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Septuagint 43: Isaiah Journal 2.17

By Christina M Wilson. Previously posted at https://justonesmallvoice.com/septuagint-43-isaiah-devotional-2-17/.

This article will be semi-technical.

Thank God for Greek!

Whichever people may have translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek (the Septuagint), they did so with great sensitivity to God’s Holy Spirit. This manifests in the specific Greek words used. These translators did not shy away from using words that point to Messiah. Many of the Greek words and word stems of the Septuagint also occur in the Greek of the New Testament. Readers have many tools to access both the Greek of the Septuagint and the Greek in which the New Testament was written. Comparing the two testaments Greek to Greek yields rich rewards.

These are some of the readily available language tools:

  • interlinear or side by side editions of the Septuagint showing both the Greek and the English (or other language) translation
  • interlinear New Testaments with one’s native language displayed word by word under the Greek
  • biblical editions that show Strong’s numbers for each word in one’s native language, or for each Greek word
  • a multitude of highly detailed lexicons and concordances
  • on-line lessons, printed textbooks, and in-person classes to learn Greek
  • some links are included in the footnotes (1)

Christian Correspondences with Isaiah 43


1 And now thus saith the Lord God that made thee, O Jacob, and formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Brenton)

  1. God through Isaiah speaks to Israel in first person. The text states that God specifically created and formed Jacob, also known as Israel. Using an entirely different word, Christ says in Matthew16:18, “On this rock I will build my church.” Paul in Ephesians 2:20 speaks of the church as having been “built.”
  2. Although one study Bible uses the words “will protect” for “have redeemed,” most English translations stick to “redeemed.” This word occurs multiple times in both testaments. Christ in the New Testament is known as “redeemer.” (See also Isaiah 43:14. The “Lord God” does far more than “protect” Israel. He redeems her.)

Luke 1:68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people. (ESV)

Luke 24:21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. (ESV)

Calling By Name

In the Septuagint, God speaks to Israel, “I have called you by name.” In the New Testament, Jesus calls by name.

John 10:3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out… 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (ESV)

Paul also speaks of members of the church (Israelites and Gentiles) as those whom God calls.

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)


God appoints Israel as his witness.

10 Be ye my witnesses, and I too am a witness, saith the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I am he: before me there was no other God, and after me there shall be none. 11 I am God; and beside me there is no Saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved; I have reproached, and there was no strange god among you: ye are my witnesses, and I am the Lord God, 13 even from the beginning; and there is none that can deliver out of my hands: I will work, and who shall turn it back? (Brenton)


First, notice the construction of the sentence in verse 10. The Greek itself is very similar in construction (Isaiah 43:10 LXX). The plain meaning, out of context, would be that there are three witnesses: Israel (“Be ye my witnesses“), the Lord God, and “my servant whom I have chosen.” When including the context, an argument could be made that this is a very awkward construction indicating two witnesses: the Lord God and Israel, who is also the Lord’s servant. Against this interpretation lies the fact that the first phrase  is second personal plural (be ye, witnesses). The third phrase, “my servant whom I have chosen,” is singular. If the reader extends the context back to chapter 41, to which this chapter is closely linked, the servant could well be the singular Servant of Isaiah 41:8 forward.

Within the four Gospels, Jesus claims that God himself is his witness.

John 5:37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,

John 8:18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

John 17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,

John 18:37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world– to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

And, Messiah (Jesus) witnesses to the Father.

John 8:26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”

John 8:40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.

John 3:11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.

John 8:29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” (Joh 8:29 ESV)


Isaiah 43:10 Be ye my witnesses… 12… ye are my witnesses

As the Lord God commanded Israel to be his witnesses, so Messiah commands his disciples to be his witnesses.


Luke 24:48 You are witnesses of these things.

John 15:27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Acts1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.


Notice the similarity in the following two statements, one from the Septuagint, spoken by the “Lord God,” and the other from the New Testament, spoken by Christ. The actual Greek words “deliver” (ἐξαιρέω) and “snatch out” (ἁρπάζω) are different. In the context of these sentences, however, they are synonymous.

12… I am the Lord God, 13… and there is none that can deliver out of my hands: (Brenton

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (ESV)

“I Am” Statements

The Gospel of John is famous for Jesus’s many “I am,” statements. There are a few, however, which follow the Old Testament formulation in Isaiah 43 exactly.

John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he (ἐγώ εἰμι), you will die in your sins.” 

John 8:28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he (ἐγώ εἰμι), and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.

Isaiah 43:10 Be ye my witnesses, and I too am a witness, saith the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I am he (ἐγώ εἰμι): before me  there was no other God, and after me there shall be none.

Isaiah 43:25 <1> I, even I, am he that blots out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and thy sins; and I will not remember them. {1) Gr. I am, I am} (LXE, Brenton)

Isaiah 43:25 ἐγώ εἰμι ἐγώ εἰμι… (I am, I am) (Isaiah 43:25, LXT)

And John is not the only gospel in which Jesus claims the divine Being. Mark also includes this testimony.

 Mark 14:61… Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am (ἐγώ εἰμι), and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 

A Chosen Race

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do new things, which shall presently spring forth, and ye shall know them: and I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land. 20 the beasts of the field shall bless me, the owls and young ostriches; for I have given water in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land, to give drink to my chosen race, 21 my people whom I have preserved to tell forth my praises. (Brenton

The phrase “chosen race” in the Septuagint, or “chosen people” in the Hebrew, is all but unique in the Old Testament. A digital search engine shows “chosen people” and “chosen race” nowhere else in the Old Testament, other than Septuagint Esther 8:13.  Various Greek lexicons define the word γένος (gen-os) as: 1) race, offspring, descendants, family; 2) nation, people; and 3) class, kind (Thayer, and Gingrich).

The New Testament likewise uses the phrase “chosen race, γένος (gen-os)” just once. Peter’s statement closely resembles Isaiah’s use of the phrase “chosen race” in verse 20. Peter combines verses 20 and 21.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race (γένος), a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

The shortened form, “chosen” as in “my chosen” occurs more frequently in both testaments.


Isaiah 43 speaks often of water. The occurrences of water fall into two categories. The first category is dangerous water. The second category is the water necessary for life. This section will consider the second category, the water of life. The Gospels also relate Jesus/Messiah’s ministry in connection with two categories of water: dangerous water and the water that gives life.


Isaiah 43:2 And if thou pass through water, I am with thee; and the rivers shall not overflow thee… (Brenton

Isaiah 43:16 Thus saith the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty water; (Brenton

And from the New Testament–

Mark 4:37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 

John 6:16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.


From Isaiah 43–

43:19… I will make… rivers in the dry land. 20 The beasts of the field shall bless me, the owls and young ostriches; for I have given water in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land, to give drink to my chosen race, (Brenton) [Note: The ESV writes, “rivers in the desert.”]

And from the mouth of Messiah–

John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”

John 4:13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


God through Isaiah seems to never grow weary of calling out Israel’s blindness.

Isaiah 43:8 and I have brought forth the blind people; for their eyes are alike blind, and they that have ears are deaf. 

Messiah in his ministry did the same with the religious leaders of his day.

Matthew 23:24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 

John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

Jesus in his day healed many who were physically blind. Which is more difficult? To heal a physically blind person or to give spiritual life and sight to a spiritually blind person? Jesus did both.

Matthew 20:30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.

John 12:46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

Summary: The Christian Message

Septuagint Isaiah 43 speaks the Christian message.

First, verses 1 through 7 cry out the Lord’s love for his people (Isaiah 43:1-7). For Christians, this includes all people everywhere. God seeks out his own and calls them by name from the far corners of the earth. No one is too far away to be saved. He cares for his people, provides for them, and protects them.

Second, just as Israel was a witness among the nations (Isaiah 43:8-21) to the existence, sovereignty, might, and eternity of the Lord God, Christians are witnesses of the same. Most importantly, Christians witness that Christ came in the flesh, died and was buried, arose from the grave, and ascended into heaven. The first Christians saw all these things. Christians further witness that Jesus Messiah sent his Holy Spirit to take his place in the hearts of believers everywhere. This is how Christians know that Jesus lives.

Third, the Christian message is inclusive. The Lord’s people are one. Isaiah 43:5-7 indicates this truth, which will be developed further as Isaiah progresses. There are no ethnic nor language barriers in the body of Christ. The body of Christ includes all people who believe, both those of Israeli descent and Gentiles. There is no separation. God and Messiah are one. Their people are one.

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

Fourth, God judges his people as being blind, distant from him, and sinful (Isaiah 43:22-28). Yet, he is willing to forgive them. He will do this for himself (Isaiah 43:25). The Christian message is that all people have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Yet God in Christ will forgive them.

Fifth, confession and repentance are necessary.

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blots out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and thy sins; and I will not remember them. 26 But do thou remember, and let us plead together: do thou first confess thy transgressions, that thou mayest be justified [made righteous (SAAS)].

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

When one reads through Isaiah 43, God appears to be as though he were a lover spurned. I see a God who is bending over backward, pleading with his people to return to him. Yet, verses 27-28 indicates that they have turned against him, to their shame and destruction. Why did God’s people not love him

But the story has not ended. It continues. And, God’s message today is the same as yesterday.

 Hebrews 3:15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 



1 Brenton’s English Septuagint; New English Translation of the Septuagint, translated by Moisés Silva NETSAbarim Interlinear New TestamentBlue Letter Bible Septuagint in Greek with links to Strong’s concordance for each word. All links accessed October 28, 2021.

Christians and Isaiah: Isaiah Journal 2.16

By Christina M Wilson. Posted at https://justonesmallvoice.com/christians-and-isaiah-43-isaiah-devotional-2-16/.

God Pours Out His Love

God pours out his love for his people in Isaiah 43. Here are a few of the opening statements.

1 … “Fear not, for I redeemed you. I called you by your name, for you are Mine.

2 If you pass through water, I am with you; and the rivers shall not overflow you. If you pass through fire, you shall not be burned up, nor shall the flame consume you.

3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, who saves you…

4 Since you were precious in My sight, you became glorious, and I love you. I will give many men for you and rulers to lead you.

5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west.

6 I will say to the north, “Bring them,” and to the south, ‘Do not keep them back. Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth–everyone called by My name.’

7 For in my glory I prepared him, and formed and made him.” (SAAS) (1)

Question: Do the Above Verses Apply to Christians?

First, there is no doubt that God speaks to Israel in Isaiah 43:1-7. But does he also speak to Christians in these verses? A first response would be that Christians all over the world do apply these verses to themselves. Hallelujia! But under what warrant?

Yes, I believe that Christians are justified in applying these verses to themselves. The reason is that Gentiles have been included in God’s olive tree, Israel.

  1. First, God’s prophecy concerning a Savior applies to all humankind (Genesis 3:15).
  2. Second, God made Abraham the father of many nations (πατέρα πολλῶν ἐθνῶν) (Genesis 17:5). Israel after Solomon consisted of only two kingdoms, whereas Gentile nations fill the world. They are indeed a multitude of nations.
  3. The language of Isaiah 43:5-6 indicates Israel’s seed will include people from all over the world. But the various captivities by Assyria and Babylon didn’t carry Israelites to the “ends of the earth.”
  4. Many of Jesus’s parables indicate a broadening of God’s people (Matthew 21:33-41; 22:1-10). Jesus also spoke the following words in reply to some Greeks (Gentiles) who wanted to meet with him, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself,” (John 12:32).
  5. The Apostle Paul expounded in detail how the Gentiles would be grafted in to Israel’s tree (Romans 9:22-26; 10:11-13; 11:17-24).
  6. Jesus commanded his original disciples to “ 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) 
  7. Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are One. God said to Israel, “I am with you,” (Isaiah 43:2, 5). Jesus said to his disciples, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Because the seed of Israel includes the church, God’s statements to Israel in Isaiah 43 must also include the church.

Obviously, these verses are very important to Christians.

Do These Verses Apply to Israel?

Clearly, the words God spoke to Israel through the prophet Isaiah apply to the seed of Israel. How can two groups–Christians and Israelites–receive the same promises from God? The answer is, when Israel and the church become one. And when will that happen? It has already happened in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul explains it most fully in the verses quoted in point number six above (Romans 9:22-26; 10:11-13; 11:17-24). Paul also speaks clearly in Ephesians.

 Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, (ESV)

The “law of commandments expressed in ordinances” is the Mosaic law in all its fulness. This was the first covenant. Israel broke that covenant by their disobedience (Jeremiah 31:32; Isaiah 43:28; Hebrews 8:6-13).

Hebrews 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. 

But God’s promises still stand. Jesus Christ is the seed of Abraham in whom every promise of God is yes and amen (Galatians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 1:20).

The Church Is Israel

The first Christians were all of Israel. Christ came to minister to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” (Matthew 10:5-7; 15:24). The first Christians, and Christ himself, were Israelites. But the bulk of Israel did not believe. The Apostle Paul mourns the tragedy of Israel’s having rejected her King.

Romans 9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ– I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit–2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (ESV)

Yet the gospel message is joy and hope, not sorrow. Paul finds joy in knowing that a remnant of Israel has believed. This is what Isaiah prophesies throughout (see Isaiah Devotional 2.14). The believing remnant of Israel is the holy root of the olive tree to which the non-native Gentiles have been grafted. The church began as the believing remnant of Israel. God fulfilled his promises and prophecies to them. Isaiah 43 has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. By God’s grace alone we Gentiles have been blessed by God’s grafting us into that holy root to share as newcomers in those promises.

Paul also expresses his hope for all of Israel to be saved.

Romans 11:24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (ESV)


Attention should be drawn to three points in the above verses.

  1. Notice the manner in which Israel will be saved. Verse 24 states that “the natural branches [will] be grafted back into their own olive tree.” The manner of this grafting back will be by God’s removing the hardness of their heart (verse 25). That is,  their hearts will be softened to receive Jesus Christ as their Messiah King, which indeed he is. And we know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Therefore, people of Jewish faith need to be evangelized, along with everyone else in the world.
  2. The tree is Israel’s own native olive tree. That is, the olive tree is Israel. This is the same Israel that was born and raised in the Old Testament. But the point to note is that the tree onto which Israelites will be grafted–their very own native olive tree–has changed. How has their tree changed? Simply this, myriads of Gentile believers in Israel’s Messiah King have been grafted onto that same tree. Many siblings have been born. Israel is no longer an only child. (Oh Israel, please do not be like the elder brother in Jesus’s parable of the prodigal son.)
  3. Paul’s phrase, “all Israel” stands in contrast to “partial hardening,” and alongside the “fullness of the Gentiles.” Paul seems to be saying that in contrast to the remnant which is currently saved, the fullness of Israel–“all Israel”–will be saved.

Amen! So may it be.


The thrust and conclusion of the argument (presentation) of this post can be arrived at by means of an entirely different biblical pathway. That pathway is through the Psalter. The Psalter contains a series of five psalms that work together in chronological order (Psalms 56-60). They tell the story of Israel’s rejection and slaying of Messiah, her King, her God in human form. God in turn rejects Israel. The King, however, is resurrected. The prophetically resurrected King then prays that Israel would receive a  temporary punishment. This punishment would be for God to scatter them. The alternative punishment would be to annihilate them. The risen King prophetically prays for Israel’s forgiveness, and ultimately her restoration (2). The last post of this series can be accessed here: Restoration of Israel. The interpretation of these Septuagint psalms (56-60) agrees closely with the argument concerning Israel that Paul presents in Romans 9-11.

A Peek Ahead

Now that this groundwork has been laid, the next post, Lord willing, will demonstrate the various ways in which Isaiah 43 is fully Christian. And please remember that Christian = Israel + Gentiles.


1 SAAS: “Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

2 The “prophetically resurrected” King “prophetically prays” because the psalms were written centuries before the incarnation.

You Are My Witnesses: Isaiah Journal 2.15

By Christina M Wilson. Published previously at https://justonesmallvoice.com/witnesses-isaiah-devotional-2-15/.

Who Is God?

Where should the reader place their steady gaze in Isaiah? Upon the people of Israel or upon the God who made them? Isaiah 42:18-25 exposes Israel as a people blind, deaf, disobedient, and carried away into captivity.

Isaiah 42:18 Hear, ye deaf, and look up, ye blind, to see. 19 And who is blind, but my servants? and deaf, but they that rule over them? yea, the servants of God have been made blind.

… 25 So he brought upon them the fury of his wrath; and the war, and those that burnt round about them, prevailed against them; yet no one of them knew it, neither did they lay it to heart. (Septuagint, Brenton)

The very next set of verses focuses on God and displays his nature. (1)

  • God created Israel and claims them (Isaiah 43:1).
  • God is companion to Israel who miraculously protects them (Isaiah 43:2).
  • God is Savior (Isaiah 43:3).
  • God loves Israel and glorifies his precious people (Isaiah 43:4).
  • God has not abandoned his people, but has stayed with them. He comforts and calls them. He calls their children from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. He’s given them his name. (Isaiah 43:5-7).
  • God created Israel in and for his own glory (Isaiah 43:7) (2).

 Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

And, as if to emphasize the point that God is the one to be worshiped, not his created people Israel, verse 8 refers back to his blind people. (See Isaiah 42:18-19 above).

8 and I have brought forth the blind people; for their eyes are alike blind, and they that have ears are deaf. (Septuagint, Brenton)

Christians need to be careful not to place Israel at the center of their theology. Israel is not to be worshiped as the central figure. That place belongs to God, who created them. Israel’s sin was to turn from God, to follow their own path. This path led them to worship idols, as all the other nations did. Messiah is God’s singular Servant, Israel. He alone is to be worshiped. Just as Christians should not worship the church, neither should they worship Israel. Christ should be the center of a Christian’s theology in both Old and New Testaments, not Christ’s Old Testament people, Israel.

Who Are Israel?

What then, is Israel’s purpose? Is it Israel’s purpose to be glorified in a “millennial” kingdom? Does all human history lead the world to that point? Isaiah clearly speaks out Israel’s purpose. Israel’s purpose is to witness to God.

10 Be ye my witnesses, and I too am a witness, saith the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I am he: before me there was no other God, and after me there shall be none. (Septuagint, Brenton)

God declares Israel’s purpose in Isaiah 43:10-21. Israel’s purpose is to witness that God is God. He is the great “I Am.” He proclaims beforehand his salvation (Isaiah 43:12), he brings it about, and no one can reverse his plan, or “deliver out” of his hands (verse 13).

As proof, God in this passage announces that he will deliver his people from the clutches of Babylon. They will be destroyed. (This is the first mention by name of Babylon since chapter 40 began this new volume.) None of the gods of the nations can make these kinds of predictions and bring them about (Isaiah 43:9). God predicts Israel’s deliverance from Babylon. Afterwards, when this happens, Israel witnesses to God and his might by their having been brought out and returned to their own land. Yes, we can all cheer that Israel gets their reward. But our greatest cheering (praise) should be for God who did it. Indeed, God’s goal in chapter 43 is to win the heart of his own people over.

What Israel Are Not

Israel’s witness concerning God is not about themselves and any future glory they may or may not have. Israel’s witness is that God loves them and never abandons them. It is God who is the hero, not Israel. Almost like a repeat of Isaiah 42:18-25, God lays it out plainly to Israel how they have failed him (Isaiah 43:22-28).

They haven’t brought him sheep nor whole burnt offerings, nor sacrifices, frankincense, nor costly incense (verses 23-24). But what God really wants from them is their heart, their willful obedience. That they never gave him.

Isaiah 43:27 Your fathers first, and your princes have transgressed against me. 28 And the princes have defiled my sanctuaries: so I gave Jacob to enemies to destroy, and Israel to reproach. (Septuagint, Brenton)

A Peek Ahead

Yet God does not give up. His plan is dependent upon himself, not upon Israel. Chapter 44 flips back again to blessing. Before moving on to Isaiah 44 I’d like to spend a bit of time on how the Septuagint points to Christ in chapter 43. This, Lord willing, will happen in a future post.


1 Notice the inclusio. Isaiah 43:1-8 begin and end with God as creator. These verses are like the slices of bread that hold a sandwich together.

Isaiah’s Flip-Flops: Isaiah Journal 2.14

By Christina M Wilson. Previously published at https://justonesmallvoice.com/isaiahs-flip-flops-isaiah-devotional-2-14/.

God’s Problem

God created humankind for his glory.

 Genesis 1:31 And God saw all the things that he had made, and, behold, they were very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Then, as everyone knows, God’s enemy Satan attempted to ruin God’s creation. He enticed the people God had created away from their loyalty to God. God punished the world by sending an enormous flood (Genesis 6-9). After this flood, the Old Testament records how God seemingly gave up on the bulk of the world’s people (Genesis 7-11). Rather, he chose to focus upon a small group. They were the progeny of God’s faithful servant and friend, Abraham. They became known as “Israel.” God chose this small group to be his showcase, his special witnesses. They were to demonstrate God’s character of goodness and righteousness to the world.

But that didn’t happen. God had given them a glorious Law. But these people of his kept ignoring, losing, and disobeying it. They left God again and again to worship the gods of the nations. Repeatedly, the Old Testament records how God punished his people by allowing their enemies to trod them underfoot. When they repented, God would bless them. But their loyalty never endured. Continuously, they recommitted the sin of their first parents. Over and over again, they left the God who loved them and followed the idols of the false gods of the nations surrounding them.

God’s problem in a nutshell is that he is faithful, but those he seeks to bless are not.

God’s Problem Expressed in Isaiah

The book of Isaiah is like the weather in Southern California. The climate there never settles down. Heat follows cold and flood follows drought, all in rapid succession. Throughout the entire year, the weather proves itself erratic. The book of Isaiah is like this. Isaiah bounces back and forth between assurances of blessing for Israel and pronouncements of judgment. Isaiah 42:16-44:8 provides a good example of this principle.

Isaiah 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not, and I will cause them to tread paths which they have not known: I will turn darkness into light for them, and crooked things into straight. These things will I do, and will not forsake them. 17 But they are turned back: be ye utterly ashamed that trust in graven images, who say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. 18 Hear, ye deaf, and look up, ye blind, to see. 19 And who is blind, but my servants? and deaf, but they that rule over them? yea, the servants of God have been made blind. (Septuagint, Brenton)

First, notice God’s blessing and promise in verse 16 above. Then, see the statement of the problem in verses 17 through 19. Description of the problem and God’s response of judgment against Israel continues through the end of the chapter in verse 25.

Isaiah 42:25 So he brought upon them the fury of his wrath; and the war, and those that burnt round about them, prevailed against them; yet no one of them knew it, neither did they lay it to heart. (Septuagint, Brenton) (See also Isaiah 42:25, ESV or Isaiah 42:25, NET.)

Then, Isaiah 43:1 switches back immediately to God’s assurance of blessing. God’s blessing continues throughout chapter 43 and into chapter 44.

And now thus saith the Lord God that made thee, O Jacob, and formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Septuagint, Brenton

God’s Solution 

Part One: Messiah

How can a reader deal with these flip-flops? Is either God himself, or Isaiah, or both schizophrenic? What is God’s intention: blessing or judgment? He seems to insist on both. No, God is not schizophrenic, and everything he says he will do, he will do. The resolution to the seeming contradiction goes all the way back to the very beginning. God has always had a plan. And God’s plan has always been to send people their Savior.

Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall be on guard for His heel. (SAAS) (1)

A Savior will be born into the people of Israel. He will be God’s singular Servant, God’s Son. The Savior/Servant will obey God fully and always. He alone will accomplish God’s purposes of righteousness and loyalty on behalf of all Israel.


God’s glory against the backdrop of Israel’s failure (Israel, plural) first appears in Isaiah 4:2-6. Note especially verses 4 and 5.

 Isaiah 4:2 And in that day God shall shine gloriously in counsel on the earth, to exalt and glorify the remnant of Israel. 3 And it shall be, that the remnant left in Sion, and the remnant left in Jerusalem, even all that are appointed to life in Jerusalem, shall be called holy. 4 For the Lord shall wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Sion, and shall purge out the blood from the midst of them, with the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning. 5 And he shall come, and it shall be with regard to every place of mount Sion, yea, all the region round about it shall a cloud overshadow by day, and there shall be as it were the smoke and light of fire burning by night: and upon all the glory shall be a defence. 6 And it shall be for a shadow from the heat, and as a shelter and a hiding-place from inclemency of weather and from rain. (Septuagint, Brenton

Without the New Testament, these verses would remain unfulfilled. But Christ has completely fulfilled this promise. Thank God for the light the New Testament sheds.

First, the Lord washed away the filth of not only the sons and daughters of Sion but of the whole world on the cross. Second, Christ continues that work by means of his Holy Spirit. Third, the Holy Spirit is also the Comforter (or, Helper), who defends and shelters God’s new Israel, the church, from adversity and from enemies.

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (ESV)

Notice the similarities between the images Matthew uses and those of Isaiah 4:4, quoted above. The Apostle John speaks more of the Holy Spirit, see below, much as Isaiah does in Isaiah 42:5-6, quoted earlier.

John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (ESV)

Isaiah’s verses find fulfillment in the activities of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (ESV)

Readers can find further references to the Savior in Isaiah, up to this point, in Isaiah 9:1-6; 11:1-16; 12:1-6; 22:20-24; 32:1-4, 15-20; 40:1-11; and 42:1-16. This list may not be exhaustive.

Part Two: A Remnant

All Scripture is clear that only a remnant will be saved. Noah’s boat provides the first example. It carried only eight people to safety (Genesis 7:13). Israel itself is but a remnant of the entire human race. Further, Isaiah makes clear that only a remnant of Israel will be saved.

Isaiah 10:20 And its hall come to pas sin that day that the remnant of Israel shall no more join themselves with, and the saved of Jacob shall no more trust in, them that injured them; but they shall trust in the Holy God of Israel, in truth. 21 And the remnant of Jacob shall trust on the mighty God. 22And though the people of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them shall be saved. (Septuagint, Brenton)

Isaiah 4:3 And it shall be, that the remnant left in Sion, and the remnant left in Jerusalem, even all that are appointed to life in Jerusalem, shall be called holy. 4 For the Lord shall wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Sion, and shall purge out the blood from the midst of them, with the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning. (Septuagint, Brenton) [See also Isaiah 28:5; 37:31-32; and 46:3-4. There may be other references.]

The Apostle Paul, an Israelite among Israelites (Romans 11:1 and Philippians 3:4-5), picked up and expounded Isaiah’s theme of a remnant from Israel. To this remnant are added as many Gentiles as choose to come.

Romans 9:27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the and of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” (ESV) [And see all of Romans 9.)

Romans 11:4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (ESV) [See the complete context in Romans 11.]

Jesus himself spoke of a small proportion that would be saved.

Matthew 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (ESV)

Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” (ESV)

Luke 13:22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. (ESV)


I don’t believe God’s purpose in specifying a remnant is to limit the number of people who finally enter the gates of his kingdom. (Neither should we.) Other places in Scripture claim that number will be as many as the sand in the sea and the stars in the sky (Revelation 7:9 is one such place). Rather, God seeks to emphasize that only those who believe, repent, and faithfully (continuously until the end) trust in and follow God as Lord, Savior, and King will be saved. Because God makes a promise to save Israel does not mean that he will save the arrogant, the hard of heart, or those unrepentantly disobedient to his will. That has never been God’s purpose. By means of the cross of his holy Servant, Jesus Christ, God gives everyone–Israelite and Gentile alike–opportunity to repent, be saved, and find their rest in him.


1 SAAS: “Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Big Picture and Details: Isaiah Journal 2.13

By Christina M Wilson. Originally posted at https://justonesmallvoice.com/big-picture-and-details-isaiah-devotional-2-13/.

The Big Picture and Some Details

The Big Picture: Chapters 40-42


The overarching theme of the second volume of Isaiah (chapters 40-66) is the advent of Messiah. Isaiah 40:1-11 announces and describes his coming. Chapter 41 repeats and establishes this theme. It announces Messiah’s righteousness and peace to his believing remnant (Isaiah 41:8-20). Then God in Isaiah 42:1-9 speaks of Messiah his Servant. He even addresses him directly in verses 6-7. Isaiah 42:1-16 very much resembles Isaiah 40:1-11. In both passages, descriptions of a changing landscape announce the social upheavals with respect to God’s spiritual comfort that Messiah will bring. Comparing these passages with Gospel descriptions proves their fulfillment in Christ. That is, Christ lifts the poor and needy in his speech and ministry. He also brings down the unbelieving religious elite by speaking against them.


Interwoven with the theme of Messiah as God’s true representative is the counter theme of the falsity of idols. The conflict between God’s truth and lifeless idols forms the backdrop to the whole. For example, Isaiah defends God against idols in Isaiah 40:12-26. Chapter 41:1-7 and 21-29 also concerns God’s rejection of idols and those who worship them. These idol-worshipers appear to be among the Gentile nations. However, Chapter 42, verses 8, 17, and 18-25 are also against idols. But this time, those who trust in them belong to the nation of Israel, God’s “servant,” plural (Isaiah 42: 8, 17, 18-25).


God welcomes Gentiles to believe and receive his good news in Isaiah 42:10-12. These verses flow right into verses 13-14. Verses 13-14 describe God in metaphors. One is of a strong soldier marching out to battle. The second describes God as a woman laboring intensely to give birth. These metaphors describe God overpowering his spiritual enemies through the advent of Messiah. Isaiah 42:15-16 again picks up the theme of changes to the landscape (see Isaiah 40:3-11). These changes indicate the spiritual reality of God’s care for the blind, verse 16. Gentiles are embedded without transition in this entire section, Isaiah 42:10-16. And, God of course includes his own believing people, verse 16.


Believers Versus Non-believers

In summary, Isaiah in these chapters distinguishes between those who believe and those who do not believe. Both of these groups include Israelites and Gentiles. Chapters 40-42 reveal that God’s real enemies are those who refuse him, preferring rather to call upon their idols. Both the Gentile nations (Isaiah 41:21-29) and Israel (Isaiah 42:18-25) harbor those who shape and trust in their powerless idols. God rebukes and rejects both of these groups.

Comfort and Peace for Believing Israel and Gentile Nations Alike

When God speaks “comfort” for his people, he does not include those whose stance is arrogant hardness of heart and idol worship. God favors the poor and needy among his own people. These are those whom he blesses. (See Isaiah 41:8-20). Likewise, God also welcomes those of the Gentile coastlands (isles) who joyfully receive the good news of Messiah. (See Isaiah 42:1-13.)

In a Nutshell

In a nutshell then, the dividing line is between believers and non-believers, between God-followers and idol worshipers. There is no line between Gentiles and the sons of Jacob. God rejects the idol worshipers among his “own” people and from among the Gentiles. Conversely, God gives his singular Servant Messiah to believers from among his own people and to believers among the Gentiles. Thus speaks Isaiah, God’s prophet.

Details: Three Metaphors in Isaiah 42:10-16


13 The Lord God of hosts shall go forth, and crush the war: he shall stir up jealousy, and shall shout mightily against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13 LXE)

  1. The Verse in Context

This verse appears almost out of place. If it were to be interpreted concrete-literally, it would be out of place. Isaiah 42:1-12 continuously and solidly presents Messiah joyfully and with song. Messiah is gentle and quiet. He is compassionate and just. His presence makes people glad. It seems odd, then, to abruptly find God going forth as a warrior to fight against his enemies. This segment presents no enemies, not until verse 22.

2. Great Spiritual Sense

Spiritually, however, in light of Messiah, the verse (Isaiah 42:13) makes a great deal of sense. Who are God’s enemies but the powers of darkness that wage war against God through idols that appeal to men? God’s great enemy is Satan. At what point in human history did God defeat Satan? There is only one answer: at the Cross. Christians know that the cross is the place of God’s victory over all his enemies, including death. Psalm 18 portrays God’s rescuing his Son from death after he died on the cross (see Psalm 18 at JustOneSmallVoice).


14 For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. (Isaiah 42:14, ESV)(1)

  1. The Verse in Context

Here again, unless the reader understands Isaiah’s metaphor, this verse may appear shocking. First, is Isaiah still using the God-as-mighty-warrior metaphor? No, I don’t believe so, contra the subject note of one study Bible. How many writers seeking to glorify a mighty warrior would compare him to a woman in labor? No…

2. Its Meaning

God does, however, acknowledge and honor women in this verse. What unites this verse with the prior verse is the theme of strong, focused effort. Giving birth is sometimes similar to a battle. But why use two so very different metaphors, if the underlying meaning is the same? The reason is that they are not the same. A warrior destroys. As verse 13 states, God will “crush…” The outcome for a woman in labor, however, is new life, a new creation. The woman brings forth something entirely new, something that was not there before.

Not just this verse, but the entire context speaks of newness.

  • new things Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6
  • new hymn Isaiah 42:10
  • good news Isaiah 52:7
  • new name Isaiah 62:2; 65:15
  • new heaven and a new earth Isaiah 65:17; 66:2

Revelation 12:1-6 uses the metaphor of a woman giving birth to describe the advent of Christ and the birth of his church.


15 I will make desolate mountains and hills, and will dry up all their grass; and I will make the rivers islands, and dry up the pools. 16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not, and I will cause them to tread paths which they have not known: I will turn darkness into light for them, and crooked things into straight. These things will I do, and will not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:15-16)

1. The Verses in Context

As mentioned already, these verses resemble those of Isaiah 40:1-8. All four Gospels refer to the verses in Chapter 40 in connection with John the Baptist. Therefore, the reader knows that the landscape imagery is metaphorical. That is, the mountains, hills, crooked places, and rough places indicate spiritual realities, spiritual obstacles, possibly people and powers who stand opposed to God. Plus, Isaiah 40:6 identifies grass as humanity. The best a human puts forth is no more glorious than a flower of the field, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Finally, Isaiah 40:11 speaks of Messiah as a husbandman, feeding his flock as a shepherd (cf. John 10:11, 13-14).

2. Their Meaning

So, what does it mean in Chapter 42 when God speaks in first person and states, “I will make the rivers into coastlands and dry up marsh-meadow… I will turn darkness into light… and make crooked places straight,”? (SAAS). Is God announcing a concrete-literal landscape renovation complete with lamps and lanterns? I think most would agree that these metaphors are spiritual. The new thing that God announces will be completely different from all that has gone before. We might say in common speech that God is about to turn the world upside-down. And this is exactly what Jesus did.

So the last will be first, and the first last. (Matthew 20:16 ESV)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
(Matthew 5:3-6, 10-11 ESV)

The poor man [Lazarus] died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. (Luke 16:22-23 ESV)


The majority of the world’s people both in biblical times and now are Gentiles. The majority of the world’s people are poor and needy. And, a very small remnant of Israel in both the Old and New Testaments (think weak, overlooked, poor, and powerless)  clung to their loyalty to their one true God. For all these, the gospel of Jesus Christ, Messiah, is very good news indeed.

Covenant to a Race: Isaiah Journal 2.12

By Christina M Wilson. Previously published at https://justonesmallvoice.com/covenant-to-a-race-isaiah-devotional-2-12/.

What Does “Covenant to a Race” Mean?

From the Septuagint

6 … ἔδωκά σε εἰς διαθήκην γένους (Isaiah 42:6, LXX)

6 … I have given you as a covenant to a race… (NETS, Silva)

6 … I have given thee for the covenant of a race… (LXE, Brenton)

6 … I will… give You as the covenant of a race… (LXE, SAAS)(1)

From the Masoretic

6 … וְאֶתֶּנְךָ לִבְרִית עָם (Isaiah 42:6, WLC)(2)

6 … I will give you as a covenant for the people… (Isaiah 42:6, ESV)

6 … I will appoint You as a covenant to the people… (Isaiah 42:6, NASB20)

6 … I… will make you to be a covenant for the people… (Isaiah 42:6, NIV)

6 … I… make you a covenant mediator for people… (Isaiah 42:6, NET)

Israel Singular and Israel Plural

God speaks directly to his Servant in Isaiah 42:6-7. The context indicates that the Servant is a singular person (Cf. Isaiah Devotional 2.9). The use of the word “servant” here in Chapter 42 differs from its use in Chapter 41. There, the word “servant” referred to the group of believing Israelites-“the seed of Abraham, whom I loved” (Isaiah 41:8). We know that Chapter 41 referred to a group of believers, because context determines the word’s particular meaning. In the context of the passage, Septuagint verse 14 (Isaiah 41:14) describes Israel as  “few in number.” The Masoretic writes, “you men of Israel.” 

In Chapter 42, however, all the pronouns are singular from verses 1 through 7. Note especially that the pronouns “you” and “your” in verse 6 are singular. But even more than the grammar, the context indicates that “Israel” in Chapter 42 refers to a singularly outstanding person. The content of verses 1 through 16 describes someone who is uniquely wonderful. Israel the people, even at the best of times, never lived up to this description. However, the promised Messiah will.

And This Is Why It Matters

The text of Isaiah 42:6 teaches that Messiah, a Person, is a covenant to a people. The Septuagint captures this meaning in all three of its translations. Of the Masoretic translations included above, the NIV does not shrink back, but boldly proclaims the plain meaning of the grammar, “I… will make you to be a covenant for the people.” The ESV, the NASB20, and the older KJV  also give this meaning.

But I want to contemplate a note in the NET Bible for this verse. Note 15 flatly declares, “A person cannot literally be a covenant,” (see link to NET note). Then, the translation adds the word “mediator” to the text in verse 42:6. This word is not in the text. The NET Bible translators add it to the text. Presumably, this is to cause the text to conform to the editors’ hermeneutical principle that Old Testament prophecies must remain “literal,” or physically concrete. But, rather than make such an assertive presupposition, that Isaiah spoke on a purely literal level, I will ask, “How can a person be a covenant?”

How Can a Person Be a Covenant?

In order to begin to approach answering the question, “How can a Person be a covenant?” I want to ask a further series of  questions.

  • How can a Person be literal bread? “I am the bread of life.” John 6:48
  • How can a Person be literal light? “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12; Isaiah 42:6
  • How can a Person be a literal door? “I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7
  • How can a Person be the literal resurrection? “I am the resurrection…” John 11:25
  • How can a Person be literal life? “I am… the life.” John 11:25
  • How can a Person be a literal way? (a road, a path) “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
  • How can a Person be literal truth? “I am… the truth,” John 14:6
  • How can a Person be a literal vine? “I am the vine,” John 15:5 
  • How can a Person be the literal Word? “In the beginning was the Word… the Word became flesh,” John 1:1, 14 
  • How can a literal Word create? “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3 
  • How can a Person be literal peace? “For he himself is our peace,” Ephesians 2:14

The answers to the above questions are all the same. Jesus was not speaking (or being spoken about) concretely (“literally”). For example, Jesus’s body in John 10:7 is not a concrete doorway (a physical, “literal” doorway) through which sheep may pass. Nor does he physically lay his body down on the ground so that people can walk over him, John 14:6. Jesus, of course, speaks spiritually in these texts.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But for some reason, certain biblical scholars tell us that prophets living in Old Testament times were incapable of speaking spiritually, even with God’s guiding hand–his Spirit–directly upon them. Why else would they actually change the biblical text by adding words that are not there? The NET Bible adds the word “mediator” in Isaiah 42:6, NET. “Mediator” is not present in preserved texts written in the original Hebrew language. Nor is it present in the Septuagint, the earliest known translation of the Hebrew. Is the reader supposed to believe that NET Bible translators are better interpreters of God’s intended meaning to Isaiah than Isaiah himself? Isaiah was God’s chosen prophet.

Another Example

As another example of NET Bible’s literalistic presupposition (their philosophy of interpretation), let’s consider the last portion of verse 6 combined with verse 7.

Isaiah 42:6 “I am the LORD… I will give you as… a light for the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

We believers in New Testament times know what this verse means, because Jesus Christ is the direct fulfillment of it.

John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (ESV)

And of course we know that Jesus is speaking spiritually. Nevertheless, the NET Bible notes accompanying verses 6 and 7 in Isaiah chapter 42 choose to portray a concrete, physical, (“literal”) interpretation of the biblical imagery. First, the NET note for verse 6 appears acceptable. They write, “sn Light here symbolizes deliverance from bondage and oppression;” (Link to NET note 16). That note interprets “light” as a metaphor (whether or not their explanation is correct). That may seem all well and good. But second, the notes interpret the phrase, “to open the eyes that are blind,” in verse 7 in an entirely concrete, i.e. physically literal, way. Further, they say, the prisoners are actual prisoners in literal dungeons.

18 sn This does not refer to literal physical healing of the blind. As the next two lines suggest, this refers metonymically to freeing captives from their dark prisons where their eyes have grown unaccustomed to light. 19 sn This does not refer to hardened, dangerous criminals, who would have been executed for their crimes in ancient Near Eastern society. This verse refers to political prisoners or victims of social injustice. (Link to NET notes 18 and 19)

What the NET notes state is that God informs his servant that at some future time, he–the servant–will free literal prisoners from literally dark prisons. Note number 18 explains that these captives have been in the dark prison for so long that their physical eyes have grown unaccustomed to the light. I guess that is supposed to mean that their eyes are no longer capable of seeing properly. For all intents and purposes, these prisoners are physically blind. God will be sending his servant to these Gentile (verse 6) prisoners to physically remove them from prison.

Is That What God Really Meant to Say?

Now how can this contrived textual interpretation possibly be more acceptable than simply acknowledging that God in these verses gives Isaiah spiritual words to speak? (See the above paragraph.) Or, does Isaiah, in contradiction to the Apostle Peter, not have the Spirit of God when he prophesies?

1 Peter 1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully. 11 They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory. 12 They were shown that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven– things angels long to catch a glimpse of. (NET)

Peter directly claims that these Old Testament prophets did have “the Spirit of Christ within them” indicating what would later happen to Christ. Also, who were their audience? Notice that Peter flatly states that these Old Testament prophets were not primarily writing for an audience in their own timeframe. They were in fact, according to Peter, writing for listeners in the New Testament timeframe, “serving not themselves but you…” 

Are we then who read Isaiah’s words–we to whom the Holy Spirit has been given when we believed (Ephesians 1:13; Acts 19:2-6)–are we not permitted to consult that Spirit because of an unstated NET hermeneutical principle that flatly proclaims that all Old Testament prophecy must be interpreted physically (concretely, i.e., “literally”)?

But What About Jeremiah?

Yet, somehow, the prophet Jeremiah, still solidly embedded within the Old Testament timeframe, is permitted to speak spiritually.

Jeremiah 31:33 I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts… (see Isaiah 31:31-33)

I’m wondering why the NET notes don’t state that God’s law cannot be literally written on people’s hearts? Is the use of language here so very different than what Isaiah writes in Isaiah 42:6-7? If a law can be written on people’s hearts, why can’t God give his Servant to be a covenant for people? Why can’t God give his Servant to be a spiritual light to Gentiles who are spiritually blind and locked up in spiritual prisons?

The Underlying Issue

Indeed, many people who lived in Israel during Isaiah’s timeframe were locked into the same stolidly literal hermeneutic that NET Bible notes so often use. What did Isaiah write concerning his own people?

Isaiah 59:10 We grope along the wall like the blind, we grope like those who cannot see; we stumble at noontime as if it were evening. Though others are strong, we are like dead men. (NET)

And didn’t Jesus agree with God’s prophet Isaiah?

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! (ESV)

And John the Apostle understood that Israel’s religious leaders were spiritually blind.

John 12:37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. (ESV)

Blessedly, Jesus healed both the physically blind and the spiritually blind.

A Basic Question

Since the religious leaders of the Israelites in Jesus’s day misunderstood their own Scripture to the extent that they missed their own Messiah, why should we, who have the Holy Spirit, limit ourselves to their blind lack of understanding, interpreting their Scripture wrongly, as they did? We also have the hermeneutical key to the Old Testament that Jesus gave his disciples–himself! (Luke 24:27; John 5:39). And, we have the example of all the New Testament writers who wrote about Christ as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Why then should we make the same literalistic mistakes that unbelieving Israel did?

We have no reason today to suppose that Isaiah had no spiritual understanding. Even if the bulk of his listeners may not have, can we not grant that God’s Spirit broke through to Isaiah? Otherwise, why would he be quoted so often in the New Testament? I believe that the New Testament quotes Isaiah so often because Isaiah prophesied the Christ, and that One’s words are Spirit and life.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 


1 SAAS: “Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

2 WLC: Westminster Leningrad Codex

God Speaks: Isaiah Journal 2.11

By Christina M Wilson. Previously posted at

God Speaks: Isaiah 42:5-7

A Simple Reading Lesson

God has been speaking all along in Isaiah. I encourage readers to go back through the paragraphs and chapters to locate the verses in which Isaiah writes, “… says the Lord God,” or, “… thus says the Lord God…” God often speaks in Isaiah. In fact, he speaks so often that a reader may come to take his speech for granted and barely notice. Therefore, readers need to read attentively for the portions in which God speaks directly.

Many Bibles use quotation marks to set boundaries around the portions God directly speaks. A few others use no quotation marks. Readers must judge by context who is speaking and the boundaries of the speech. Sometimes various translations disagree one from another and place the quotation marks differently. Generally speaking, the context, the content, and the exact words of the text in its original language provide the best indicators of speech and its boundaries.

For literary and spiritual purposes, direct speech is dramatic and effective. An example of the former is nearly any literary work of fiction, whether a play, a novel, a song, or poetry. Authors use speech, or dialogue to bring the piece home (make it real) to the reader or listener’s ear. Spiritually, God’s Holy Spirit uses speech in Scripture to interact with readers from all ages and places. Imagine the effect on a child of God (or soon-to-be child of God) when the Holy Spirit applies in a most personally direct way the words from Jeremiah, “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” straight into that reader’s heart. The effect can be profound and life changing.

When seeking to understand a biblical text, careful readers pay attention to dialogue. Who is speaking to whom?

Verse 5: Dialogue Set in a Broader Context

Isaiah 42:5 defines the context for God’s speech to his Servant in the verses that follow.

Thus saith the Lord God, who made the heaven, and established it; who settled the earth, and the things in it, and gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to them that tread on it: (LXE, Brenton)

Isaiah the narrator presents God the speaker as Creator of the heaven, the earth, and all things in it, especially people. God is the source of life (spirit, breath) to all people. (Confer John 1:4 and Acts 17:25.) God as Creator, and therefore as sovereign ruler, all knowing and powerful, is the theme of chapter 40 through at least 48. In these chapters, God continually sets himself apart from the idols his people continually worship. God argues that he alone is God; idols are merely human creations. As Creator and sustainer, God has power both to foretell the future and to bring it to pass. Which of the idols can do that? By these prophecies God proves his identity and his power.

God throughout Volume 2 is calling his people back to himself. That is God’s purpose in displaying himself to his people as God Almighty, a Prophet with power to foretell and bring about the future. He earnestly desires his people to forsake their idols and return to him. He prophesies in advance the advent of his Servant in order to help his people believe. He gives them the solid evidence of prophecy as proof of his identity as God.

God Addresses the Servant

6 I the Lord God have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will strengthen thee: and I have given thee for the covenant of a race, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 to open the eyes of the blind, to bring the bound and them that sit in darkness out of bonds and the prison-house.  (Isaiah 42:6-7 LXE, Brenton

God addresses the Servant. This is in itself amazing. There are two identities present in this verse: the speaker and his addressee. Peeking ahead to chapter 49–we find that the Servant also speaks. There are two eternal Beings, right here in these texts of Isaiah.

But where in the Old Testament or in Israel’s post-exilic history is this prophecy fulfilled? If someone answers, “In Cyrus,” then what a tremendous disappointment for readers today. Cyrus has been dead and buried for millennia. What hope would his dead, desiccated corpse provide today’s bruised and nearly extinguished people the world over? But thank God the prophecy refers to one greater than Cyrus. Thank God for the fulfillment of his words of prophecy to the Servant, as recorded in the New Testament.

The Old Testament does not record the fulfillment of this prophecy of Isaiah (unless one counts the strictly local life and death of Cyrus the Persian). And God would not be God if this prophecy of Isaiah were not fulfilled. Thank God for the New Testament! Thank God for these “new things” (Isaiah 42:9) whose fulfillment the New Testament records. God always intended the Old and New Testaments to be a unified whole, the former prophesying in detail and the latter recording fulfillment of the former.

1  Peter 1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (ESV )

Israel’s Messiah

Messiah has always existed within the pages of the Old Testament. In early Genesis, he is there (Genesis 1:1 {אֱלֹהִים noun common masculine plural absolute}; Genesis 1:26). In Moses, he is there (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 8:55-59). In the Psalter, Messiah is there (Psalm 2; Psalm 110:1). And here in Isaiah, Messiah is right here.

6 I the Lord God have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will strengthen thee: and I have given thee for the covenant of a race, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 to open the eyes of the blind, to bring the bound and them that sit in darkness out of bonds and the prison-house.  (Isaiah 42:6-7 LXE, Brenton

Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (ESV)

Praise God on behalf of his people Israel and Gentiles alike for the New Testament fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. God the Creator is God indeed.

Characteristics of the Servant: Isaiah Journal 2.10

By Christina M Wilson. Previously posted at https://justonesmallvoice.com/characteristics-of-the-servant-isaiah-devotional-2-10/.

Characteristics of the Servant: 42:1-4

The Masoretic text (Hebrew) of Isaiah 42 does not name the servant. The Septuagint text (Greek) names him, “Jacob” and “Israel” (vs 1). What are the characteristics of the servant?

  • verse 1 (Septuagint)
    • helped by God
    • chosen by God
    • accepted by God
    • the Spirit of God placed by God upon him (the three persons of the Trinity in one verse)
    • he will bring “judgment” to the Gentiles; i.e., he will fulfill the purpose of God’s Law among the Gentiles
  • verse 2
    • he will not cry out, nor raise his voice, nor cause his voice to be heard outside; i.e., he will not be a “rabble rouser”, nor an instigator, nor a politician, nor a mighty speech maker
  • verse 3
    • a bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench; i.e., he will be gentle towards the weak and lowly (cf., Isaiah 40:11)
    • but (the Septuagint includes a strong contrastive conjunction (ἀλλὰ)  in Isaiah 42:3, LXX; the Masoretic contains no connector (Isaiah 42:3, ESV). The contrastive connector “but” joins the foregoing (bruised reeds, smoking flax) as the context for that which follows, “he will bring forth judgment to (or in) truth.” In other words, he will treat justly (or fairly) and truthfully those people who have been bruised and beaten down, unlike the established norm (“but” = contrary to the norm). An example of this verse in Christ’s ministry is the woman caught in adultery. The ruling righteous (the falsely righteous scribes and Pharisees) wanted him to declare that she should be stoned to death. But (ἀλλὰ)  Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn (“judge against”) you; go, and from now on sin no more.”  (See John 8:3-12.) Jesus brought “justice to truth.” That is, he brought a full understanding of the intent of God’s law to truthfully bear upon this situation. Strongly implied in this passage is Jesus’s awareness that the woman’s sin was not of her doing alone. He applied the Law equally to everyone, regardless of their station. And, he acted with great compassion toward the woman, who was a “bruised reed” and a “smoking flax,” or in other words, a “dimly burning wick.”
  • verse 4
    • he will “shine forth” (SAAS), or “shine out” (Brenton), or “blaze up” (NETS, Silva). This is the exact opposite of the prior “smoking wick” (NETS) of the previous verse.
    • “and not be overwhelmed until” (NETS) See John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
    • “until he has established judgment (righteousness) on the earth”; in other words, the scope of his activities and influence will be worldwide. Even for Cyrus, this would be a grandiose prophecy.
    • “and in his name shall the Gentiles trust” (Brenton), or, “will hope” (SAAS); Isaiah 42:4, LXX. Here is a direct, explicit statement in the Old Testament that the Christ’s ministry (the Servant whom God will anoint with his Spirit, see verse 1) will extend to and intentionally include Gentiles. (Clearly, the Church is not a “parenthesis,” as some Christians claim.)

The Singular Servant: Isaiah Journal 2.9

By Christina M Wilson. Previously posted at https://justonesmallvoice.com/the-singular-servant-isaiah-devotional-2-9/.

Servant Song–Isaiah 42:1-4

Isaiah 42:1, ESV Jacob is my servant, I will help him: Israel is my chosen, my soul has accepted him; I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up his voice, nor shall his voice be heard without. 3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench; but he shall bring forth judgment to truth. 4 He shall shine out, and shall not be discouraged, until he have set judgment on the earth: and in his name shall the Gentiles trust. (LXE, Brenton)

Servant (A Group-Collective) 

Scripture clearly states that Old Testament Israel, as a collective whole, is the servant of God. 

Isaiah 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant Jacob, and he whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraam, whom I have loved: 9 whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and from the high places of it I have called thee, and said to thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and I have not forsaken thee. (LXE, Brenton)

But, by this point in the book of Isaiah, is there any doubt that Israel has failed to fulfill God’s commission to Abraham, “In you all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed,” (Genesis 12:3)? Those who read straight through the chapters in this portion of the book will realize that Israel appears to sabotage God’s plan for them again and again. Their failure stems from their lack of belief and trust in, and loyalty to their one true God. They worship idols. God’s desire was to bless Israel and through them the whole world, but they would not. 

42:21 It pleased the LORD for the sake of his righteousness to make his law great and glorious… 24 Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law. 25 So he poured out on them his burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart. (NIV)

Servant (Singular)

Scripture also clearly states that God will not abandon forever his servant, Israel. God must stand by his promise to Abraham, yet the people Israel make this impossible. Therefore, because of their repeated failures, God creates a “new thing” (Isaiah 43:19). This “new thing” is his Servant, a very singular Servant, one person, one man, unique, one of a kind, God’s Son. God calls his Son “Israel.”

Chapter 42 of Isaiah does not state that “my servant” is God’s Son. Matthew, the Gospel author, does so state.

Matthew 12:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; 20 a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; 21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” (ESV)

Without the Servant, Isaiah a Bleak Book

If the reader were to read Isaiah 41 followed immediately by Isaiah 43, the picture would be bleak, barren, depressing, and static. Isaiah 42:1-17 introduces the contrasts of joy, happiness, excitement, hope, and a flowing river that carries the depressed human soul forward. The book of Isaiah without the Servant would be utter darkness–just like the book of a human life without the Lord, Christ, God’s Servant Son. Believers and non-believers alike, let us all make room for Christ in our lives. As the chapters of our lives unfold, let us never leave out God’s solution to our existential problem of sin and hopelessness. God gave his Servant to Israel the people and to all the Gentile peoples of the world as a gift. Let us come to his light and partake freely of the abundantly flowing waters of life.

Gleanings #6-7: Isaiah Devotional 2.8

By Christina M Wilson. Previously published at https://justonesmallvoice.com/gleanings-6-7-isaiah-journal-2-8/.

Gleanings from Isaiah 41

Continued from Prior Posts

VI. Isaiah 41:17-20 Gleaning #6

“The Poor and the Needy” 

17And the poor and the needy shall exult; for when they shall seek water, and there shall be none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord God, I the God of Israel will hear, and will not forsake them… 20 that they may see, and know, and perceive, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has wrought these works, and the Holy One of Israel has displayed them. (LXE, Brenton)

(οἱ πτωχοὶ καὶ οἱ ἐνδεεῖς) (ee p-toe-khee kay ee-ende-eess)

The word “poor” in Greek is the same as in Matthew 5:3, mGNT, or simply Matthew 5:3. It signifies either one who is concretely poor in this world’s goods or metaphorically oppressed, beaten down. The second word “needy” is rare. It occurs only here in the Septuagint and once in the New Testament in Acts 4:34, ESV. It also means poor in this world’s goods. The passage in Isaiah 41:17-20, LXE could work both ways, concrete-literally and metaphorically.

An example of an explicitly metaphorical passage in Isaiah that speaks of water is Isaiah 58:11, LXE.

Isaiah 58:11 and thy God shall be with thee continually, and thou shalt be satisfied according as thy soul desires; and thy bones shall be made fat, and shall be as a well-watered garden, and as a fountain from which the water has not failed. (LXE, Brenton)

God’s Attitude Toward the “Poor and Needy”

What is God’s attitude toward the poor and needy?

Psalm 40:17 But I am poor and needy; the Lord will take care of me; thou art my helper, and my defender, O my God, delay not. (LXE, Brenton)

Psalm 70:5 But I am poor and needy; O God, help me: thou art my helper and deliverer, O Lord, delay not. (LXE, Brenton)

The passage in Isaiah clearly spells our God’s intended blessings upon the poor and needy. The blessing appears as future to Isaiah’s point of reference.

Isaiah 41:17 And the poor and the needy shall exult; for when they shall seek water, and there shall be none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord God, I the God of Israel will hear, and will not forsake them: 18 but I will open rivers on the mountains, and fountains in the midst of plains: I will make the desert pools of water, and a thirsty land watercourses. 19 I will plant in the dry land the cedar and box, the myrtle and cypress, and white poplar: 20 that they may see, and know, and perceive, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has wrought these works, and the Holy One of Israel has displayed them. (LXE, Brenton)

Christian Applications

Readers should bear in mind that all of Chapter 41 is future to Isaiah’s time frame, however one calculates when he prophesied Volume 2. Minimally, God’s people haven’t yet returned from exile to Babylonia. If the prophecy were intended to be physical-concrete only, it might seem strange to the exiles in a foreign land, who may or may not have had sufficient water there.

From a Christian standpoint, however, the words are spiritually highly applicable. First, there is Jesus’s own ministry to the poor and needy peoples of Palestine. They were both concretely-literally poor and spiritually poor and oppressed.

Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (ESV) 

Second, Jesus used imagery of water freely flowing to signify the Holy Spirit.

 John 7:37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (ESV) 

John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (ESV)

VII. Isaiah 41 Gleaning #7

God Is For Us!

 Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (ESV)

The sum total of Isaiah 41 is that “God is for us!” Who is us? The chapter teaches that God is for his people, the seed of Abraham, his servant. Who are the seed of Abraham? The New Testament teaches that all those from any ethnicity whatsoever  who believe as Abraham believed are Abraham’s seed. There is no need to be physically descended from Abraham to be a child of God.

“Us” includes the poor and needy. God is for the poor and needy of every ethnicity who depend upon him. But, Isaiah 41 teaches that those of  any ethnicity who gather together against God and his Anointed are not God’s people (“You are of your father the devil.”) Yet, if they repent, they can be. God is not stingy, nor unkind. He all but begs, rather he does beg, people everywhere to turn to him and be saved.

Isaiah knew these facts about God. He prophesied the gift of Messiah’s coming well. That is why New Testament authors and characters quote him so freely. Isaiah knew that God is for us.

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