Israel, God’s model nation
Israel, God’s devoted servant1
Let me tell you about my delightful servant.
I chose him and gave him my spirit.
He’s going to judge the nations.
He’s going to give the verdict.
As a walking, talking loudmouth.
3He won’t attack people in pain
Like snapping off a broken reed
Or snuffing out a dying flame.
He’ll give them justice instead.
4No one’s going to stop him
Until he completes his mission:
Spreading justice to the sea.
Go heal the blind5
This is what the LORD God says,
The one who covered us in sky,
Planted us in this world,
Created everything that lives,
Puts breath in everything that breathes.
Do the right thing. Live as a good human.
I’ll give you a hand and protect you,
While you fulfill a promise I made:
Be my beacon of hope to the nations.
7You’ll heal the blind and they’ll see.
You’ll free prisoners from their dungeons
And lead them out of their darkness.
8I’m the LORD, and that’s my name.
It’s a name people praise and honor.
I won’t share that with wooden idols.
9Are you paying attention?
Earlier, I told you what would happen.
And it happened as I said.
Now I’m telling you what happens next,
So once again you’ll know.
Sing a thank you song to God10
Sing a new song to the LORD.
Sing it all over the world.
Let the sea roar out its deep notes
With its creatures singing along.
People in the coastlands join the choir.
Let’s hear it, Kedar city.
People of Sela, loud with joy.
From desert to the mountaintops,
People, sing your song.
12Glory to the LORD.
All nations to the sea
Praise him with your song.
God goes to war13
The LORD is on the move
Like a soldier on the march.
He screams in mighty fury
When he takes his enemy down.
Quiet long enough.
I’ll yell like a woman in labor.
Screaming’s what I’ll do.
15I’ll kill enemies in the mountains
I’ll kill them in the hills.
I’ll kill crops in their fields
I’ll dry rivers, lakes, and ponds.
16I’ll lead the blind down a new road
From darkness into light.
I’ll level out the path they take.
And smooth the rough road ahead.
I’ll do it. I won’t let them down.
I won’t leave them on their own.
17But others who worship idols
And tell them, “You’re my gods.”
I’ll have to drive them off,
Abandoned to their shame.
God saves a sinner of a nation18
You people are deaf and blind
When it comes to me.
Look up and listen to me now.
Who’s as deaf as they are?
I chose them, but who could be more blind?
Who’s as blind as the people
Devoted to the LORD?
20Israel’s people see a lot,
But they don’t get a thing.
They hear, but no connection.
21The LORD is good.
His laws and teachings
Deserve the praise they get.
22Yet his people are robbed,
Hiding in caves, arrested in prisons,
No one coming to their rescue.
23Why won’t you listen?
Do what I say.
24People of Jacob,
Who do you think let this happen to you?
People of Israel,
Wasn’t it the LORD—the one you sinned against,
The one you refused to follow,
The one whose law you ignored?
25So, he loaded his anger into weapons of war
And he set your world on fire.
But you still didn’t get it,
You didn’t understand.
You took the heat and the burn
But gave no thought to the “Why.”
Who’s the servant? Depends on which biblical scholar we ask. Cyrus? Israel? Jesus? Or all three? Some say it’s Cyrus, described as a shepherd of nations (Isaiah 44:28). He ruled the Persian Empire and freed Babylon’s political prisoners in the mid-500s BC—including Jews from what had once been Israel. It was now just Persia’s frontier territory. Others say the servant is Israel, a nation that blew it with God, got punished by God, and got forgiven and restored by God. Others say this is the first of Isaiah’s four Servant Songs about Jesus (42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-11; 52:13—53:12).
Cyrus ruled the Persian Empire from what is now Iran. His influence and power spread to lands along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, which included the Jewish homeland and their former kingdoms of Israel in the north and Judah in the south.
A reference to one of many devastating attacks the Jewish nation suffered from invaders or neighboring nations. This may have been a reference to the worst of all, Babylon erased the last Jewish nation off the map in 586 BC, when it leveled Jerusalem and the Temple, and deported many of the survivors—especially national leaders. A century and a half earlier, in 722 BC, Assyrians had exiled Israelites in the northern Jewish nation of Israel to what is now Iraq.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.