God, of old, promised a Redeemer to His people who would also become a Light to the Gentiles.
Through Him, the souls of those looking to Him were to be set free from the bondage of guilt and corruption;
His own should be wonderfully provided for, and through Him, at length,
Israel would be restored and the earth established in righteousness, peace and joy.
1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.
5 ¶ And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.
6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.
8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.
12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
13 ¶ Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
14 But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
17 Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.
18 ¶ Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.
19 For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.
20 The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.
21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?
22 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
24 ¶ Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?
25 But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.
26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
Isaiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Isaiah 49:1-13 – “A Light to the Gentiles”
The second great division of Part 2 opens with Isaiah 49:1. In their first and immediate reference, these verses evidently apply to our Lord. See Acts 13:47, etc. In the mission of Jesus, the ideal of the Hebrew race was realized. As the white flower on the stalk He revealed the essential beauty and glory of the root, Isaiah 49:6. See Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:1-2, 14-15, etc.
There is a secondary sense, also, in which the Christian worker may appropriate many things in this glowing paragraph. Our mouth must be surrendered to God, that He may use it for His own high purposes. But do not dread the shadow of His hand. It is the quiver case in which He keeps His chosen arrows against the battle! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 49:2—In the shadow of his hand hath He hid me.
These words were addressed to Israel, and must be applied to Him who alone has expressed the true genius and spirit of the Hebrew people, that Prince of the House of David whom we call Master and Lord. And in so far as we belong to and resemble Him, we may claim that God should make these words true of us.
The mouth, like a sharp sword, recalls the portrait of the Son of Man, out of whose mouth a sharp two-edged sword proceeded. We may well ask that our words should partake of the nature of the Word of God, which is quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword (Revelation 1:16).
Hidden in the shadow of God’s hand is a safe and strong position for the Christian worker. We all need more of the shadow, and we need not fear it when it is cast by his hand. Our life must be hidden with Christ in God, if we shall come forth largely to influence men. Do not be afraid of the shadow, Christian worker.
The polished shaft is one which is free from rust. Nothing removes rust like friction, whether by the file or sand-paper. We have often to submit to the chafe of tiny irritants in order to keep us polished.
In his quiver hath he hid me.—Always ready for use, within reach of God’s hand, waiting to be adjusted to the bowstring, and launched through the air to some joint in the harness; such should be our attitude. But again it is impressed upon us that we must be hidden through long periods of cessation from active use, content with the darkness of the quiver until the moment of our mission has arrived. Then forward, with the might of God’s hand thrilling through our souls. —Our Daily Homily
Isaiah 49:14-26 – The Lord Cannot Forget His Own
These assurances were given to the chosen race on the eve of their return from Babylon. They were timid and reluctant to quit the familiar scenes of their captivity; they dreaded the dangers and privations of their way home, and questioned whether the great empire of their captors would ever let them go or allow their city to rise from its ruins. Therefore the Lord’s voice takes on a tone of unusual persuasiveness. Let us ponder His assurances of compassion and comfort, Isaiah 49:13, 15-16.
He will lead us with a shepherd’s care, Isaiah 49:10. He will make obstacles subserve His purpose, Isaiah 49:11. His love is more than motherhood, Isaiah 49:15. He treasures the remembrance of His own, Isaiah 49:16. Zion thinks herself cast away as a derelict, Isaiah 49:14, but such is not the case. Even her broken walls are ever before God, with a view to their rebuilding, Isaiah 49:19, etc. God’s love is stronger than our strongest enemies, Isaiah 49:25, etc. Let us hide in it, standing above the fears that compose the cloudland of our soul, in the upper peaks of a strong faith. —Through the Bible Day by Day