Today’s passages: Isaiah, chapters 40-42; 1 Peter, chapter 3
Scripture: Isaiah 42:1-9 (NRSV) – Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.
Observations: There are a couple of concepts that stood out to me as I read today’s passages. First, in verses 2-4, we see that the Lord’s servant will not cry out or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. We live in a world where many people “cry out and lift up their voices.” I’ve commented before that our culture has become one which validates anger and outrage, and with each passing day the noise seems to grow louder and louder. When God talks about his servant in these verses, I get the sense that the Lord’s servant is not one who seeks to yell louder than everyone else, doesn’t seek to bully people (intellectually or physically) into agreeing with them. I know that Jesus certainly didn’t do that! A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench. I know this passage is viewed primarily as a prophecy about Jesus and his earthly ministry – but aren’t we supposed to be like Jesus? In our passage from 1 Peter today, Peter says this: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15b-16a, NRSV)
The second thing that stands out is what the servant of the Lord will accomplish: “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” Jesus never lost sight of God’s purposes nor his plan, and he walked in obedience every day. As Paul says in Philippians 2, our attitude should be like Jesus’ attitude – humble, obedient, and willing to serve.
Applications: I reflected last week on God’s call for us to not make “dangerous alliances” outside his will. I think that it’s easy for us to get drawn into other agendas, and to seek other goals than the one for which Jesus taught us to pray: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus’ way of seeing God’s Kingdom come was to walk in God’s way each day, responding to the opportunities which God presented to declare that Kingdom by bringing freedom and healing and hope. As Isaiah puts it in today’s passage, I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. God wants us to proclaim the freedom and healing and hope that comes from life in Jesus, by our words and by our lives. God is reminding me today that we do that primarily by following the example of Jesus. If we’re not walking in Jesus’ footsteps, then it doesn’t matter very much what else we are doing.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the call to bring light and hope and freedom to those who are trapped in the prison of sin. Help me to recognize the opportunities which you provide today to share that hope. Help me to faithfully follow the example of Jesus, and to lift him up, so others may be drawn to him. Lead me in your paths today, for your sake and for your glory. Amen.
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Pastor Rick Rice
Pastor Rick has served as Senior Pastor at TCNAZ since August 1999. He and his wife Jill have three grown children: Allen, David (Brianna), and MacKenzie.
Previous blog posts can be found at "My Journey".