Wednesday 30 March 2022

Bible Book:

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights. (v. 1)

Isaiah 42:1-9 Wednesday 30 March 2022

Psalm 107:33-43


Today’s passage is one of four within Isaiah known as the 'servant songs'.  They focus on a servant of God who has been chosen to do God’s work and yet in doing so experiences suffering and dies. They are seen as prophetic statements not only giving hope to a people in exile who will have been the first to hear them, but also to generations to follow who were waiting for a Messiah.

God’s servant’s mission is to “bring forth justice”, a task that is repeatedly emphasised (verses 1, 3 and 4). This could be seen at different levels, with “justice for the nations” (v. 1), thinking about the plight of an exiled nation waiting for the powerful Cyrus the Great, king of the Medes and Persians (550-530 BC) who was to conquer Babylon and bring an end to the Jewish exile. Bringing forth justice also refers to  justice for the blind and the prisoner (v. 7), bringing into focus the needs of the poor and most vulnerable individuals within society.

In contrast to the powerful warlords and rulers, who would so often leave a trail of devastation in their path, the description of the servant suggests sensitivity, humility and peace, someone who does not need to shout or raise their voice to achieve their aims, and who will not be a threat but a support to the frailest, those who could be seen as “a bruised reed” or “dimly burning wick” (v. 3).

But this approach should not be seen as weakness, for the servant will remain resolute. The servant will not be crushed or become tired as they face conflict and difficulties, but will stick to the task until justice is established.  This might seem hard to imagine, particularly when those listening to these words probably knew from experience that those who shout loudest and throw their weight around so often get what they want. However, the servant has the creator God on their side and, as a result, will become “a light to the nations” (v. 6).


To Ponder:

  • Where is there a need for justice today? What role can you play to challenge injustice?
  • How does this image of the servant who does not lift up their voice contrast with that of Jesus driving out the money changers from the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13)?

First published in 2020.

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