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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 42

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-25

  1. Intro:
    1. Outline: The Servant; The Song; The Sight; The Sin.
    2. Open with Mt.12:14-21.
  2. The Servant; The Song; The Sight; The Sin! (1-12)
    1. THE SERVANT! (1-9)
    2. My Servant! (1) – Jesus.
      1. This is the 1st of 4 Servant Songs in Isaiah (referring to Messiah).
      2. Context denotes if it is Messiah, Israel, or the Remnant.
      3. Vs.1-4 show the Messiah’s manifestation, mission, method, & His might.
    3. What he doesn’t do! (2-4)
      1. Doesn’t cry out, nor raise his voice, nor is heard in public! (2)
        1. Mt.12:16
      2. Doesn’t crush the weak! (3a)
        1. He’s so patient & merciful!
        2. Never an excuse to kick a man when he is down. Rather, we are to extend the hand of mercy to anyone who is in trouble.
      3. A “smoking flax” applies to Christ but has a lesson for all believers. They used a simple oil lamp to light their homes. It was a small clay vessel with the front end pinched together to form an opening. A piece of flax, serving as the wick, was inserted through the small hole until part of it was submerged in the oil. When the flax was saturated, it could be lighted. It would then burn with a soft, warm glow. But when the oil in the lamp was consumed, the flax would dry out. If it was ignited again, it would give off an acrid, dirty smoke, making the vessel offensive and useless. Now, you might think that the only thing to do would be to crush and discard the wick. But that would accomplish nothing. If you simply refill the lamp, the wick could burn brightly again.Occasionally God’s people temporarily “run out of oil.” They become like the smoking flax because they are ill-tempered and offensive. But fellow believers should not abandon them or become angry and impatient with them. Rather, they should seek to restore them by being merciful and understanding. By supporting them with prayer and expressions of concern, they can help them burn again with the soft, warm glow of Christian love.
      4. ​​​​​​​Q: Has your love become like a smoldering wick, going out?
      5. Q: Is it difficult to get your heart ignited again?
      6. Q: Is it hard to keep it aglow?
      7. Q: And how do you respond to those whose wick is going out?
      8. Its’ a note of Gentleness here like – 2 Tim.2:24-26 “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil...”
        1. As Christians, we should always have Bold Gentleness & Gentle Boldness!
      9. A Bruised Reed – you want to prop up, support it, till it regains strength.
        1. Example flowering plant in my backyard. (caged it in & propped it up)
        2. Your heart might be a bruised Reed because of unkindness of another,…or by a sense of sin in your life.
      10. Q: Has God led anybody to you lately that needs propping up?
      11. Doesn’t fail, & isn’t discouraged! (4a)
      12. Fail – He will not fail, the church will not fail, nor shall we!
      13. Nor be Discouraged – A certain society in South Africa once wrote to David Livingstone, "Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to send other men to join you." Livingstone replied, "If you have men who will come ONLY if they know there is a good road, I don't want them."
      14. Doesn’t stop until truth & righteousness prevail! (3b)
    4. What he does do! (2-4)
      1. Does act with gentleness! (2,3)
      2. Does bring Justice to all! (3b)
        1. Justice & liberation do go together!
      3. Does bring in a reign of righteousness! (4b)
    5. The Messiah’s Assurance! (5-9)
      1. (5) God the Father Himself guarantees all of the above!
      2. (6) He is called, held, kept, & given…& all for the purposes of deliverance!
      3. (7) Jesus never released anyone from a literal prison in his ministry, and even allowed John the Baptist to suffer in one!
        1. But there was much spiritual liberation & people released from many prisons.
      4. (8) Ultimate purpose?…the Glory of Yahweh!
    6. THE SONG! (10-12)
    7. The Singers! (10-12)
      1. All creatures on earth all called to praise God.
    8. The Song! (13-17)
      1. Praise Him for what? 2 things:
      2. [1] Defeating His enemies(13-15)
        1. The silent God will finally break the silence to become a shouting conqueror.
        2. The Master is a Servant & the Servant is a Master!
        3. In (Rev.5:5,6) we have a Lamb that is a Lion; in (7:17) we have a Lamb that is a Shepherd; & in between (6:16) we have the Wrath of the Lamb.
      3. [2] Delivering His people(16,17).
        1. A Seeing Eye God!
        2. The Father’s holding the Son’s hand, & He’s holding ours!
        3. At times when: the Lord is silent; the world around you is evil; bad men prosper; society lies under the spell of vice; you need to remember…it is only temporary!
        4. Then, God comes forth out of the silence, & shows Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.
        5. He brings the blind, “by a way they did not know”.
        6. He makes “crooked paths straight.”
    9. THE SIGHT! (18-20)
    10. Sightless! (18-20)
      1. The “servant” in these verses is Israel(see 41:8), blind to their own sins & deaf to God’s voice.
        1. Thus they were incapable of being God’s light to the nations.
        2. They would not listen or see what God does.
      2. The famous blind songwriter Fanny Crosby wrote more than 8,000 songs. When Fanny was only 6 weeks old a minor eye inflammation developed. The doctor who treated the case was careless, though, and she became totally and permanently blind.Fanny Crosby harbored no bitterness against the physician. She once said of him, "If I could meet him now, I would say thank you, over and over again for making me blind." She felt that her blindness was a gift from God to help her write the hymns that flowed from her pen. According to those who knew her, MissCrosby probably would have refused treatment even if it could have assured the restoration of her sight.
      3. It was said of blind hymnwriter, George Matheson, that God made him blind so he could see clearly in other ways and become a guide to men.
    11. James Packer, in his excellent book, Knowing God, writes: Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives. As it would be cruel to an Amazonian tribesman to fly him to London, put him down without explanation in Trafalgar Square and leave him, as one who knew nothing of English or England, to fend for himself, so we are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life with it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know God. Disregard the study of God and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.
    12. THE SIN! (21-25)
    13. They were robbed, enslaved, & imprisoned.
    14. (25) How sad it is when God disciplines us & we do not understand what he is doing or even take it to heart!
      1. The children of Israel were cured from idolatry, but it did not create w/in them a desire to please God or glorify Him.
      2. That’s why so many have gotten so defeated at Christianity. We often have portrayed it as giving up sins!
        1. They gave it up & viola…nothing happened!
        2. Giving up sins is a result of true salvation, but not the reason!
        3. Painting the outside of a water hand pump doesn’t make the dirty water any sweeter!
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Isaiah 42". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/isaiah-42.html. 2017.
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