The second song about the Messiah to come is included in Chapter 49 verses 1-13. It speaks of Messiah’s character as a servant and his purpose in coming. This chapter of Isaiah is one of my favorites as it has some special verses that speak to me personally. First let’s look at Song #2.
The Lord’s Servant Commissioned
49 Listen to me, all you in distant lands!
Pay attention, you who are far away!
The Lord called me before my birth;
from within the womb he called me by name.
2 He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword.
He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand.
I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver. Here Isaiah uses symbolic language of the sword and arrows. Both the Messiah will use to show and execute judgement.
3 He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel,
and you will bring me glory.” The coming Messiah will be the perfect servant bringing glory to God where the nation of Israel had failed.
4 I replied, “But my work seems so useless!
I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.
Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand;
I will trust God for my reward.” Just as the nation of Israel has failed so will the Messiah seem to fail as he meets opposition during his time here on earth. The reward mentioned here refers to the reward of all believers both Jews and Gentiles who will be vindicated by Messiah’s work on the cross.
5 And now the Lord speaks—
the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant,
who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him.
The Lord has honored me,
and my God has given me strength.
6 He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.
I will make you a light to the Gentiles,
and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” Israel was brought back from Babylon at God’s request. The coming Messiah will restore the people to God and will open up salvation to the Gentiles. It is like the message from Jesus in John 8:12 “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” and John 9:5 “But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
7 The Lord, the Redeemer
and Holy One of Israel,
says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations,
to the one who is the servant of rulers:
“Kings will stand at attention when you pass by.
Princes will also bow low
because of the Lord, the faithful one,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” Messiah would be the despised and rejected one by the nations. 1 Peter 2:4 ” As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—” Luke 17:25 “But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” Isaiah 53:3 “He as despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
8 This is what the Lord says: “At just the right time, I will respond to you.
On the day of salvation I will help you.
I will protect you and give you to the people
as my covenant with them.
Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel
and assign it to its own people again.
9 I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’
and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’
They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures
and on hills that were previously bare.
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst.
The searing sun will not reach them anymore.
For the Lord in his mercy will lead them;
he will lead them beside cool waters.
11 And I will make my mountains into level paths for them.
The highways will be raised above the valleys.
12 See, my people will return from far away,
from lands to the north and west,
and from as far south as Egypt.” Messiah will bring salvation, restoration, help and a renewed covenant. He will be a shepherd to the people, a light, one who brings freedom, and He will satisfy their needs. He will guide them and walking with Him will be like being beside cool waters. He will lead them with mercy and hope.
13 Sing for joy, O heavens!
Rejoice, O earth!
Burst into song, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted his people
and will have compassion on them in their suffering. With the Messiah there will be rejoicing in heaven, and He will bring great comfort and compassion for the people in their suffering.
The language of the song is very poetic in nature but much could be confirmed about the coming Messiah and then was affirmed by Messiah’s life and mission.
Jesus executed judgement on sin and yet brought healing and forgiveness to sinners. Jesus was rejected and despised and yet would provided the light of life for both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus brought healing, guidance, hope and renewal to all who would listen and follow him. Jesus brought compassion on all who came to him and treated them with mercy. What a beautiful song of praise and hope to all who awaited Him. What a glorious reminder of who Jesus is and what he accomplished for us. Christ is the Holy one, the Only one, who can Save us.