Daily Bible Reading

May 20th, 2011

Isaiah 42:1-25 (GNT)

God’s Word Goes Forth: Rejoice in Hope

Introduction

Isaiah 42:1-25: Verses 1-7 comprise the first of four “servant songs” in the book of Isaiah. In this passage, the servant is described as one whom God chose to bring justice to the nations (verse 1). Light provides an image of God’s truth, justice and saving power.

Today's Scripture: Isaiah 42:6

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.

Today's Reading

1 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.” 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. 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 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.” 18 The LORD says, “Listen, you deaf people! Look closely, you that are blind! 19 Is anyone more blind than my servant, more deaf than the messenger I send? 20 Israel, you have seen so much, but what has it meant to you? You have ears to hear with, but what have you really heard?” 21 The LORD is a God who is eager to save, so he exalted his laws and teachings, and he wanted his people to honor them. 22 But now his people have been plundered; they are locked up in dungeons and hidden away in prisons. They were robbed and plundered, with no one to come to their rescue. 23 Will any of you listen to this? From now on will you listen with care? 24 Who gave Israel up to the looters? It was the LORD himself, against whom we sinned! We would not live as he wanted us to live or obey the teachings he gave us. 25 So he made us feel the force of his anger and suffer the violence of war. Like fire his anger burned throughout Israel, but we never knew what was happening; we learned nothing at all from it.

Reflect

Some scholars think that the servant referenced in this passage must have been an important royal or religious figure in Israel’s history, like King Josiah, the prophet Jeremiah, or even Isaiah. Others think it could be a reference to the people of Israel. Still others understand this passage as describing the life of God’s promised messiah. What do you think?

Pray

Holy God, Source of All Light, light my path, that I may see the way to be a servant in your work of redemption, truth and justice. Guide me today. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those working for social justice

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