braun, J. A. (2001). Isaiah 40-66. The People’s Bible (180–181). Milwaukee, Wis.: Northwestern Pub. House.).
During the sixth century B.C., God’s people we driven from their homeland and wondered if God forgot about them. Isaiah perceives in the historic liberation of God’s people by Cyrus a model of a greater liberation by the servant of the Lord in this age of gospel fulfillment. We’re no longer waiting for something better. (Ortlund, R. C., Jr, & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Isaiah : God saves sinners. Preaching the Word (327). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.)
God does not forget His people. Now is "The Time of God’s Favor". He shows his wondrous love and provision through His 1)Covenant (Isaiah 49:8-10), 2) Care (Isaiah 49:11-14), and 3) Compassion (Isaiah 49:15-16)
1) God’s Covenant: (Isaiah 49:8-10)
Isaiah 49:8-10 Thus says the LORD: "In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ’Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ’Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.
In verse 8, the meaning of time of favor is based upon the year of Jubilee, described in Leviticus 25:8ff. That time when the captives were freed, and inheritances restored to the rightful tenants under God’s ownership (see also Isa. 62:2) (Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah. Chapters 40-66. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (297). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
• It is that time when God shows favor to His people, namely, the period when Christ was upon earth, the fullness of the times (Gal. 4:4).
God says that in the past: I have answered you. That God has answered here has the sense of respond to with support, as the parallel help shows. This and the preceding parallel verb refer to continuous action rather than to an act performed once for all. The words time and day are significant, for they make clear that God does not act capriciously or haphazardly. At the time determined He performs His work.
In the statement: " in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people," "The Time of God’s Favor" is now explained. Christ himself the very embodiment of God’s pledge of grace to us. He is how God pours out favor upon us and how we are bound to God in return. From the beginning, God has given himself to us through covenants, through formal agreements we can bank on (e.g., Genesis 15). God is not ad-libbing his way along. He has a plan. He is a serious person who takes us seriously but who also knows how weak our faith is. He knows we need the strong assurance that he has given himself to us by oath. This is the way of God. And now Isaiah shows us that Christ is himself God’s covenant with weak people who have failed to keep their end of the bargain. Jesus said at his last supper with his disciples, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Corinthians 11:25) (Ortlund, R. C., Jr, & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Isaiah : God saves sinners. Preaching the Word (327–328). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.).
For the original audience, under the imagery of the restoration of a devastated land, the gift of salvation is described. The description reflects upon the division of the land under Joshua, and leans upon the expressions used in verse 6. To raise up the land has primary reference to the land of Palestine, and the parallel expression desolate heritages/inheritances reflects upon the desolation that has come upon the land of promise. These heritages/inheritances had been distributed by lot under Joshua (cf. Josh. 13ff.). The picture refers primarily to the reestablishment of the Davidic kingdom under the Messiah, when all the true seed of Abraham will receive their promised inheritance.