Isaiah 48:1-22, Isaiah 49:1-26, Colossians 1:13-14, Hebrews 4:12
“I know, Dad.”
Every day I hear this. Every day I give my children instructions and they tell me they know. And yet they do not do the thing I told them. It can be so aggravating, but on my more gracious days I remember that I was (am?) the same. All people are. We “know” what we’re supposed to do and be, yet we don’t and aren’t. We know what our Father has said and we ignore it still.
In Isaiah 48 and 49, we see God’s response to this. Israel was just like you and me. They knew God’s Word. They’d heard His promises, and yet they did not listen. So God declares that He will be patient and He will promise them again.
God declares them free. He promises that a Servant will arise to bring freedom from darkness, to bring liberty. He promises that He will not forget His people despite their forgetfulness of Him. He says they are written on His hands. He commits to compassion, and He promises that this Servant will bring kings to their knees in adoration.
The reason children ignore parents, and the reason we ignore God, is a combination of familiarity and rebellion. That familiarity is why we overlook the amazingness of these promises—not just what is promised but Who will bring them about. A Servant will do this. The servant, Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the embodiment of God’s compassion, the living expression of God’s kindness and liberating power. He showed it by healing the sick and freeing people from evil spirits. He freed people from blindness and paralysis. And He is the means for the entire world to be freed from sin.
Those who trust Christ have moved from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of the Son, the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). This is the kingdom of the Servant from Isaiah. That’s right, a servant rules a kingdom of light and hope and freedom from our own rebellion. And the Servant is God’s Son, His fulfillment of the promise He was compassionate to both give and keep.
Because we are forgetful and stubborn, we need yet one more reminder of these promises and why to hold them. We can read them a thousand times and still be unfazed. Maybe that is because we read them like a record of the past, a thing that happened once. But Hebrews reminds us that God’s Word is alive. It is active. It is sharp. We are not reading a ledger of past words but encountering living words. For this reason we can be moved still and look ahead in hope to the Servant’s kingdom coming in full.
Written by Barnabas Piper