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Lenten Devotional – Day 18 – The Chosen Servant

Lent 3  Isaiah 42: 1-9:

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
    who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
    who gives breath to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.”

In previous chapters, God through the prophet Isaiah has been building a case; he says that though we pursue false idols, they continue to delude, enslave and ultimately fail us. In this passage, God’s chosen “servant” is called to bring about justice and free those bound in “the dungeons” (v. 7). This was the lesson for Israel and remains the lesson for us today.

The nature of idolatry is that we worship and serve that which does not deserve it. At the heart of the Christian message, however, is that Jesus Christ “the Chosen One,” who truly deserves worship, has served us first.

How can we know God’s pleasure in such a way that we begin to replace the idols in our lives with true worship?

In verses 1-4, we are taught to “Behold” the one in whom God himself “delights.” To behold means to both see and consider. Isaiah calls Israel to see and consider the Lord through his servant; appointed by God, and supported by his Spirit.

In beholding this servant we are able to clearly distinguish what is real from what is counterfeit, a “metal image” full of “empty wind” (Isaiah 41) to a Spirit-filled servant who has come in the flesh (John 1).

This servant, who has from afar long beheld us, knows that we are wounded and always on the verge of losing hope and will complete his task with the gentleness of a friend (v. 3). Behold the pleasure the Son found in serving the Father even unto death, for you. Then, “delight” in Jesus and be free.

Prayer:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we praise you that the fullness of the Godhead is at work and in full view here in this passage to bring an end to idolatry and the suffering that comes from it. We thank you for your word that we may gaze into it and ponder how you covenant with your people. We delight in you for sending a servant-king, Jesus Christ, who truly has “set the captives free” (Luke 18:4). In Christ’s Name, Amen.

 

 

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