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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Isaiah 49

Verses 1-26

Chapter 49

Now in chapter 49, we have a fabulous prophecy of Jesus Christ in the first seven verses as God speaks of the Redeemer that He is sending.

Listen, O coasts, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; For the LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. 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 ( Isaiah 49:1-2 );

You go back to Psalms 22:1-31 , that glorious prophetic Messianic psalm of David, and we read there in Psalms 22:1-31 verse Isaiah 49:8 , or no, verse Isaiah 49:9 : "But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly" ( Psalms 22:9-10 ). And that is the equivalent here to, "Thou hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hast thou made mention of my name. You have made my mouth like a sharp sword." We are told that the word the goes forth out of his mouth is like a sharp, two-edged sword--Revelation. "In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me."

And he said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel ( Isaiah 49:3 ),

And in this Israel is the true name expressed. That is in Christ, he was a man who was governed by God.

in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have labored in vain ( Isaiah 49:3-4 ),

"For He came to His own, His own received Him not" ( John 1:11 ). He was despised and rejected. He was crucified. He said, "I have labored in vain."

I have spent my strength for nothing, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God ( Isaiah 49:4 ).

As they rejected Him, as they despised Him, His coming to them was in vain.

And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him ( Isaiah 49:5 ),

The purpose of Jesus Christ was to bring Jacob back to God, back to the Father, and to restore the preserved of Israel. "I will also give thee." Beg your pardon, I jumped.

Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that you should 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 eaRuth ( Isaiah 49:5-6 ).

And so Jesus, who was rejected by the Jews, has become a light unto the Gentiles, and the gospel of Jesus Christ has come unto us who were once alienated from God and far off from the promises. But through Him, we've been brought nigh. Oh, thank God for the light of Jesus Christ unto the Gentiles.

Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despised, to him whom the nation abhorred, 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 ( Isaiah 49:7 ).

So the work of Christ among the Gentiles, the kings worshipping and so forth as the gospel of Jesus Christ has permeated many kingdoms of the Gentiles. Now even so, God is going to preserve the people of Israel.

Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in the 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; That you may say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in the high places. 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 ( Isaiah 49:8-10 ).

This brings to mind in Revelation chapter 7, "And they shall hunger and thirst no more and neither shall the sun shine upon them and all." And it is equivalent to Revelation 7:16 .

And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of [China] Sinim ( Isaiah 49:11-12 ).

Is the land of the east.

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. But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me ( Isaiah 49:13-14 ).

Now He speaks here about the fact that He's going to bring them back again. He'll gather them from the north and from the west and from the east. And yet they are going to say, "The Lord has forsaken me." And you go today and the declaration of so many Jews is, "Where was God during the Holocaust? God has forsaken us." And they are still proclaiming that God has forsaken them. But God said,

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? well, they may forget, but I will not forget thee ( Isaiah 49:15 ).

They accused God of forsaking them. God said, "No way. I haven't forgotten you. Can a nursing mother forget her nursing child?"

You remember in Psalms 137:1-9 is the psalm of Babylonian captivity, "When we were in Babylon by the rivers we sat down. We wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps on the willows in the midst thereof. And they that had carried us away captive said, 'Sing us one of your songs.' And they required some happy songs from us saying, 'Sing one of the songs of Zion.' But how shall we sing the Lord's songs in a strange land?" ( Psalms 137:1-4 ) Now some of the old rabbis say that the next two verses are God's response to this cry. And that it was actually God who declared, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy" ( Psalms 137:4-6 ). And some of the old rabbis say that that is God speaking there in response to the people who were captives in Babylon, who said, "God has forgotten us. God has forsaken us." And, of course, here God said, "Can a mother forsake her or forget her nursing child? She would not have compassion, well she might. But I won't forget." You might find case where you say, "Well, there's a mother forgot." God says, "It's all right, but I still won't."

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Your children shall make haste; your destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee. 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. 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. 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. 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? ( Isaiah 49:16-21 )

So he speaks about them coming into the land and being prospered and the land being too small for them and their desire to extend and expand their borders.

Now the regathering and the rebuilding of the nation Israel has been a very remarkable thing in our days. And God's purposes are to be fulfilled there. It's exciting, because God fulfilled His promise. He's brought them back in the land. They are dwelling there. But they are seeking to expand. They say, "The area that we have is too small." And if you look at it, it is a very small area. Not much. Well, actually, you can drive from one side of Israel to the other in two hours; you can drive from one end to the other in six hours. Gives you the idea of the size of Israel. It's two hours wide and six hours long driving in a car. But it's about 5,800 years deep. The history that is there in the land goes back.

Now there are those who see an interesting scenario arising in the Middle East right now. I've heard some Bible scholars suggest the possibility and some analysts, and I've talked to some Israelis who have suggested also the possibility, that the next outbreak of warfare over there in the Middle East, that Israel plans for it to be the last outbreak by so thoroughly defeating all of those who have risen against them that they will not be able to rise against them again. They intend to thoroughly thrash their enemies. All of the Arab states that have been giving them such a bad time, they are planning to go full on against the Arab world. And a part of their plan, very shrewd indeed, is to take Saudi Arabia and immediately cut the price of oil in half. And who in the world would object? That's pretty smart. You see, our world problems today, especially the problem of starving, the great starvation that is coming in the third world is all the result of the increased oil prices. The whole problem that we're having here with inflation, our whole problem of economy is based to the increased oil prices. That's where it all comes from.

Now the byproducts of the oil, the fertilizers and the chemical fertilizers that help grow the crops have become so expensive that your food bill has gone up tremendously. The whole inflationary cycle can be placed on the increased oil prices. And it is a thing that is actually causing millions of people to starve to death in the third world. Because they do not have the economic base to afford the worldwide inflation that has ensued from the increased oil prices. Now those men in Libya, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, they could care less what havoc they've wrecked upon the world. And when the Israelis go in and take the oil and cut the prices in half, everybody is going to hail them as the heroes, because suddenly this whole problem of world economy is going to be reversed. Price of gasoline will go down, price of raw materials will go down. The whole thing comes back to the oil. So it's a wise plan, and who's going to object?

So God speaks here that they're going to say, "Hey, we need to expand our borders. There's not enough room." The land will be too narrow for you by reason of the inhabitants.

Thus saith the Lord GOD ( Isaiah 49:22 ),

Now God here speaks of the judgment He's going to bring on their oppressors.

Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring their sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. 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 ( Isaiah 49:22-23 ).

The glorious day of Israel's future when the kings of the earth come and pay their homage year by year.

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? 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 contends with you, and I will save thy children ( Isaiah 49:24-25 ).

God is saying, "I'll fight with those that fight with you." So any nation or any people that opposes the Jews is not just contending with a race of people. They are contending with the eternal God of heaven.

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 ( Isaiah 49:26 ).

The whole world will know it, and of course, God tells us in that day that He destroys the invading Russian army with her allies shall the whole world know that I am God. And I'll be sanctified before the nations of the earth.


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 49". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.