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. 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. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. 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; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.(Isaiah 42:1-7)
Isaiah’s first servant song is set in the context of a universal assembly, before which the LORD, the God of Israel, calls all of the nations to produce their strongest arguments in order to justify the idolatry which they have embraced. But there is silence, because they can’t. Idolatry is indefensible. The gods of the nations are manifestly impotent, they are deaf, dumb and blind.
Therefore the world is spiritually and morally blind, and alienated from God. They have become vanity because they have worshipped vanities. To them the Lord proclaims, “Behold my Servant whom I uphold….” .
The Servant is the LORD’s own answer to the lost and blindly idolatrous world . He has been given a ministry of truth. He will establish in the world the truth of who God is, what man has become, what man’s problem is, and how man can be reconciled to God. He will bring a Righteousness to the world, that is a way to be made “right with God’.
He will faithfully carry out the ministry of “bringing forth judgment“, not giving into the inevitable temptation to be discouraged. His manner with those who are bruised, and burnt beyond use, will be to gently work with them, until the Truth of God is established and bearing fruit in their lives.
He is utterly loyal to the LORD and to the mission the LORD has appointed him.
The isles shall wait for His law… Here,Isaiah predicts a universal anticipation for the person and work of the Servant among the furthest nations. The teaching of the truth will extend far beyond the borders of Israel, the ends of the earth will eagerly receive the knowledge of the God of Israel through the ministry of the Servant.
Everywhere, former pagans and idolaters will abandon their vanities, and come to worship the LORD. They will put their lives into the hands of the only true God, because they will be won over by the Servant, and his work of redemption.
They will give their children names such as Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Zechariah, and participate in the worship of the only true God, using Psalms, quoting prophets and apostles, and come under the liberating teaching of the Hebrew Prophets and apostles.
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:
The LORD invests himself completely into the labor of his Servant. He will be endued with the power of the One who created and who continuously sustains all things and all men, to carry out His assignment.
The LORD has had other servants through the centuries. He has used men who believed in Him and were devoted to Him to varying degrees, but He has also used even Pagan kings to carry out His will.
However this One comes as no other has ever come before, walking hand in hand with God, in perfect and unblemished personal Righteousness.This is humanity as it was meant to be lived, this is a man who perfectly pleases God in every way.
I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand,
This purpose of the LORD through His Servant is threefold; He would bring men into covenant with Him, He would give them the true light, and He would set them free of the bondage to sin and death.
I… will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
The Servant Himself would become the covenant agreement, a new and living covenant binding the holy God, to sinful and fallen men. The covenant is a person, a representative priest. As long as he stands before the Lord in Righteousness, so do also those who have entered by faith into Him.
Sin has blinded all men to divine reality. The Servant’s task is to open the eyes of the blind, causing them to see and perceive the truth and reality of God. He reveals the true nature of God, and causes men to know Him and by God’s light, they may see light.
Finally God’s purpose is to open the prison gates and to release the captives of sin. Those enslaved to various lusts, those enthralled and captured by illusions and lies, those in bondage to Satan through idols,are all included in the call of the Servant. By his work, men are liberated, the truth sets us free!
Centuries later, the apostle Paul echoed this first Servant Song in the testimony of his own divine commission;
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:(Acts 26:15-19)