Isaiah 49:1-7 - Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother He named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hid me; He made me a polished arrow; in His quiver He hid me away. And He said to me, "You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God." And now the LORD says, He who formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him; and that Israel might be gathered to Him—for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength—He says: "It is too light a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth." Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."
Have you ever been honored to do a special task like deliver a speech or handle some tricky situation? Maybe your expertise was needed to perform some crucial function for your organization. Perhaps you were chosen from among many to do what it seemed only you could do, or you could do best. It felt good to be called upon to do something where you could contribute your special skills, didn't it?
Then again, sometimes we're called to do something we don't feel prepared at all to do. Isaiah may have felt this way. Prophesying during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (see Isaiah 1:1), he was tasked with declaring some of the Old Testament's most potent words. With messages of divine vengeance and wrath (see Isaiah 34), terrifying forecasts of foreign nations' invasions and wars (see Isaiah 10:5-6), and the general devastation that would follow, Isaiah was the kind of guy you didn't want to see coming your direction.
But along the way, Isaiah also offered some of the Bible's most wonderful words concerning God's love and forgiveness (see Isaiah 1:18). He spoke of God's future plan of redemption (see Isaiah 25:1-9). And he gave the poignant description of the "Suffering Servant," the One through whom our salvation will be carried out and accomplished (see Isaiah 52-53).
And today Isaiah is still speaking. His message is as relevant now as ever. Why? Because when you strip away the millennia of cultural change, people are still people. Just like errant ancient Israel, we too have gone our own way and heaped up our sins. But the Lord calls us home—to Jesus—the One who would carry our sins to the cross and triumph over the grave forevermore. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, like your prophet Isaiah, make us into people who hear Your voice and follow it. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Prophecy—do you think it happens much today?
2. Do you have favorite prophesies or prophets from the Old Testament?
3. Do you think much about the Lord's return in terms of prophecy and that it will happen one day?
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