Advent - The One Who We Can Trust - Isaiah 42:1-9
According to the dictionary ‘Advent’ is defined as an arrival. It’s the coming or arriving of someone or something. For the church, the four weeks leading up to Christmas are referred to as Advent and it’s a time set aside for us to think about the meaning of the coming of Christ. He came first to accomplish salvation and He’s coming again to bring the final results of salvation. Just as generations and generations of the people of God waited for His first arrival, we now wait for Him to come again.
As we wait, we are often tempted to fear and doubt. We may fear the direction that the world is headed and wonder if God is really able to make all things right. At the same time, we often face another temptation: the temptation to trust the ways and hopes of the world instead of God – that their ways of finding hope are more certain.
Isaiah 41 and 42 serve as a reminder that God is in fact sovereign and that He is the One whom we can trust. He has a plan for salvation and He is working out His plan. We don’t have to fear and we don’t have to find another source of hope.
Understanding the Context of Isaiah 40-42
While the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah are largely a prophecy of coming judgment for the people of God, in chapter 40 there’s a transition. While the people of God will endure judgment for a time, God assures them that there is a reason for hope
However, even with the announcement of coming salvation the people are prone to fear and doubt. Some feared the nations around them and wondered whether God could truly fulfill His promises. Others doubted God and chose rather to worship the gods of the other nations.
In chapter 41 God encourages His people not to fear, because He will defeat all their enemies. Also, He makes the case that idols aren’t good gods because they can never save. Instead, He tells them to look to His servant whom He would send – the One who will bring hope.
The Announcement of the Coming Servant – God speaks about the Servant (42:1-4)
- Who the Servant is – God’s chosen One (vs. 1) (Matt. 3:16-17)
- What the Servant will bring – He’s bringing justice (vs. 2)
- The manner of His work – Meek and tender (vv. 2-3a) (Matthew 11:28-30)
- The surety of His work – It will happen (vv. 3b-4) (Isaiah 51:4-6; Revelation 21:3-6)
- Summary – While the people feared that they would be defeated by their enemies, God promises that salvation is coming through this One whom He will send. The Servant will bring justice – He will make all things right. But He won’t come in the manner they expected. He comes with gentleness and He’s tender toward those who are hurting. This is a word of hope – salvation is coming for the people of God – take heart.
The Mission of the Coming Servant – God speaks to the Servant (42:5-8)
- The One who calls the Servant – The sovereign God (vs. 5) (Isaiah 40:12; 21-22)
- The nature of the mission (vs. 6)
- The source of the mission – God says: I am the LORD
- The rightness of the mission – Called in righteousness
- The safety of the mission – I will take you by the hand and keep you
- The promise of the mission – I will give you as a covenant
- The aim of the mission – The salvation of sinners (vs. 7) (Lk. 4:16-21)
- Sight for the blind, freedom for prisoners, Light for those in darkness
- The One who Calls – The Supremacy of God (vs. 8)
- Summary – The creator God, the Lord of all is the One who is sending salvation. The Servant comes, bringing salvation as a fulfillment of God’s promises, once again showing that He can be trusted.
The Guarantee of the Coming of the Servant (42:9)
- The section ends with another assurance that God can be trusted. All He has said in the past has come to pass, so we can know that all He says about the future will also come to pass.