Week 30 Devotion
This week we are going to take a break from reading in the historical books so that we can focus most of our attention on the prophecy of Isaiah which is an incredible book that drives home several critically important Biblical truths. The main truth that Isaiah aims to teach is the centrality and glory of God in the universe, among the nations with their false gods, and especially among God’s people Israel.
Isaiah gives us a picture of the real nature of man’s sin in the eyes of God and the impact that sin will have upon the nations. This book reveals us of the ongoing judgment of God toward sin and it even points us to the future judgment that will be poured out on the world. But the most hope-filled theme in the book is the picture of the Messiah that begins to unfold in chapter 42.
Isaiah contains what scholars call the “Servant Songs” which all point to the Messiah who is Jesus Christ, the one who comes to save His people and rule the world in peace and justice. We will be reading some of those Servant Songs this week and we will see why we should put our trust in God’s coming servant instead of the kings and rulers of men.
Something to meditate on…
Let’s jump right in and look at one instance where even a good king is not worthy of our ultimate trust. By most accounts, Hezekiah was a good king and this is easy to see when you stack him up against the rest of the leaders that we read about in the books of 1st and 2nd Kings. Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, he removed the high places and broke up the worship of false gods in Judah. He trusted in the Lord and the Lord was with him everywhere he went (2 Kings 18:1-8).
But when we read about Hezekiah in Isaiah 39 we see something that is a bit unsettling. He is concerned about Babylon and wants to impress a group of envoys that have come from the king of Babylon, so Hezekiah shows them his treasure house. After they leave to go back home, the prophet Isaiah comes to king Hezekiah with a word from the Lord and it isn’t good news.
Isaiah tells the king that the days are coming when all the wealth in his treasure room will be taken away to Babylon. The king’s sons will one day be taken into the palace of Babylon’s king and be forced into service as eunuchs. So, here is a good king who has just heard that his wealth will be taken away and his sons will be slaves to a foreign king. How is he going to respond?
Isaiah 39:8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.”
Basically, the king responded to this terrible news by saying, “Well, at least it won’t happen until I’m gone.” What a selfish jerk! Even as a good king this man is still concerned mainly with his own well-being. He is willing to throw away the future of his people and his sons so long as he can enjoy the rest of his life. Just below the surface of his heart, there is a deep streak of selfishness.
Brothers and sisters, we too have a sinful and selfish streak that runs deeper than we care to admit. We need help to not only admit that this is true but also we need someone to help us overcome the fact that we are all crooked deep down. Enter Jesus. Think about how Jesus is different from Hezekiah? Jesus didn’t give up future generations to their doom just so that He could be comfortable in life, He did the opposite. He endured the pain and shame of the cross in order to free future generations from the judgment they deserved.
Something to discuss…
Speaking of Jesus, let’s look at some of the servant songs of Isaiah, which point us to the better king that is to come. We have already seen that it is futile for us to put our hope and trust in the rulers of this world, but who can we put our trust in? Who should we be looking to that can care for our needs and who will not abandon us when his own comfort is on the line?
In Isaiah 42:1-9 we see the first Servant Song and it paints us a picture of a leader who will come from God to bring justice to all the nations. This servant will have the Spirit of God upon Him and he will be a humble leader who cares for the weak and bruised people of the world. He will never tire until He has established justice in the earth and the people will wait for (long for) his law to reach their shores.
God is telling us in these songs to put our trust in the One that is to come. He wants us to put our hope and trust in the Servant Whom He will send to bring peace and justice into the world. This is a song of hope and it is a song, ultimately, about Jesus.
Take some time to read over Isaiah 42:1-9 this week and discuss how God’s servant Jesus is different than the political leaders in our world today. Discuss how God’s plan for establishing peace and justice is not just for one nation but for all.
But understand that there are more servant songs than this one. The servant of the Lord first appears in Isaiah 42:1-9, but he reappears, in 49:1-13, 50:4-9, and 52:13-53:12. He comes as a servant sent by God to redeem God’s people from the ruin of sin. He will come to save the nations and according to Isaiah 53, He will do it by laying down his own life to make them free. Take some time to read through these Servant Songs understanding that they all point out the beauty and glory and unparalleled love of Jesus. After you’ve read them be sure to discuss them with a friend, family member or your community group.
Something to pray about…
In Psalm 53 we read the 4th Servant Song and in this song we get a play by play prediction about what Jesus will endure on the cross in the future. It is a beautiful prophecy, which came to pass more than 400 years after it was made and with stunning accuracy. From Isaiah 52:13-53:12 we see one line after another describing our Lord to us but the main theme of this entire song can be found in verse 6.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid in him the iniquity of us all.
We have run headlong into rebellion against God. Every one of us has turned our back from God and chosen to go our own way in this world. But the suffering servant hasn’t given up on us. He bears a burden, our burden and God the Father placed it upon His shoulders.
This is the gospel, the good news of salvation telling us that our freedom from sin, death and judgment is to be found in Christ alone. He bore our sin. He bore our iniquity. He suffered in our place to bring us wayward sheep back into the fold.
Take some time to pray through this Servant Song and give thanks to God for making a way for us to be saved. Pray and give thanks to Jesus for enduring the horror of Calvary so that we could enjoy the freedom of forgiveness. Pray that we wouldn’t take the gospel for granted but that we would freely share the good news with others.