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Isaiah 42:2-4

The Isles Are Waiting

2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.


As we continue to look at God's promise to send a servant, whom we have identified as the Messiah, we are given an understanding of how He would conduct His business. Some men, when given power or an important task, can be very aggressive toward the weaker members of society. They fail to empathize with the poor, the sick, the crippled etc. and will inadvertently or purposely roll right over them on their way to completing their mission. God's servant is described as doing things very differently from what we might expect.

"He shall not cry, nor lift up..." The Servant was not going to be someone who would make a loud disturbance in order to get attention. He would not lift up his voice. Matthew quoted this passage in 12:18-21, translating it as, "He shall not strive nor cry..." Thus, we might understand the verb "to lift up" as meaning, "to strive, to wrangle, or to argue." The bearer of truth and of good news does not need to argue His point. Truth is absolute. Others may argue against it, but truth needs no one to defend it. The servant would present His message in a soft gently spoken manner. Those who came to Him would hear, but He would not shout so that those who had no interest would hear His voice in the streets.

"A bruised reed shall he not break..." The word "bruised" is referring to something that has been broken or crushed but is still intact. A reed grew in the marsh, could be easily uprooted, swayed with the wind and, when dried, was easily broken. One that has already been crushed could easily be broken completely off. It is used symbolically in this verse to represent the oppressed people of the world, those who are hanging on to this life by a bare existence and perhaps a little faith. The servant would not harm them.

"...and the smoking flax shall he not quench." This is similar to the example of the reed. Perhaps it describes people whose fire has been quenched. There is still a little heat and smoke coming from them, but no light. They have little faith left in their own righteousness, little hope in anything worldly and hearts that are about to give up. "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)

To these poor and afflicted people, the Servant would bring judgment, or justice, or the law, unto truth. He would bring them fair treatment, even mercy and grace, and the opportunity or right to be called the sons of God. His word would be truth and His grace would replace the law.

This would not be an easy task. It would not be accomplished quickly or without suffering, but the Servant would not quit. He would not fail, would not get faint, would not weaken and would not be discouraged. The final result is that He would set His judgment in the earth. The kingdom of God will reign on earth as it does in heaven and there will be justice, mercy and grace for all.

The final statement in our passage is particularly important for the modern church to understand. "...and the isles shall wait for His law." Something will have happened to the nations across the seas, "the isles," that will prepare them to receive the Servant's words. They would be waiting for His "torah;" not the Law of Moses but the law of grace. They will have become disillusioned with their heathen gods and mystical beliefs and will be ready to hear the truth.

The day has come. The Islamic radicals are showing the entire world how such false doctrines can lead to violence and how they provide little comfort to the poor or wretched people of this world. While radical Islam bombs innocent women and children, the church of God's Servant has been silently reaching out to provide love and care for tsunami victims, earthquake victims, epidemic victims, the world's starving populations and those who live under oppressive regimes.

The gospel is being embraced by tens of thousands of people around the world each day, yet there are many who never hear it. The spread of the gospel is not keeping up with the world's population growth, but the isles are desperately waiting. They are ready to hear the good news.

Before The Throne:

You and I must ask what our role in this amazing fulfillment of prophecy should be. Is God calling you to go? Should you send money to support our missionaries? Perhaps you are being called to raise and prepare future missionaries. Maybe God wants you to help with the relief effort. It could be that all He wants you to do is help to pack boxes for overseas shipment. You have a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Servant's work. Pray until you know where God wants you to serve.

For Further Study:

(v.2) Zec 9:9; Mt 11:29; 12:16-20; Lu 17:20; 2Ti 2:24; 1Pe 2:23;

(v.3) ** bruised. Isa 35:3,4; 40:11,29-31; 50:4,10; 57:15-18; 61:1-3; 66:2; Ps 103:13,14; 147:3; Jer 30:12-17; 31:18-20,25; Eze 34:16; Mt 11:28; 18:11-14; Lu 22:31,32; Joh 20:19-21,27; Heb 2:17,18; ** He shall. Isa 11:3,4; Ps 72:2-4; 96:13; 98:9; Mic 7:9; Joh 5:30; Re 19:11;

(v.4) ** shall not. Isa 9:7; 49:5-10; 52:13-15; 53:2-12; Joh 17:4,5; Heb 12:2-4; 1Pe 2:22-24; ** and the isles. Isa 2:2-4; 11:9-12; 24:15,16; 41:5; 55:5; 60:9; 66:19; Ge 49:10; Ps 22:27; 72:8-11; 98:2,3; Mic 4:1-3; Zec 2:11; Ro 16:26; 1Co 9:21;

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