THE FIRST SERVANT INTRODUCED – Isaiah 41

But thou, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend, thou whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from the corners thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee and not cast thee away; fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that are incensed against thee shall be put to shame and confounded: they that strive with thee shall be as nothing, and shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contend with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I, Jehovah thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith Jehovah, and thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I have made thee to be a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in Jehovah, thou shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 41:8‭-‬16 ASV

In these verses (including also the text through Isaiah 41:20) Israel is assured of the following:

(1) Of the FAITHFULNESS OF GOD, Isaiah 41:8,9

(2) That they will RECEIVE STRENGTH FROM GOD, Isaiah 41:10

(3) That WEAKNESS WILL AFFLICT THEIR ENEMIES, Isaiah 41:11,12

(4) That GOD WILL RAISE UP AID FOR THEM, Isaiah 41:13,14

(5) That THEIR ENEMIES SHALL BE SCATTERED, Isaiah 41:15,16

(6) That THEY SHALL RECEIVE SPIRITUAL REFRESHMENT during their worst experiences, Isaiah 41:17-19.

This long chain of promises (future verbs) is characteristically anchored in the facts (present and past), a pledged relationship, and an irrevocable choice and call.

Note that this usage of past blessings as a pledge of future support for Israel supports the view that Isaiah 41:2 is not a reference to a future “righteous man,” but to a former one,

ABRAHAM.

Jacob is called a worm’ in Isaiah 41:14; andmen’ should perhaps be rendered `lice’ in the same passage.

It is believed that such derogatory words represent, not God’s opinion of Israel, but their discouraged and pitiful opinion of themselves during the times that lay ahead of them.

The metaphor here of Israel’s threshing the mountains and hills, all nations great and small, large as it is, does not exaggerate the influence of Judaic-born Christianity over all the nations of mankind.

There is another term in Isaiah 41:14, namely, REDEEMER, that has been seized upon by some as indicating a new author for this part of Isaiah.

Yes, it is true that this word, from Leviticus 25:47-54 is a technical word found a number of times in the Old Testament.

A man’s [go’el] was his next of kin; and in case a man sold himself into captivity, his redeemer’ or [go’el] was under obligation to purchase his freedom.

Isaiah 41:8 in this paragraph is the first mention of the momentous figure of Servant of the Lord, ‘the Servant’ here being the believing nation of Israel as opposed to the Gentiles.

Even though no exiled nation had ever before in history been brought back to start life anew in their former homeland, God here promises to bring about such a seeming impossibility.

There is also in this the type of that Far Greater Servant, Jesus Christ, the True Israel, the True Vine (as distinguished from the corrupt vine (the old Israel)

(John 15:1ff)

The Old Israel being most certainly a type of the True Israel, as extensively indicated in the Book of Jonah.

The primary reference here is not the antitype but the type.

The Greater Israel, under the figure of the Suffering Servant, will be more prominent in later chapters of Isaiah.

For the Lord Jehovah will help me; therefore have I not been confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.

Behold, the Lord Jehovah will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? behold, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.

Isaiah 50:7‭-‬9 ASV

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