1: 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. 2: 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; 3: And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. 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. 5: 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. 6: 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. 7: 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. 8: 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; 9: That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. 10: They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. 11: And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. 12: Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. 13: Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. 14: But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 15: Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16: Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. 17: Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee. 18: Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth. 19: For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away. 20: The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. 21: Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? 22: Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. 23: And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. 24: Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? 25: But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. 26: And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
1: Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away. 2: Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. 3: I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. 4: The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. 5: The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 6: I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7: For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 8: He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9: Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up. 10: Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. 11: Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.
Today we are reading Isaiah 49 & 50. In Isaiah 49 we have the beginning of a section that goes from here all the way to the end of the book. And it describes Messiah’s mission and ultimate triumph. From v1-12 Isaiah speaks of The Messiah – Christ himself, his call, his formation and his being given. Chapter 49 are the words of Christ himself and he is calling to those who are from afar. He says the LORD called me from the womb and from my mothers belly (Mary) he spoke my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword and he hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me to be like a special polished arrow and he hid me in his quiver. He said to me you are my servant Israel. (Christ takes the name Israel to himself which means Prince of God) And he says in you I will be glorified. Then Christ says I have laboured for nothing but I commit all I have done to the LORD. Christ’s ministry appeared to be unsuccessful in that his own people received him not and rejected him. Then Christ says even though Israel is not gathered to me, I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD and God will be my strength. Then the LORD spoke to him saying it is a small thing to raise up the tribes of Israel and restore the preserved of Israel, so I will give you to be a light to the Gentiles (See Simeon) that you may be the Saviour of all the earth. The LORD and his Christ who is despised and who the nation hates, speaks to the servant of rulers, Kings will see and arise and princes will worship because the LORD is faithful and he has chosen his Holy One. The LORD says, In an acceptable time I have heard you and in the day of salvation have I helped you and I will preserve you and give you in covenant to all the people of the earth, to establish the earth and to bring blessing in the inheritance of even the desolate places. You will release the prisoners held in darkness. They will be fed and they will be blessed. The sun will not smite them by day and the Lords anointed will lead them by springs of water. He will open a way through the mountains. And they will come from afar from the north and west. From v13-26 Isaiah speaks of the reconciliation and restoration of Zion and its enlargement. The heavens will sing and the earth will be filled with joy and break into singing because the Lord has comforted his people. Yet Zion will be cast down in despondency, saying the LORD has forsaken us. The Lord answers them saying, can a woman forget her sucking baby? Yes perhaps she could forget, yet I will not forget you. I have inscribed your names on the palms of my hands. I will gather you and there will not be enough room, so neighbouring lands will give space for you. The Gentiles will carry you home in their arms and your daughters will be riding on their shoulders. Kings will be your nursing fathers and queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down to the earth to honour you, they will lick the dust of your feet and you will know that I am LORD and you will not be ashamed of me. You will even be delivered from captivity because I will contend with your captors. I will save your children. I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh and they will be drunken in their own blood. All flesh will know that I the LORD am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. (Now tell me that there is no future for Israel!) Isaiah speaks in ch 50 describing the Breach that had separated God with his people Israel. and it was their sin – which is now healed by Messiah. V1-3 he describes the Sin. The LORD says, Where is the bill of divorcement, of your mother - who I put away? And to which is my creditors have I sold you? The Lord is saying, I never divorced you or sold you. It is your sins that sold you and it is your transgressions that divorced you. When I came to you none answered me. Now, is my hand shortened that it cannot reach out and redeem you? Am I helpless to deliver you? Look, at my rebuke I dry up the sea. I turn rivers into desert and the fish stink. I pull a curtain over the heavens. The LORD has given me the language of the educated so that I know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. The weary man wakes every day to listens to me and to learn from me. (the preachers text) The LORD opened my hear to him and I never rebelled against his direction or refused his path. I gave my back to the torturers and gave my cheeks to those who plucked out my beard. I did not hide from shame and spitting because the Lord GOD helped me so that I would never be conquered. I set my face like a flint in my determination. God is near to vindicate me, so who will contend with me? (The apologists text) Let us stand together, who will stand against me? let him stand forth. (The Christian Soldiers text) Look, the Lord GOD will be my helper so who will condemn me? They will all wax old like an old overcoat and the moths will eat holes in it. Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant (Christ) That walks in darkness. Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rest upon his God. You that light a fire and surround yourselves in sparks and walk in the light of the fire that you have lit, You will lie down in sorrow.