Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for July 28, Isaiah 49-53

Today's readings are Isaiah 49-53. Tomorrow's are Isaiah 54-58. 

Isaiah 49 is crucial to our understanding of the narrative of Isaiah. It is a description of the servant of the Lord who, up until now, has been Israel. Isaiah's story line, so far, has been about a king, a leader, who eventually becomes a servant. There are parallels between the king Israel's history. They are God's chosen people, His messengers, leaders assigned to proclaim His word and His will in every way. They, like their king, have become servants, carried away by hostile nations. Yet, God promises redemption for them and has promised to bless the world through them. 

The opening verses of Is 49 personify the servant. No lonegr a nation, He is represented as a man. He has been formed in the womb and has a name (Is 49:1). His mouth is like a sharp sword (Is 49:2). In vs 3, His name is Israel but the reference is no longer to the nation, it is to an individual. 

God will use this person to redeem Jacob (the undivided nation of Israel). He will be God's strength and the "light of the world". The personification is complete when the person is designated as "the Holy One", the redeemer of Israel (Is 49:7). The rest of the chapter is devoted to reminding the nation of Israel of their role in God's plan and the promises He has made to them.

Isaiah has been leading up to this. The kingdoms will fall, God will redeem the remnant and bring them home. He will do this through His servant, the Holy One of Israel. The prophecies we've heard are not just for the immediate future of Israel, they are the revelation of God's plan of redemption for all eternity. 

This is made more clear with Is 50. Israel has been rebellious, the Servant will be obedient. Nonetheless, those who believe in Him will be saved Is 50:10-11). Is 51 develops this point further.

There is startling news in Is 52-53 as God's plan for redemption becomes clear. The deliverance will come through the suffering of the Servant. He will be despised and rejected by His own people. God will afflict Him and crush Him, putting the sin of many upon Him. Finally, once the sin is placed upon Him, God's wrath will be satisfied and the Servant will be exalted (Is 53:10-12). 

It's an incredible twist to the story of a chosen people. Even though they have been unfaithful and disobedient, God, by His grace, will deliver all those who believe through the suffering of His only Son. 

The foundation for redemption is laid. The details will not be understood for nearly eight centuries, not until Jesus Christ, the suffering servant, appears and suffers, taking on the sins of all believers, the sins of you and me, absorbing the wrath of God for us, in our place, and then being lifted up into heaven.

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