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Isaiah 49-51


A Devotional Journey 
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
        Isaiah 49:1-6 (or 1-13)  is the 2nd of the four Servant songs in 40-66. 
The Servant cannot be literally Israel (in spite of the apparent meaning of 49:3) because this servant has a mission to Israel (see verse 5).  In fact, the Servant represents the ideal Israel and lives in the way Israel was always intended to:  for the glory of God alone.  He will do what Israel failed to do:  bring the reality of God to rest of the world as a light for the Gentiles (or non-Israelis).
        Israel will be restored because God wills it so and has the power to bring it about.  The uncertainty and confusion of life with all its challenges and impossibilities will be overcome by God's action; therefore, the people of God can Shout for joy in anticipation.  One of the most encouraging images in the Bible is contained in this section:  Can a mother forget the baby at her breast  and have no compassion for the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands...  It is intriguing to wonder if the reference does not foreshadow, at least in part, the wounds in the hands of Christ on the Cross!
        Chapter 50 is a summary of the distance between her and God created by Israel's sin.  Yet God's salvation cannot be stopped according to Chapter 51. 
        The redemption of God makes a worthy study.  Our guilt does not stop Him from loving us or restoring us from the consequences of our own lifestyles, thoughts and actions.  His goal is to recapture our allegiance and redirect our energies and priorities on a path that leads to eternal life with Him.  This requires Him to forgive us as His honor and status as Ruler of the Universe has been violated again and again by our proud disdain for any opinion, direction or control but our own.
        Yet God does forgive, and the result is a new life for us.  No longer controlled by our self-centeredness, we place ourselves under His control, and life changes.  As Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man is in Christ he is a new creation.  Behold, the old is gone and the new has come.” 
        One of the Psalms says, Let the redeemed of the LORD say so! (Psalm 107:2).  We also need to live as though it is true.  Isaiah's list of sins and rebelliousness against God included elements which are in our own lives.  We need to confess, asking God to make us whiter than snow (Isaiah 1:18); that is, to give us a new and uncluttered start.  As we will see later on in the Lamentations of Jeremiah (3:23), every day ushers in an opportunity to begin again:  stronger, wiser, more determined to follow God's way and conscious of His wonderful grace and love.
        God loves us even when we are wrong!  We may face the consequences of our mistakes and sins, but as we put our lives in God's hands, we can be sure of His redemption and our final place in His family and kingdom.  Think about that today, then put your heart into your relationship with God and follow Him.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2010