Discipline of the Servant

John Piper, in his book comments, “if the reward you aim at in fasting is the admiration of others, that is what you will get, and that will be all you get. In other words, the danger of hypocrisy is that it is so successful. It aims at the praise of men, and it succee … More


The prophet gives a new song of praise to the Lord (v. 10). People everywhere should sing and shout to the Lord as a result of the world-wide message of salvation which the Servant of the Lord shall proclaim. This passage can be interpreted as the Gentiles singing praise for their deliverance and conversion (vv. 10-13).

In contrast to the quiet and submissive ministry of the Servant, the Lord shall go forth as a mighty man of war (v. 13). In his first coming he was a meek and lowly Servant, but in His second coming He will be as a Man of War in judgment upon the world. The devastation described here (vv. 14-16) may well refer to the Millennium, when the mountains and hills will be destroyed and the rivers dried up (Rev. 8:7-9:21). God, seemingly silent for a long time, will act in judgment, though humanly speaking, it will be painful for Him (v. 14), as He desires to help them (v. 15).

The prophet contrasts the faith of those who believe in God to the idolatry of those who trust in graven images (vv. 17-25). The Mosaic Law had made it plain that if the Israelites lived according to God’s righteous standards, He would bless them. However, in Babylonian exile they were being punished because spiritually they had been deaf and blind (v. 16). He had told them in (Deut. 28:49-53) that if they did not keep His law, He would drive them from the land. No one could rescue them except the Lord.


We might ask how Israel and Judah could be so blind, yet we often fail in the same way. Knowing what is right and not doing it can be worse than not seeing at all. I can know what is right because I have His word to go by and yet I often don’t obey. Can I think of any way I have failed to obey Him today?

Isaiah 42:10-25 (English Standard Version)

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands. The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, "You are our gods." Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see! Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the LORD? He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear. The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness' sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious. But this is a people plundered and looted; they are all of them trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become plunder with none to rescue, spoil with none to say, "Restore!" Who among you will give ear to this, will attend and listen for the time to come? Who gave up Jacob to the looter, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey? So he poured on him the heat of his anger and the might of battle; it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand; it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »