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Isaiah 42:5-7

Given For A Covenant

5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.


Now, God turns from speaking to the people of the captivity and speaks directly to the Messiah. We have in this short passage, therefore, a window through which we can hear a private conversation within the Godhead, a loving word from the Father to the Son. Such precious opportunities are rare and this short study cannot do it justice. It will demand that the reader spend many hours meditating on the depths of what God has allowed us to witness.

Yahweh begins by clearly identifying Himself, so that we should not doubt who the speaker is. He is the Creator of the heavens, the One who has stretched them out with such magnificent beauty that, on a clear night, they take our breath away. He is the Creator who has spread out the vast expanse of earth that stretches from horizon to horizon and seems to touch the edges of heaven. We are on the earth, because He has placed us here, and we live, because He has given us the breath of life. The spirit that dwells in these bodies is placed there by God and is created in His image and for His purpose. He is the One who will now speak precious words to His beloved Son, the Messiah.

"I Yahweh have called thee in righteousness." God has "called" His Son for a righteous reason.

"What, however, is righteousness? The root suggests conformity to a fixed norm or standard. A weight, for example, is said to be righteous (tzedeq) because it conforms to the standard (cf. Deut. 25:15)." (Edward J. Young) The fixed standard for behavior is Yahweh Himself. Thus, He is telling His Messiah that His calling has a divine purpose. It has been perfectly reasoned, perfectly justified, perfectly planned and will be perfectly executed, because it serves the heart and will of Yahweh.

"...and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee..." These are words that might be spoken by any father to his son and they allow us to better understand the relationship between the heavenly Father and Son. It is an assurance of the Father's love and concern for His Son. In this case, we know what the Son was being called to do. He would have to go through a difficult ordeal. The Father has assured Him, however, that the cause is righteous and that He will be there holding His hand and protecting Him.

"...and give thee for a covenant of the people..." This is why the Messiah has been called. Most commentators interpret this to mean that the Messiah was called to be a party to the new covenant or the mediator of the covenant. He certainly is both the mediator and a party to the covenant and much more. He is the covenant!

Adam Clarke has pointed out that berith is often used to mean, "the covenant sacrifice," and felt like this would be a better translation. I think it expresses much more clearly what the Son was being called to do and illustrates the passion of what Yahweh is saying in these verses. He was calling His only begotten Son to be the sacrificial Lamb that would take away the sins of the world.

God has said, "I will give thee..." As the covenant sacrifice, the Lamb of God, the Messiah would be a free gift to the people. The new covenant would therefore be a covenant of grace.

Commentators have disagreed about who is meant by "the people." Some think it means all people throughout the earth and others argue that it can only mean Israel. If we understand the Messiah to be given as the covenant sacrifice, the people must be Israel, because only they had any covenant with God. Only Israel was told to sacrifice the lamb for their sins, and the Messiah's sacrifice would be the final and all-sufficient sacrifice.

By God's unlimited grace, however, the Son was also given for the Gentiles. He would be the light that makes the knowledge of God available to all people. "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4) He is the light of our salvation, the way, the truth and the life. He would open the eyes of mankind after several millennia of blindness. He would free the prisoners from the darkness and dungeons of sin. He is the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world and, even though the Gentiles had no covenant, they had many sins that had to be covered by His blood.

Herein lies the heart of God when He says, "I will hold thine hand, and will keep thee," to His Son. We cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for the Father. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Before The Throne:

We have witnessed a heart-felt moment in eternity in which God not only expressed His love for His Son, but also showed how much He loves you. He gave His Son to you so that you could have life! How will you respond to His words today? Please pray about this. Do not leave this prayer time without encountering God's love and experiencing a change in your own life. What will you give back?

For Further Study:

(v.5) ** he that created. Isa 40:12,22,28; 44:24; 45:12,18; 48:13; Ps 102:25,26; 104:2-35; Jer 10:12; 32:17; Am 9:6; Zec 12:1; Heb 1:2,10-12; ** he that spread. Ge 1:10-12,24,25; Ps 24:1,2; 136:6; ** he that giveth. Ge 2:7; Job 12:10; 27:3; 33:4; 34:14; Ps 33:6; Da 5:23; Ac 17:25;

(v.6) ** called. Isa 32:1; 43:1; 45:13; 49:1-3; Ps 45:6,7; Jer 23:5,6; 33:15,16; Ro 3:25,26; Heb 1:8,9; 7:2,26; ** and will hold. Isa 41:13; ** and give. Isa 49:8; Mt 26:28; Lu 1:69-72; Ro 15:8,9; 2Co 1:20; Ga 3:15-17; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24; 13:20; ** a light. Isa 49:6; 51:4,5; 60:1-3; Lu 2:32; Joh 8:12; Ac 13:47; 26:23; 1Pe 2:9;

(v.7) ** open. Isa 29:18; 35:5; Ps 146:8; Mt 11:5; Lu 24:45; Joh 9:39; Ac 26:18; 2Co 4:6; Eph 1:17,18; Re 3:18; ** to bring. Isa 9:2; 49:9; 61:1; Ps 107:10-16; 146:7; Zec 9:11,12; Lu 4:18-21; 2Ti 2:26; Heb 2:14,15; 1Pe 2:9;

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