Verse of the Day Devotion. Isaiah 49:1
“Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” – Isaiah 49:1
This is to be interpreted as the voice of the Messiah calling the distant parts of the earth to listen to His qualifications and His message. He gives this message to the Gentiles inviting them to hear His counsel and doctrines which the Jews would reject. This prophecy is spoken as a current event, even though it would not happen for hundreds of years. This declares the truth that the Messiah was alive with no beginning but will come in the flesh at a future time. “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother” Isaiah 49:1b. Note the phrase ‘called me from the womb’. And lastly, we see the phrase ‘and he named my name’. This denotes that His name was not given by anyone here, but by the one who sent Him, that being the heavenly Father. “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31.
Then in the next verse, “And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me, And He has also made Me a select arrow; He has hidden Me in His quiver.” Isaiah 49:2. The preparation of the Servant for ministry to the nations involved God making the Servant’s mouth a powerful instrument to declare God’s messages. His mouth would be like a sharp sword. Sword imagery suggests the use of piercing-sharp speech, so it is possible for the Hebrew imagination to compare the sharp words that come from the lips or from the tongue or from the teeth to a cutting sword. This indicates that the Servant will not accomplish the tasks described in this passage through military conquests but by speaking some strong words from God. And when He does this, up until His arrest, He will be protected until that time. The words, ‘in the shadow of His hand He has concealed me’ and ‘He has hidden Me in His quiver’. This same allusion is used in Psalm 17 by David where he wrote, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings, From the wicked who despoil me, My deadly enemies, who surround me.” Psalm 17:8-9. This protection was to stay in place until the time of His arrest and crucifixion.
Next we read, “You are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory.” Isaiah 49:3. The idea here is that He was to come and bring Israel back to where they should have been. God’s desire for Israel was that they would go and teach others about Him. Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the world. God’s intent was for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation who pointed others towards God and His promised provision of a Redeemer, Messiah, and Savior. For the most part, Israel failed in this task. However, God’s ultimate purpose for Israel, that of bringing the Messiah into the world, was fulfilled perfectly in the Person of Jesus Christ. And it was Jesus who made known what Israel was intended to tell the world. And for this reason, I believe, He was referred to as Israel.
Then next Isaiah clarifies this purpose. “And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nation’s so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:5-6. Note the purpose of His coming. To bring Jacob back to Him in order that they may be a ‘light to the nations’. Jesus made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. This was a message to a crowd that was predominantly Jewish, of the message given in Isaiah 49:1-8. And this should be our focus; to be a light in this dark world, and to bring His glorious message to all who need to hear it, mainly the lost Jews and Gentiles. And the best way to be a light in this world is by living as God desires us to live, and to exhibit the truth of the gospel in our actions as well as through our words. This is our calling, and we must live it out so that all will hear the truth and have the opportunity to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.