Scripture Reading: Isaiah 49:1-7
Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the Lord called me;
from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.”
And now the Lord says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
and my God has been my strength—
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
This is what the Lord says—
the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
to the servant of rulers:
“Kings will see you and stand up,
princes will see and bow down,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
Questions for children:
Yesterday, we noted that the Messiah will be named “Mighty God.” What new name does God give the Promised One in this text?
Besides Israel, who else will gain salvation through the Servant?
Does the Servant feel like he has been successful? How do you know?
Explanation and Meditation:
Prophecies about the Promised Son are freely flowing now. Israel, destined to go into their Babylonian captivity and witness the destruction of their temple would desperately need these passages to sustain them through the long years of their exile. The Messiah himself is speaking in these verses, but his audience is the world, not just Israel. This is why he calls both the “islands” and “distant nations” to listen. He speaks of God’s calling on his life. Before he would even be born on earth, he had been commissioned to be God’s “Servant, Israel.” But this new and better Israel would succeed where the nation had failed. He would be a light to the Gentiles, and bring salvation “to the ends of the earth.”
The nation of Israel–rather than being a light to the heathen nations around them, had become just like those nations, turning their backs on God’s glorious light and plunging themselves into the dark domain of the snake. And that ancient enemy, the snake, would not release them without mounting an opposition–an opposition that would bruise our hero’s heel, causing him to cry out in anguish:
“I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.”
But he who would be “despised and abhorred by the nation” put his trust in God and waited for him to exalt his humble Servant. The Messiah’s path to the throne would be fraught with rejection and suffering, but would end in great glory.
Song of Exultation: O Holy Night
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming;
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand:
So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land,
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend;
He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King! before him bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!
Christ is the Lord, then ever, ever praise we!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!