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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 42

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-25

Chapter 42

Now God speaks of another servant. This is His righteous servant, even Jesus Christ. And now Isaiah begins to prophesy concerning Christ, the servant of God.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth ( Isaiah 42:1 );

You remember when Jesus was baptized that there came the voice from heaven saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him" ( Matthew 17:5 ). God declares, "In whom my soul delights."

I have put my Spirit upon him ( Isaiah 42:1 ):

And at the time of the baptism, you remember the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended as a dove and lighted upon Him and the voice of the Father said, "This is My beloved Son." But here's a prophecy of the baptism of Jesus and those events that would take place. "My servant, in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him."

he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles ( Isaiah 42:1 ).

So the gospel coming unto the Gentiles through Jesus Christ is predicted.

He will not cry, nor lift up, his voice to be heard in the street ( Isaiah 42:2 ).

Israel, which at the time of His coming was,

A bruised reed will he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: till he bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he has set judgment in the earth: and the coast shall wait for his law ( Isaiah 42:3-4 ).

Now we are told that Jesus is sitting there at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the kingdom to be given unto Him. In Hebrews it said, "God has put all things in subjection under Him. But we do not yet see all things in subjection unto Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor" ( Hebrews 2:8-9 ). Waiting until the kingdom really will be given unto Him, until this expectation is fulfilled. So God's promise that He has set Him for judgment in the earth.

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; he that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein ( Isaiah 42:5 ):

God declaring now Himself. As Francis Schaeffer said the time has come when we shouldn't just speak of God, because there are so many different gods the people worship. Or people have so many different concepts of God that when you talk about God, unless you define the god that you are talking about, they really don't know who you are talking about. So we need to define God as the eternal, living God who created the heavens and the earth. Well, it is interesting when God defines Himself He goes a little bit further. "He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and all that comes out of it; He that gives breath to the people upon it."

You remember when Daniel came in to Belshazzar, who had ordered that the golden vessels that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought in that they might drink their wine out of those vessels that had been dedicated unto God's service. And as they were drinking the wine, the handwriting came on the wall and his knees began to smote one against another. We're going to have a prophecy of this, of his knees here in Isaiah when we get to chapter 45 tonight. He prophesies this guy's knees shaking. And Daniel said... The fingers of the hand appeared and the writing on the wall, and the king called for the counselors to interpret and none of them could. So the queen mother said, "Well, there's a man in the kingdom from among the Jews and God has given to him wisdom in the time of your grandfather. He told of dreams and visions." And so they called Daniel in and Daniel gave a lecture to Belshazzar before he interpreted the writing. He said, "When your father was really nothing, God raised him up and gave him this great kingdom of Babylon. And when he exalted his heart against God, God allowed him the madness and he lived like an animal until seven seasons had passed over. Then God restored the kingdom and his sanity to him. But this God," he said, "you have not glorified. And the God in whose very hand your breath is." And that was the indictment against him. Here he had been taking his breath from God and yet using that breath to profane God. But God in whose very hand...

Did you ever realize how totally dependent you are upon God? And here God declares the dependency of man. "I've created all of the things that are in the earth. In fact, I've given breath to them all."

I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and to them that sit in darkness out of the prison house ( Isaiah 42:6-7 ).

When Paul was talking to Agrippa, and more or less giving his defense before king Agrippa, in Acts chapter 26 beginning with verse Isaiah 42:17 , Paul declared to Agrippa how that the Lord had appeared unto him and said unto him that he had sent Paul. "Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and the inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" ( Acts 26:17-18 ). Paul's commission from the Lord was to go to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, to turn them from their darkness to the light of God, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive the forgiveness of their sins. And so Paul is really taking a part out of Isaiah here where God speaks of Him going to set His people as a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners from the prison, and those that sit in darkness out of the prison house. To deliver us from that prison of sin, that power that sin has upon a person's life.

I am the LORD; that is ( Isaiah 42:8 )

I am. And, of course, you've got to really translate. I mean, you've got to. I am Yahweh or Yahovah, whatever the pronunciation is.

That is my name ( Isaiah 42:8 ):

You see, LORD in all capitals is not a title. In the New Testament the term Lord is a title. It is the Greek word kurios. But in the Old Testament, there is adonahai, the Hebrew which is a title, Lord. And when you find that, it is capital "L," small o-r-d. But when the name of God, the Yahweh, the consonants Y-H-V-H which are in the text, that stands for the name of God. And only the consonants were written so a man would not pronounce the name in his mind. But God declares, "I am Yahweh. That is My name."

and my glory will I not give to another, and neither will I give praise to graven images ( Isaiah 42:8 ).

Now this is heavy-duty stuff. And anyone, anyone who ever seeks to serve God and to minister for God must remember that God will not give His glory to another. There are many people who seek to bring glory to themselves in their service to God. "Let your light," Jesus said, "so shine before men, that when they see your good works, they glorify your Father which is in heaven" ( Matthew 5:16 ). We must take care that we do not serve God in such a way as to bring personal glory or honor to ourselves. And that is a constant danger because of our flesh which delights in glory and recognition and fame and honor. But God said, "I will not give My glory to another." And the minute we start taking God's glory for ourselves, we're in big trouble with God.

"I will not give it to another, neither My praise to graven images." God really takes off on the images that these people were making. The likenesses and the stupidity of making their own gods. How it is so totally illogical for a man to make his own god, and you'll get into that pretty soon.

He said,

Behold, the former things are come to pass, and the new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them ( Isaiah 42:9 ).

This was what He was challenging the other gods to do. But He said, "I'm doing it. I've told you of the former things and I'm declaring to you things before they ever happen."

Sing unto the LORD a new song, sing his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the coast, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock [that is, Petras] sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the coast. For the LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies ( Isaiah 42:10-13 ).

Now in many places in the Old Testament, there is a reference to the Lord when He comes in His glory roaring like a lion. This is one of them. "He shall cry, yea, He'll roar like a lion roaring over its prey that it has subdued." And in Revelation, chapter 10, the description of the coming again of Jesus Christ, it said, "And He shall roar as a lion" ( Revelation 10:3 ). So I am so anxious to hear that roar. The next reference in the Old Testament Isa 25:30 ,but all the way through the Old Testament there are many references and we'll follow them through as we go through this time. This is one of the first of them.

I have held my peace for a long time; I have been still, I have refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once ( Isaiah 42:14 ).

How patient God has been as He allowed the earth to go on in this condition since Christ, 2,000 years almost. God said, "I've held My peace for a long time." I've wondered how God could hold His peace for so long. I wondered how God could let things go by. He said, "I've been still; I've refrained Myself." But now the time has come.

I will make waste mountains and hills, I will dry up their vegetables; I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and the crooked things straight ( Isaiah 42:15-16 ).

Notice the desolation will come before the rebuilding.

You remember when God commissioned Jeremiah to prophesy. God said to Jeremiah that, "I have called thee to root out, to pull down, to destroy, to throw down, to build, and to plant" ( Jeremiah 1:10 ). You see, sometimes things get so corrupt, before you can build you just got to wipe out what's there. And so with Jeremiah. The nation had become so corrupt. He had to root out, pull down, destroy before he began to build and to plant. Now here again is the same thing. God's judgment is first going to come, making waste the earth in the Great Tribulation period. And then He will begin His work of restoration, opening the eyes of the blind. "Making darkness light before them, straightening the crooked paths."

These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in their graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but my servant? ( Isaiah 42:16-19 )

Israel was so blind to the things of God. And Jesus said, "Well did Isaiah the prophet testify of you, saying, 'Having eyes to see, you will not see; having ears to hear, you will not hear'" ( Matthew 13:14 ). God's nation, God's people were blind when the Messiah came. They did not recognize Him. It said, "He came to His own, and His own received Him not" ( John 1:11 ). And Jesus spoke of their blindness to them. "Who is blind, but my servant?"

or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant? Seeing many things, but you don't observe them; opening your ears, but yet you're not hearing. The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable. But this is a people that are robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? ( Isaiah 42:19-24 )

Who turned the nation over?

did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he didn't lay it up to heart ( Isaiah 42:24-25 ).

And so they were destroyed. They were driven out of the land. And yet they didn't consider that it was because of their rejection of God's promised Messiah that these things came upon them. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 42". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/isaiah-42.html. 2014.
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