Isaiah 42:1–25 (NKJV)
42:1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
4 He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”
This passage refers to the coming ruler who will execute justice on the earth. Those oppressed shall be made free, and those who are injured or downtrodden will not be destroyed, but rather restored by the hand of the Servant.
5 Thus says God the LORD,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
7 To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.
8 I am the LORD, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Continuing the theme of the righteous Servant, God declares that He will release prisoners from their prisons, and shine a light even on the Gentiles. He will be the Lord and no other can take His name.
10 Sing to the LORD a new song,
And His praise from the ends of the earth,
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
You coastlands and you inhabitants of them!
11 Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice,
The villages that Kedar inhabits.
Let the inhabitants of Sela sing,
Let them shout from the top of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the LORD,
And declare His praise in the coastlands.
13 The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man;
He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.
He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud;
He shall prevail against His enemies.
Sing the Servant’s praises, all nations and people! He is great, and that will be revealed when He goes forth like a man of war. He will prevail against His enemies and all will praise Him.
14 “I have held My peace a long time,
I have been still and restrained Myself.
Now I will cry like a woman in labor,
I will pant and gasp at once.
15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills,
And dry up all their vegetation;
I will make the rivers coastlands,
And I will dry up the pools.
16 I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have not known.
I will make darkness light before them,
And crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them,
And not forsake them.
17 They shall be turned back,
They shall be greatly ashamed,
Who trust in carved images,
Who say to the molded images,
‘You are our gods.’
The Lord declares that He will destroy areas of vegetation with His voice. After that, He will lead the blind as if the dark is turned to day. Again, He states that those who serve idols will be greatly ashamed.
18 “Hear, you deaf;
And look, you blind, that you may see.
19 Who is blind but My servant,
Or deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as he who is perfect,
And blind as the LORD’s servant?
20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe;
Opening the ears, but he does not hear.”
The Lord declares that many are spiritually deaf and blind, and do not see the truth that God is giving them through the prophet Isaiah. They look and listen, but do not see or hear.
21 The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake;
He will exalt the law and make it honorable.
22 But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”
23 Who among you will give ear to this?
Who will listen and hear for the time to come?
24 Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers?
Was it not the LORD,
He against whom we have sinned?
For they would not walk in His ways,
Nor were they obedient to His law.
25 Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger
And the strength of battle;
It has set him on fire all around,
Yet he did not know;
And it burned him,
Yet he did not take it to heart.
Isaiah then responds himself with a declaration of God’s greatness and sovereignty. Who has put Israel and Judah in traps, allowed them to be robbed and plundered? It was God, against Whom they had sinned. God’s fury and anger has been poured out. The land is set on fire, and the people still, at times, do not realize the error of their ways.
Are we aware of the sins of our nation, our families, even our churches? Are we willing to hear the prophetic voice of God speaking a message to us to repent and be holy? Listen closely and hear His words, for He is speaking!