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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Isaiah 42

 

 

Verses 1-6

Isaiah 42:1. Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

Verily this prophecy is concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Observe the title which he takes. He is called the servant of God. The Father calls him his servant. Above all others is Christ the servant of the Highest deigning to become the servant of servants, though he is the King of kings. “Whom I uphold” — which may be read two ways. According to some renderings it should be, “Whom I lean upon” — as if God leant the full weight of his glory upon Christ, and gave over the work of grace into his hands, that is, if the passage be read passively. If actively, it runs as in our text, “Whom I uphold.” And both are true. God leans upon Christ. Christ draws his strength from God. They co-work, and mutual is the glory. “Mine elect.” That is first. “My choice one,” for there is none so choice as Christ. “My elected one,” for Christ is the head of election. We are chosen in him from before the foundation of the world so that specially does God call him “Mine elect.” “In whom my soul delighteth.” The delight of the Father in the Son is infinite. He delighted in his person. Now he delights in the work which he has accomplished. The delight of the Father is in Christ, and he delights in us because we are in him. If, indeed, we are members of Christ, he is well pleased with us for Christ’s sake. “In whom my soul delighteth.” “I have put my Spirit upon him.” That was publicly done when he was baptized in the Jordan. The Spirit without measure rests and abides on him, our covenant head. “He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Rejoice then, ye Gentiles. You are no longer excluded. At first the word came to the Jews only, but he has given the man, Christ Jesus, who has brought forth judgment to the Gentiles.

Isaiah 42:2-3. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

Jesus was gentle, retiring, meek, quiet. His testimony was a very powerful one, but not a noisy one. He sought no honour among men. He frequently forbade the healed ones to tell of his miracles. He rather retired than came into public notice. He was not contentious. He did not seek to put out the Pharisees, who were like smoking flax. He was never hard towards the tender ones, but always gentle as a nurse among her children. Now it is very often found that, where there is quietness and meekness, there is, nevertheless, great firmness of purpose. Noise and weakness go together, but quietness and strength are frequently combined. So read the next verse.

Isaiah 42:4. He shall not fail He shall not faint.

So it may be.

Isaiah 42:4. Nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

This quiet, gentle Christ goes on pushing on his empire and extending his dominion till these far-off islands of the sea already know his power and the day comes when the whole round earth shall be obedient to his sway. O blessed Christ, how glad we are to think that, when we are discouraged, thou art not, and, when we fail and faint, thou dost not. Thou holdest on for ever, like the sun who cometh forth from his chamber in the morning, and stayeth not till he has run his race.

Isaiah 42:5-6. Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 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;

Thus the great God commissions Christ. Thus he declares that the eternal power and Godhead will back him up till the Gentiles shall perceive his light, and the people shall be brought into covenant with God.


Verses 1-17

This book might well be called “the gospel according to Isaiah,” for it is full of evangelical truth.

Isaiah 42:1. Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

Of whom speaketh the prophet this, but of the Messiah — Jesus of Nazareth? He was upheld by the mighty power of God. He was the Lord’s chosen. The Spirit of God rested upon him, and this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears, for he hath brought forth righteousness to the Gentiles.

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

He shall be no clamorous seeker after applause. He shall not shout as those that seek for the mastery. Now the Saviour was quiet, gentle, meek. humble. When he lifted up his voice, it was for God and for the sons of men — not for himself. He was meek and lowly of heart.

Isaiah 42:3. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

How exactly these words describe the Lord Jesus! He was so gentle that he did not break or break off the bruised reeds. We read that he did not answer the Scribes and Pharisees. They were so powerless — such bruised reeds in his esteem — such worthless, smoking flaxes — that he let them alone until bye-and-bye he came to bring forth judgment unto victory. And now the weak, the feeble, the gentle the poor in spirit, shall never find Christ deal hardly with them. “The bruised reed he will not break: the smoking flax he will not quench.”

Isaiah 42:4. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law.

Oh! what a blessed thing it is that we have a Saviour to trust, who will not fail, and he is one who will never be discouraged. He will carry out the salvation of his people, and never give it up as a hopeless case. Poor sinner, if he begins with you, he will not fail nor be discouraged; nor will be even with the whole earth. He will not take back his hand till surely all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord. He who has undertaken man’s redemption is not feeble of spirit and easily baffled. He shall not fail or be discouraged.

Isaiah 42:5-6. Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 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;

See what God has made his Son, Jesus Christ. If you want to get to Christ in the covenant of grace, you have only to lay hold on Christ, for fist is given as a covenant to the people. He is the embodiment of the covenant — the sum and substance of it — the seal of it — the surety of it. He is, indeed, the covenant itself. And if you want light, you have only to get Christ. He is the light of the world, and here we are told that God has given him for a light to the Gentiles.

Isaiah 42:7. To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Hear this, you melancholy ones, you that are desponding, you that cannot get out of the prison of bad habits, or shake off the chains of sin. Behold a liberator has come — one whose very business it is to open the fast closed cells of sin, and set the captives of Satan free.

Isaiah 42:8-9. I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before their spring forth I tell you of them.

One great proof of the truth of the deity of Jehovah is that he can foresee and foretell, so that long ere events happen he makes them known. Now Isaiah, by God’s Spirit, told the Israelites concerning Christ hundreds of years before Christ came; and yet the terms are so express that one might almost think that they were written after the event. But doth not God know; and is not he God who sees through the mists of ages, and looks upon the things that are to be as though they were? Verily he is God.

Isaiah 42:10-11. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, 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 sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.

For the coming of Christ is the coming of music into the world. When he did hang upon the cross, there were lighted up new stars to cheer earth’s night. Nay, what if I say that the sun itself had risen then to chase away the darkness once for all? O Lamb of God. Creation made the angels sing; but redemption makes us fallen men to sing, for it lifts us up to sit among the angels, through thy meet precious blood.

Isaiah 42:12. Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.

Now for his enemies. While God is thus graciously dealing with men, he determines to make an end of the powers of evil.

Isaiah 42:13. 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.

Do not imagine that the gods of the heathen will always sit on their thrones that the powers of and-Christ will always darken the earth. Ah! no. God will bestir himself ere long.

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

Oh! what a time will that be when God comes forth in the splendor of his power to put down all the hosts of evil.

Isaiah 42:15. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.

What a terrible God he is! When he once puts forth his hand for deeds of justice and of vengeance, who can stand before him, but yet how his mercy walks arm-in-arm with his justice?

Isaiah 42:16. And I will bring the blind by way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

Oh! the condescension of God that even when his right arm is bared for war, and thunder girds his cloudy ear, yet still he stoops out of the chariot of wrath to look after poor, blind, helpless souls, and lead them in the way of peace and mercy. But as for his enemies: —

Isaiah 42:17. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.

This exposition consisted of readings from Isaiah 42:1-17; Isaiah 43:18-25; Romans 10:1-19.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Isaiah 42:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/isaiah-42.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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