Isaiah 42

The Lord's special Servant

42:1There are four parts of Isaiah's book which have ‘Songs about the Servant’. In these songs, the Servant is God's special Messiah. The songs are in Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; -53:12.

1 ‘Here is my servant.

I give him strength.

I have chosen him.

He makes me very happy.

I have put my Spirit on him.

He will bring justice to the nations.

2 He will not cry out.

He will not shout.

He will not speak loudly in the streets.

3 He will not hurt weak people,

like someone who breaks a weak reed.

He will not destroy helpless people,

like someone who puts out a weak flame.

He will be kind to people,

and he will judge them in a fair way.

4 He will remain strong and brave,

until he brings justice to the whole world.

People who are in lands far away

will wait for him to teach them.’

5 The Lord is God. He is the God who created the sky. He hung it up like a curtain. He created the earth and everything that lives on it. He gives life and breath to all the people who live on it. The Lord says to his servant:

6 ‘I have chosen you to bring righteousness.

I will take hold of your hand,

and I will keep you safe.

Through you, I will make a covenant with my people,

and you will bring light to the other nations.

7 You will cause blind people to see.

You will cause prisoners to be free.

You will bring out into the open

people who sit in dark prisons.

8 I am the Lord. That is my name.

I will not let anyone else share my glory.

I will not let people praise idols.

I am the only one that they must praise.

9 Everything that I promised in the past has happened

as I said that it would happen.

Now I will tell you about new things.

Before they start to happen,

I will tell you about them.’

10 Sing a new song to the Lord!

All over the earth, people should praise him.

Praise him, you people who travel over the sea

and everything that lives in the sea.

Praise him, you people who live in lands far away.

11 People who live in the towns of the desert

should shout aloud to praise him.

Kedar's people should praise him

in the places where they live.

The people who live in Sela should sing aloud with joy.

They should shout from the tops of the mountains.

12 They should all honour the Lord

as he deserves.

Those who live in lands far away

should praise him for what he has done.

13 The Lord marches out to battle,

like a brave soldier.

He is angry with his enemies,

and he is ready to attack them.

He shouts loudly as he attacks,

and he shows his power over them.

14 The Lord says,

‘I have been quiet for a long time.

I have held back my anger.

But now I am ready to deliver!

I will cry out and shout and groan,

like a woman who is ready to give birth.

15 I will destroy the mountains and the hills.

I will cause the plants that grow on them to die.

I will cause the rivers to become dry islands.

I will cause the pools of water to become dry.

16 I will lead my blind people

along ways that they did not know before.

I will be their guide,

as they walk along paths that are new to them.

I will change the dark places that are in front of them,

so that they become places with light.

And I will cause the rough ground to become flat.

Those are the things that I will do for them.

I will not leave my people alone.

17 But I will push away people who trust idols to help them.

Those people will become ashamed.

They say to images that they have made,

“You are our gods.”

18 Listen to me, you deaf people!

Look at this, you blind people!

19 Who is blind?

Nobody is as blind as my servant.

42:19Here, God's servant is the Israelite nation. See Isaiah 41:8.

Who is deaf?

Nobody is as deaf as the one who takes my message.

The people that I agreed a covenant with are blind!

Yes, the servant of the Lord is truly blind!

20 You Israelites have seen many things,

but you do not understand them.

You have opened your ears to listen,

but you have not really heard anything.’

21 The Lord always does what is right. So he has made his law great and important. He is happy when people respect his law.

22 But enemies have robbed God's people and they have taken away all their valuable things. Their enemies have caught them in traps and they have made them prisoners. There is nobody who will rescue them. Their enemies have stored them safely, and nobody says, ‘Send them back.’

23 Will any of you listen to my message?

Will you think carefully about it in the future?

24 Who put Jacob's descendants

under the power of their enemies?

Who gave the Israelites

to people who would rob them?

It was the Lord!

He is the one that we have not obeyed.

His people did not live in the way that he wanted.

They did not obey his law.

25 So the Lord was very angry with them.

He punished them with a cruel war.

His anger was like a fire all round them,

but they did not understand what he was doing.

His anger burned them,

but they did not learn their lesson.