Home » Septuagint Isaiah Volume 2 » God Speaks: Isaiah Journal 2.11

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.


1 Comment

  1. gaustin00 says:

    Enjoyed this post for its encouraging words!

    Like

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