Isaiah- Session 10- Isaiah 49:1-7

Session 10- Revealing Christ’s Mission                                                                         Isaiah 49:1-7

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Subject:  Mission

Central Theme:  Revealing Christ’s Mission

Objective Sentence:  We can have confidence in Christ’s Mission to the Nations by seeing three aspects of His mission revealed in Isaiah 49:1-7

Keyword:  Aspect

Aspect #1- The Parties of the Mission. (v.1-3)

Aspect #2- The Servant of the Mission. (V.1-5)

Aspect #3- The Purpose of the Mission (v.5-7)

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Have you ever started a project and as you got into the details of what needed to happen to see it done it kept expanding?
  • Or have you ever gone to YouTube to watch a video about a particular subject, and realized that there is a lot more to the subject than what you thought?
  • The study of astronomy can be this way. At one times scientists thought that the sun was the center of the universe.  Now we know that the Sun is not even the biggest star in our part of the galaxy.
  • Scientists used to think of the cell as a simplistic basic part of the body. Today microbiology studies cells like small cities with factories, machines and the like.

Tension:

  • In today’s text we see an incredible scene.
  • We are invited into a conversation between God the Father and God the Son.
  • This conversation is about God’s mission in the world.
  • And as we read this particular text we can see our view of God, and specifically the mission of God in the world expand in incredible ways.

We can have confidence in God’s Mission by seeing three aspects of His mission in this text.

Aspect #1- The Parties of the Mission. (v.1-3)

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.  (2)  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;  (3)  And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.  (Isaiah 49:1-3)

Explanation:

  • This is an incredible passage. To understand this passage, you must understand four different parties that are referenced in the passage.

1. Servant.  (v.1,3)

  • This is the speaker right at the beginning.  Notice all the personal pronouns in verse 1.

 

(1)  Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name….

 

 

  • He is referred to as the Servant starting in verse 3.

(3)  And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

  • More will be revealed about him as we read, and it will become clear that this is the Messiah.

2. Gentiles (v.1,6)

  • The Servant calls out to the “isles” and to the “people, from afar”.
  • He calls on them to listen, but to what?
  • He wants them to know about what “the Lord” has called Him to do.
  • He includes them in on the contents of a conversation between Him and the Lord, letting Him know that God has a plan for them in mind that we will see as move through this text.

3. The Lord (v.1)

  • The Lord is God, the Father, and is referenced throughout the passage.

(1)  Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name (2)  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;  (3)  And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.  (Isaiah 49:1-3)

  • He is the owner of the mission that He is calling the servant to do.

4. Israel/Jacob (v.3, 5)

  • There is another group included in this passage.
  • The narrator of the passage is called both “servant” and “Israel” in verse three.
  • Yet, this naming of the servant as Israel is a reference to this Servant as an ideal Israel.
  • Why do we say this?  Because this servant is called to “bring Jacob again to him, though Israel be not gathered…” in verse 5.
  • In verse 6 the servant is called “to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel.”
  • Israel is distinct from the Gentiles, and the servant has a mission to both the Jew and the Gentile.
  • Now that you know who the players are in this passage you get a context.
  • The servant calls on the gentiles to listen to an incredible conversation between the Lord and His servant.

We can have confidence in Christ’s Mission to the Nations by seeing three aspects of His mission in this text.

Aspect #1- The Parties of the Mission. (v.1-3)

Aspect #2- The Servant of the Mission. (V.1-5)

 

(1)  Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.  (2)  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;  (3)  And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.  (Isaiah 49:1-3)

 

Explanation:

  • Let us take a moment to learn about this Servant who is speaking.

1. The Servant is called.

  • The verses make it clear that He has been called “from the womb”.  This servant is human.  He is “from the womb”.

(1)  ….. The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

  • Notice that he is named before the womb because his name is mentioned while he is in the womb.  Do you remember what the angel told Joseph in a dream?

(20)  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  (21)  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  (Matthew 1:20-23)

  • He is also distinct from the nation of Israel which was also called a servant.  It is clear here that he distinct from Israel as an individual because He is born.
  • He will be used to restore Israel (the nation).

 

2. The Servant was concealed.

  • In verse two we two different references to weapons.
  • The servant’s mouth is compared to a sword.

(2)  And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword;

  • Jesus is referred to as “the word” in John 1.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (2)  The same was in the beginning with God.  (3)  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made…   (14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  (John 1:1-3, 14)

 

  • So, according to this text, the Servant will use His words to do what he was sent to do.
  • The servant is also compared to an arrow.

in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

  • The servant says the Lord made him a “polished shaft”.
  • In ancient times archers would oil down an arrow to make it slice through the air more effectively and penetrate more deeply into the intended target.
  • Notice that there is concealing language made about this servant.
  • The servant says, “in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me”, and “in his quiver hath he hid me”.  The servant is concealed and prepared by the Lord to be revealed and propelled at the appropriate time.
  • Isn’t this a great description of Christ Himself?
  • Christ certainly existed in the Old Testament.
  • He was active in Creation.  Colossians 1 says He is before all things.
  • Yet Christ’s earthly ministry came about in the “fullness of times”.
  • Paul said it this way:

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  (5)  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  (Galatians 4:4-5)

  • The Servant is revealing here that God would reveal Him to the world at just the right time.
  • This is a great description of exactly what Jesus first coming looked like.
  • When Jesus was baptized at the beginning of His earthly ministry, God the Father made comment that was quite similarto verse 3 in today’s reading:

 

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  (17)  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 3:16-17)

  • Christ’s ministry was a revealing ministry.

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.  (9)  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?  (John 14:8-9)

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  (2)  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  (3)  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  (Hebrews 1:1-3)

 

Application:

  • A few points of application:
    • God’s mission has always included the elements of calling, preparation, and revealing.
    • It is clear that Jesus is the Servant in this passage.
    • Even though there may be times where it seems as though God may not be working, He always has a plan, and is always working.
    • God’s mission and plan is often much bigger than what we know.  His ways are bigger than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

 

 

3. The Servant was commissioned.

 

(4)  Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

(5)  And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.  (Isaiah 49:4-5)

Explanation:

  • The Servant continues to speak in this passage and speaks of his commissioning by the Lord.
  • He said that he was formed from the womb “to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to Him.”
  • Interestingly, it seems as though there is a sense that Israel does not respond.  Israel is “not gathered”.
  • The Servant seems to be responding to this reality in verse 4 when he says, “I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain.”
  • Yet the Servant is confident that He will glorify the Lord and be found glorious in God’s sight. God would be “his strength”.
  • This is a confirmation of what the Lord already said in verse 3 when He assured the Servant that His actions would glorify the Lord.
  • Ultimately the Servant says that God will be His strength.
  • There is a confidence in His obedience to the sending by the Servant.  He is obedient to the commission of the Lord.

Application:

  • Christ was obedient to the mission that He was commissioned to do.
  • Not everyone responded to this mission in repentance and turning.
  • The Servant’s response ought to be our response.
  • We must put our confidence in being obedient to the commission no matter what the response is.
  • The foundational response to commissioning is obedience.

We can have confidence in Christ’s Mission to the Nations by seeing three aspects of His mission in this text.

Aspect #1- The Parties of the Mission. (v.1-3)

Aspect #2- The Servant of the Mission. (V.1-5)

Aspect #3- The Purpose of the Mission (v.5-7)

 

(5)  And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.   (6)  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest 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 earth.  (Isaiah 49:5-6)

 

Explanation:

  • We are at the point where we find out the purpose of the Mission.
  • It is revealed here with a threefold purpose. .

1.  The Restoration of Israel.

  • We have already learned that part of the purpose of the mission that the Servant was sent on is to restore Israel in verse 5.  In verse 6 it is expressed that the servant will “raise up the tribes of Israel” and “restore the preserved of Israel”.
  • We have also seen there is a hint that there will be a rejection of the servant at some level.  This is in keeping with not only what happened in the Gospels, but also with what will be predicted in Isaiah 53.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  (Isaiah 53:3)

  • One day Israel’s restoration will be realized.

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  (27)  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.  (Romans 11:26-27)

 

2.  The Salvation of the Nations

  • Why is this entire conversation between the Lord and the Servant being related by the servant to the “isles” and the “peoples, from afar”?
  • This part of the passage makes it clear.  The Lord tells the servant that it is a “light thing” that He should restore Israel.  This does not mean that it is unimportant.
  • What is being related is that God’s mission is much bigger and much broader than just dealing with Israel.  Notice what He says:

 

I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.  (v.6)

 

  • The purpose of God’s mission is to send the servant as a light.  Do you remember what Jesus said about Himself?

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  (John 8:12)

  • The purpose of God’s mission is to send the Servant as salvation.  Notice that He was not just proclaiming salvation.  The servant is sent as salvation.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  (17)  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (18)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (John 3:16-18)

 

Application:

  • Salvation is not just a plan.  Salvation is a person.  God’s mission was commissioned to Christ!  Our commission is to point to Him as salvation.

 

3.  The Worship of God.

 

(7)  Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, 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)

 

  • The message of God and of His Servant, the Holy One, is this.
  • There will be those who see what God has accomplished in sending His Servant on this mission and it will cause them to stand and to worship.
  • Those that are said to do this in this text are “kings” and “princes”.
  • It is safe to say, in context, that this would be gentile nobility.
  • Ultimately the notable of the earth and their followers will recognize God’s mission and worship Him for sending the Servant.  Isaiah mentions this same kind of an idea about the servant in Isaiah 52.

So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.  (Isaiah 52:15)

 

  • The New Testament points to this ultimate reality as well in Philippians 2:10-11.

 

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  (11)  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:10-11)

 

Application:

  • The end of this mission is the worship of God.  God’s desire is for every person to be saved, and every saved person to worship Him.  The Worship of God by the nations is the ultimate end of the mission to which we are sent.

 

Response:

  • Is the worship of God by your life a priority in your life?

 

Conclusion:

We can have confidence in Christ’s Mission to the Nations by seeing three aspects of His mission revealed in Isaiah 49:1-7

Keyword:  Aspect

Aspect #1- The Parties of the Mission. (v.1-3)

Aspect #2- The Servant of the Mission. (V.1-5)

Aspect #3- The Purpose of the Mission (v.5-7)

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