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Daily Devotions – The suffering servant saves the nations

Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:

Isaiah 49:1-7English Standard Version (ESV)

The Servant of the Lord

49 Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the Lord, and my recompense with my God.”

And now the Lord says,  he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him—for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has  become my strength— he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

The second “servant song” is found in Isaiah 49. In this passage, God shows that the Savior’s main tool will not be swords of metal, but the sword of God’s word (v. 2). Here we learn that not only will Christ gather Israel, but he will be a light to bring salvation to all the nations (49:6). The verses about how this was planned from before the Savior’s birth help us see that God had this plan in mind way in advance. Once his kingdom comes to fulfillment, the leaders of all nations will worship him (49:7).  In 49:5, we find a reference to Jesus’ conception by the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:34-35). In 49:2, we have a reference to the fact that the coming of Christ will divide the people between those who follow him and those who refuse. (See also Luke 12:51-53).