June 17: Isaiah 49
Deuteronomy 22; Psalms 110–111; Isaiah 49; Revelation 19
Everyone, near and far, should give listening attention (1b) to this Servant of God, for God gave him the sharp words of prophecy (2a). Yet this Servant stands alone among all the other prophets. God hides away this Servant until the right time (2b).
This Servant is Israel (3) - simple enough. And now, being conquered by Babylon, this Servant Israel feels futility mixed with hope in God (4).
And yet . . . God calls this Servant to “bring Jacob back to him.” God calls this Israel to gather Israel back to Him (5b). Thus this Servant, this Israel cannot be the nation of Israel. How does that work?
God calls this servant because He peculiarly honors this “Israel.” Thus it is “too light a thing” for this Servant to only save the nation of Israel. God will also make this Israel “a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach the end of the earth” (6).
This servant is of Israel, and yet at the same time distinct from the nation of Israel. He is of Israel, and yet he also serves in the place of Israel. He is Israel. Yet the Bible’s concept of Israel has now reduced down like an hourglass, from the many, a nation, to One singular Servant Israel.
The hourglass will expand out again. All who are united to this One Servant Israel will take His Word to the nations, thus fulfilling verse 6. But first, Isaiah 53.