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Isaiah 49:1-13

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

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.” -Isaiah 49:4 [NIV]

The Book of Isaiah has clearly portrayed the picture of God's Servant in all its vivid colours. Its chapters are mingled with a description of the redemption of His chosen people along with a comprehensive view of God's dealings to the surrounding nations. It is very interesting to see Christ from the Old Testament point of view, especially through the eyes of the Prophet Isaiah.

The basic themes of this well-known chapter are:

  • Preparation of God's Servant.

  • Mission of the Servant.

  • Restoration of Israel.

The Lord calls His servant from the womb of His mother (Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:31-33; Galatians 1:15) and prepares Him under His own supervision (Isa. 49:1-2). The preparation part is summarized as making His Servant like a sword and an arrow. This is the same sword that will pierce the heart and souls of His rebelling people to bring them to obedience. As we read in Hebrews 4:12-13 (For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.)

After all this wonderful preparation and commitment from the part of God and His Servant, the end result was an apparent failure. We see how Jesus went through the same situation as described in this verse quoted above. After all His efforts, we see everybody deserting him and fleeing away at the time of His death on the cross. He surrendered even His apparent losses to the very hand of God which trained Him and sent him for this task. The latter part of our verse summarizes this hope in God- “Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God."

God has richly rewarded His servant with a bounty- He not only gave the Jews as His inheritance but also the Gentiles from the ends of the earth. All the nations became His inheritance. Even though the earthly life of Jesus did not see the promise being fulfilled, after His death, in eternity He is delighting in this sweet victory. Every day now adds on to this glory as multitudes turn their hearts to their Lord and surrender their very lives to Him. This is what we see described in the following two verses. (In Isaiah 49:6 he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.")

Similarly, all who labour in His kingdom pass through the same kind of trials. They may not see any great victory for their work in their lifetime, but they will see how their work has become a great blessing to many, in the ages to come. Their great reward is safe in the hands of the Lord!

Prayer: Dear Father it is our humble prayer that, like our Master, we will toil till our last breath and wait for our rich reward that is in heaven. Help us not to settle for anything less this world might offer. In Jesus name. Amen.

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