God’s Saving Word: Justice and Peace
Isaiah 42:1‒17: Verses 1‒4 comprise the first of four “Servant Songs” in the book of Isaiah (see also 49:1‒6; 50:4‒9; 52:13—53:12). In this passage, the servant is described as one whom God chose to see that justice is done on earth. The reading concludes with God’s promises to help his people.
The Lord’s Servant
42 The Lord says,
“Here is my servant, whom I strengthen—
the one I have chosen, with whom I am pleased.
I have filled him with my Spirit,
and he will bring justice to every nation.
2 He will not shout or raise his voice
or make loud speeches in the streets.
3 He will not break off a bent reed
nor put out a flickering lamp.
He will bring lasting justice to all.
4 He will not lose hope or courage;
he will establish justice on the earth.
Distant lands eagerly wait for his teaching.”
5 God created the heavens and stretched them out;
he fashioned the earth and all that lives there;
he gave life and breath to all its people.
And now the Lord God says to his servant,
6 “I, the Lord, have called you and given you power
to see that justice is done on earth.
Through you I will make a covenant with all peoples;
through you I will bring light to the nations.
7 You will open the eyes of the blind
and set free those who sit in dark prisons.
8 “I alone am the Lord your God.
No other god may share my glory;
I will not let idols share my praise.
9 The things I predicted have now come true.
Now I will tell you of new things
even before they begin to happen.”
A Song of Praise
10 Sing a new song to the Lord;
sing his praise, all the world!
Praise him, you that sail the sea;
praise him, all creatures of the sea!
Sing, distant lands and all who live there!
11 Let the desert and its towns praise God;
let the people of Kedar praise him!
Let those who live in the city of Sela
shout for joy from the tops of the mountains!
12 Let those who live in distant lands
give praise and glory to the Lord!
13 The Lord goes out to fight like a warrior;
he is ready and eager for battle.
He gives a war cry, a battle shout;
he shows his power against his enemies.
God Promises to Help His People
14 God says,
“For a long time I kept silent;
I did not answer my people.
But now the time to act has come;
I cry out like a woman in labor.
15 I will destroy the hills and mountains
and dry up the grass and trees.
I will turn the river valleys into deserts[a]
and dry up the pools of water.
16 “I will lead my blind people
by roads they have never traveled.
I will turn their darkness into light
and make rough country smooth before them.
These are my promises,
and I will keep them without fail.
17 All who trust in idols,
who call images their gods,
will be humiliated and disgraced.”
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 42:8
“I alone am the LORD your God. No other god may share my glory; I will not let idols share my praise.”
Some scholars think that the servant mentioned in this passage is a reference to the people of Israel. Others think it might have been to a ruler such as the one mentioned in Isaiah 9:6, 7 and 11:1‒5. Still others understand this passage as describing the life of God’s promised messiah. The task of the servant was to “bring justice to every nation” (verse 1). How is the role of the servant described (verses 2‒4)? Who might be today’s “servants”?
Holy God, source of all light and truth, light my path that I may see the way to be a servant in your work of redemption, truth, and justice. Guide me today, and may all I do and say give honor and glory to you. Amen.
Isaiah 56:1‒12: God’s people will include all nations.