Imagine for a moment you are a citizen of Judah during the prophetic span of Isaiah’s ministry. The dates maybe somewhere around 740-700 BC. You saw your brothers in the North fall under siege to the Assyrians and there are strong, very strong warnings that the Babylonians are coming your way to do the same to you in the South. Mingled in Isaiah’s words are those of hope. A surprising mention of a servant. In obviously distinctive and fresh language, a vision and an application of a servant who will do things for the nation never before seen or heard. The ‘servant of God’ strand flowing through Isaiah marks a significant mysterious character whose qualities rival any prophet, priest, or king. Five ‘songs’ are featured in the latter portions of Isaiah.
Who is this servant? If you were hearing Isaiah’s words, you would truly be baffled. Is it Cyrus, Hezekiah, Eliakim, a missionary, Isaiah himself, a reincarnated Moses or Elijah, the nation of Israel, another king, God himself, is it the people of God corporately, are they individual ‘believers’, or is it an individual who is a messianic figure? The options abound for the hearers. He is a mystery man!
The servant is first introduced in Is. 42:1-9 “Here is my servant” the great solution.
Vv. 1-4 God addresses Israel. Justice is used three times in these verses (1, 3, and 4). He is not just for Israel, but for the nations (Gentiles) (1). Notice how gentile he is and full of humility (2, 3).
Vv. 5-7 God (Ha’ El- “He who is indeed the true transcendent God”) addresses the Servant. His purpose is delineated in (6,7) “a light for the Gentiles.” There is a future reference to Is. 61 in v. 7 “to free the captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Also this verse looks back at Isaiah 7.
Vv. 8-9 God address Israel again.
There is a hint of opposition; his task is not easy, but doable. The character and mission of the Servant: will bring salvation and a new world order. The Spirit and justice dominate this ‘song.’
Posted in B90X
Tagged Assyrians, Babylonians, Cyrus, Elijah, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Israel, Judah, Moses, servant, Servant Song
Who says there isn’t anything good in the last twelve books of the Old Testament? It is packed full of many verses we see on calendars, daily scripture flip charts, and encouraging verses of the day. Yah sure there is some of the difficult stuff we don’t understand because of culture and when it happened, but who doesn’t like “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” (Nahum 1:7)? That is hopeful material!
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Tagged Amos, Assyrians, Bethlehem, David, discipline, Holy Spirit, Hosea, Israel, Joel, Jonah, Judah, judgment, Lord, Micah, Nahum, Nineveh, Obadiah, Old Testament, refuge, repentance, Zion
Ezekiel the Watchman
How are things going? Keep up the good work. Regardless of where you are on the schedule, I am certain Father is working in each of your hearts. Whether you are already finished, right on the date, or no where near where you want to be, it is OK. Father is just so glad you are reading every one of His words. This is not easy. It requires much diligence and fortitude. It is so doable though. We only have 29 days to go! I was talking to someone today who said, I am going to finish with everyone else if it kills me. She reads in the car (not driving), during TV commercials, in bed, at work on breaks, everywhere she can. Others around her are getting an earful on what it is we are all about. You go girl! Continue reading
I will have to admit, it takes a high degree of fortitude to keep up with this pace of reading. And boy is it worth it! Great stuff today.
Key dates to jolt your memory:
971 BC The anointing of Solomon
931 BC The division of the United Monarchy into North (Israel) and South (Judah)
722 BC The fall of Samaria, the capital of Israel (invader: Assyria)
612 BC The fall of Nineveh (the Assyrian capital)
605 BC The battle of Carchemish
605, 597, 586 BC The three attacks on Jerusalem and the fall (invader: Babylon)
I have attached several charts today from a book I own, John H. Walton, Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament (1994, Grand Rapids: Zondervan). One is a map of the kingdom at its zenith, another at the split, one is all about family and ancestry of David, another the history of the United Monarchy, and a cool one, a list of the deities of the ANE we read about.
Elijah calling down fire upon the altar on Mt Carmel and the prophets of Ba'al.
Posted in B90X
Tagged B90X, Elijah, Elisha, healing, Israel, Jerusalem, Judah, Luke, Nineveh, Samaria, Solomon, worship