Isaiah 42





comparatively few who deny that, in this place at any rate, the “Servant of

the Lord” is the Messiah. The portraiture has “so strong an individuality and

such marked personal features, that it cannot possibly be a mere personified

collective;” and it goes so “infinitely beyond anything of which a man was ever

capable that it can only be the future Christ” (Delitzsch). It may be added that

Matthew in ch. 12:17-21 distinctly applies the passage to our Lord.


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v. 1 -  "My servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul

            delighteth, I have put my spirit upon Him”


Christ was “chosen” from all eternity in God’s counsels to the great

work of man’s redemption, and to be the Mediator between God and



“He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles"


The publication of Christianity throughout all the world has abundantly

fulfilled this promise or prophecy!


vs. 18-20         Acts 13:46-49             Acts 28:24-28


vs. 2 - His methods shall be quiet and gentle – not by clamor or

            noisy demonstrations.


v. 3 - Here the image represents the weak and depressed in spirit, the lowly

and dejected. Christ would deal tenderly with such, not violently. Smoking

flax shall He not quench; rather, the wick which burns dimly (margin) He shall

 not quench. Where the flame of devotion burns at all, however feebly and

dimly, Messiah will take care not to quench it. Rather he will tend it, and trim

it, and give it fresh oil, and cause it to burn more brightly. He shall bring forth

judgment unto truth. But with all this tenderness, this “economy,” this

allowance for the shortcomings and weaknesses of individuals, He will be

uncompromising in His assertion of ABSOLUTE JUSTICE and ABSOLUTE

TRUTH. He will sanction nothing short of the very highest standard of moral

purity and excellence. (For an instance of the combination of extreme

tenderness with unswerving maintenance of an absolute standard – (see

John 8:8-11.)


v. 4 - "He shall not fail or be discouraged....the isles shall wait for His Law" –

            shall long for His Law – the cry for redemption runs through the

            whole human race - an earnest longing for the "Desire of all nations" -

            Haggai 2:7


v. 5 - This announcement about the Servant of the Lord

            is from the Almighty


"He that created the heavens.....He that spread forth the

earth and that which cometh out of it"


All that the earth produces - gold, silver, yea oil, precious

stones, corn, wine, luscious fruits, lovely flowers, all that

sustains life and all that makes life delightful, yea life



 "He that giveth breath unto the people upon it,

            and spirit to them that walk therein"


Dr. Stanley's devotion for April 22nd



vs 6-8 – “I the Lord….give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light

            unto the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners

            from the prison” – The Messiah was to cure both physical and

            spiritual blindness!





            I, the Lord, will do all this - I who am the Self-Existent, Eternal,   

            Independent, Omnipotent, and therefore Unique One whose glory

            cannot be shared with any other being - least of all images

            and/or idols which are mere vanity & nothingness!




A SONG OF PRAISE AND JUBILATION. Jehovah is still the speaker.

He begins by promising a new revelation (v. 9). Then, before the

revelation is made, He calls upon the nations — especially those in the

vicinity of Palestine — to rejoice at what is about to happen (vs. 10-12).

After this He proceeds to make the announcement promised in v. 9 — an

announcement that He is about to deliver His people (v. 16) and to

execute vengeance on their enemies (vs. 13-15 and 17).



v. 10 - "sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise

            from the end of the earth"


vs. 13-14 – “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, He shall stir up

            jealousy like a man of war: He shall cry, yea, roar; He shall prevail

            against His enemies.  I have long time holden my peace; I have been

            still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I

            will destroy and devour at once.”


God is about to make one of the great manifestations of His power upon

the earth – He will “pant and gasp” as a woman giving birth!


v. 15a

v. 16




HAVE DESERVED THEIR AFFLICTIONS.   This is addressed to captive

Israel, and especially of that “outer circle” which was least

deserving of God’s favor and most open to rebuke and reproach. These

blind and “deaf” ones are warned that it is high time for them to unclose

their eyes and open their ears, and are reminded that all their recent and

present sufferings arise from their former “blindness” and disobedience.


v. 18 - The blindness of Israel – “Hear, ye deaf-  The “deaf” are not

absolutely without hearing, nor the “blind” absolutely without sight. They

can “hear” and “see,” if they choose to do so. When they do not see, it is

because they “wink with their eyes” (Matthew 13:15); when they do not hear,

it is because, like the deaf adder, they “stop their ears (Psalm 58:4).



            God addresses the mass of Israel as still possessed of moral

            discernment, if they will but use it, and calls upon them to

            "wake up" to "hear and see"



OF AMERICA!!??????????????


v. 20 - Israel had "seen many things" but had not profited by it by being

            observant as they should have been.


            Of you and me it can be said For verily I say unto you, That many

            prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which

            ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear,

            and have not heard them.   -  Matt. 13:17  - see vs. 14-16 – same ch.




v. 21 - "He will magnify the Law, and make it honorable"


He set it before the people in all its honor and glory -  It is not just the

original giving of the Law at Sinai only that is meant, but also its

constant inculcation by a long series of prophets.   Israel’s experience

(v. 29) had included all this; but they had not profited by the instruction

addressed to them.


v. 22 – “none saith Restore” – when I think of what has been swept under

            the rug in American religious culture by the ACLU and “people

            who love to have it so” – Jeremiah 5:31 – I mourn!  Especially

            with those who like the above people characterized as “NOT

            INTERESTED IN RESTORATION!”(CY – 2009)


vs. 23 - Who among you will give ear? Surely there are some among

            you, less hardened than the rest, who will take advantage of my

            warning, and repent at this, the eleventh hour!!!!???????


v. 24 -  Isaiah identifies himself with his people in loving sympathy just

            as Ezra and  Daniel did -  A Great Individual study -  the prayers of:


  • Ezra 9:6-15
  • Daniel 9:5-23







v. 25 – HOW TRAGIC -  it hath set him on fire round about, yet he

            knew it not, and it burned him, YET HE LAID IT NOT TO



Israel did not change her ways and as a whole was not bettered by

the Captivity – Compare Revelation - 16:8-9





                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES


We are taught to “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them

that weep” (Romans 12:15). In the present passage of Isaiah the whole world

seems to be called upon to sympathize with Israel’s deliverance from captivity,

and its consequences, which were the re-establishment of a visible Church of

God upon the earth — a Church which would be a perpetual witness for Him,

and out of which, in a certain sense, would be developed that “Church of

Christ,” against which the gates of hell would not prevail, and which would

continue “even to the end of the world.”


vs. 18-25 - The Blindness of Israel.


The “blindness” of Israel is a subject of continual remark in Scripture from

the time of Moses (Deuteronomy 28:28, 29) to that of St. Paul (Romans 11:25,

II Corinthians 3:13-16).  Four things may be noted of it:


I. IT IS SELF-CAUSED. The Israelites “blinded themselves,” and so

became blind (Isaiah 29:9). They “winked with their eyes,” closed them

against the light which shone on them from on high, and thus gradually

by disuse lost the power of spiritual discernment (see below on

Isaiah 29:9, 10). The process is a natural one. It is a law of nature that

every disused part of an organism shall dwindle away and

decay. “There are certain burrowing animals — the mole, for instance —

which have taken to spending their lives beneath the surface of the ground.

And Nature has taken her revenge upon them in a thoroughly natural way

she has closed up their eyes. If they mean to live in darkness, she

argues, eyes are obviously a superfluous function. By neglecting them,

these animals made it clear that they did not want them. And as one of

Nature’s fixed principles is that nothing shall exist in vain, the eyes are

presently taken away, or reduced to a rudimentary state. There are fishes

which have had to pay the same terrible forfeit for having made their abode

in dark caverns, where eyes can never be required. And in exactly the same

way the spiritual eye must die and lose its power by purely natural law, if

the soul choose to walk in darkness rather than light”



Nature’s laws are God’s decrees. In making it a law of nature that

destruction of an organ or a function should follow disuse, God was

passing a sentence on those who wilfully scorned any of His gifts. Hence He

is constantly said in Scripture to “blind men’s eyes” and “harden their

hearts (Exodus 4:21; 9..12; Deuteronomy 28:28; Matthew 12:16;

John 12:40; Romans 11:8), and Israel’s “blindness” is distinctly ascribed

to Him in Isaiah 6:10; 29:10. “Because they did not like to retain God in

their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28).


III. IT IS PARTIAL. “Blindness in part is happened unto Israel

(Romans 11:25). At no time did God leave Himself without a witness.

At no time did the whole of Israel become blind. At the worst period of the

Phoenician idolatry, there were yet in Samaria seven thousand who had not

bowed -the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18). In Isaiah’s time, God had still

left Him in Judah a “remnant” (Isaiah 1:9; 10:20-21; 46:3). When our Lord

came, it was from among the Israelites that He gathered his “little flock”

(Luke 12:32). Since then in every age there have been converts —

many of them “shining lights” — to Christianity from Judaism. Even now

the Christian will not lightly let fall the hope of an ultimate great ingathering

of Israel into the one fold. “The veil shall be taken away” some

day (2 Corinthians 3:16), and then shall Israel “turn to the Lord” and

worship His Christ.


IV. IT IS, TO SOME EXTENT, CURABLE. Isaiah calls upon the blind

to “look, that they may see” (v. 18). There are infinite intermediate

conditions between perfectly healthy sight and absolute blindness.

Comparatively few of the Israelites were at any time absolutely blind. The

great majority were more or less dim-sighted. So long as this is the case,

whether physically or morally, there is a possibility of recovery. The organ

is not destroyed; it may by care and use be rendered capable of once more

properly performing its function. Isaiah speaks of a time when “the eyes of

the blind would see out of obscurity and out of darkness” (Isaiah

29:18). May it not be hoped that the time is approaching for the Jewish

people — the time when Israel after the:flesh will once more become an

important portion of the Israel of God”?


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                                    Two Kinds of Spiritual Blindness.

                                     (comments from Isaiah 29:9-10)


Spiritual blindness is not the natural condition of man. God has given to all

men a certain power of spiritual discernment. (Titus 2:11) He is “the Light which

lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). Children are

invariably found to be teachable at an early age — to have a power of

receiving and appreciating spiritual verities. The spiritually blind have

become such, and in their condition we may trace two stages.


I. THE INITIAL STAGE. The commencement of spiritual blindness is a

willful shutting of the eyes.  “For this they willingly are ignorant” – II Peter 3:5

Instead of seeking to see, striving to see, looking out for the spiritual in life and

action, men turn away from it, “wink with their eyes,” put veils over them, refuse

to let the light of truth shine in upon their understandings. They “love darkness

rather than light” (John 3:19). The whole of life should be a continual exercise of

the spiritual discerning power. Men give the power as little exercise as

possible. They weaken it by disuse (atrophy). After a while they deprave it, so

that its judgments become uncertain — even false.


II. THE FINAL STAGE. In Scripture the final stage is called “a reprobate

mind,” literally, “an undistinguishing mind (ajdokimo<v nou~v).” By the law

of God’s providence, the willful shutting of the eyes leads on to an inability

to see. The moral vision becomes actually distorted. The “light that is

within a man becomes “darkness;” and then, “how great is that darkness!”

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount – “If therefore the light that is in thee

be darkness, HOW GREAT IS THAT DARKNESS” -  Who are you

listening to? “Bitter is put for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20), “good

for evil, and evil for good.” The state is hopeless, irremediable!  It results

naturally from the repeated sins against light of the first stage; but it is none

the less God’s judgment upon the sinner. Hence it has been called “judicial

blindness — an expressive name.


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