Pastor Steve Ellison
In our survey of the Bible examining the questions the Creator asks of the creature, we come to a passage that centuries after being written still retains mystery. Isaiah 42 speaks of the servant of YHWH and The Servant of YHWH. For the purpose of this devotional, I am going to approach the passage by considering that the first was the nation of Israel and the latter is Jesus. Many have debated this for centuries without general consensus. In fact, the issues surrounding this have caused many Jews not to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
Isaiah 42 calls attention to God’s people being blind and deaf. No one really sees or hears without the aid of the Lord. That concept is found in both Old and New Testaments. Early in this chapter we find Messianic prophecy concerning the Messiah opening blind eyes and being a light to all nations. Isaiah 42:18-25 records God asking some interesting questions about hearing and seeing; 18 Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see. 19 Who is blind but My servant, Or so deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me, Or so blind as the servant of the Lord? 20 You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; Your ears are open, but none hears. 21 The Lord was pleased for His righteousness’ sake To make the law great and glorious. 22 But this is a people plundered and despoiled; All of them are trapped in caves, Or are hidden away in prisons; They have become a prey with none to deliver them, And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!” 23 Who among you will give ear to this? Who will give heed and listen hereafter? 24 Who gave Jacob up for spoil, and Israel to plunderers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, And in whose ways they were not willing to walk, And whose law they did not obey? (NASU)
Following the Tower of Babel incident which God used to create the nations, He created out of nothing a nation which He would bless so that it could pass the blessing on to the other nations. Israel chose to try to keep the blessing instead of passing it on. God gave them many blessings, but Israel remained blind to the purposes of the blessings. The main blessing mentioned here is the gift of the Law. Israel refused to obey the Law which blinded them and thus they missed the blessings that would have come from obedience. Their disobedience also prevented them from being a blessing to the other nations as God intended.
The moral Law, which serves as a dim transcript of the character and nature of God is still in place. Christians’ refusal to acknowledge and obey God’s moral law prevents us from seeing and being blessed. Our disobedience hampers our efforts to evangelize the lost and be a blessing to them as God intends. Verse twenty-five closes the passage with an eye-opening, terrifying warning, So He poured out on him the heat of His anger And the fierceness of battle; And it set him aflame all around, Yet he did not recognize it; And it burned him, but he paid no attention. (NASU) The servant of the Lord, be it Israel, the Church, you, or me, would be wise to heed the warning. Our disobedience has set us aflame. We fail to see or hear or understand the flame. We are burned and are more inclined to blame God than to repent of ignoring the gift of the Law to which obedience would have prevented our misfortune.