Nov 24, 2023
God knew that the people of Israel would struggle at times in exile to believe the great promise that one day a Servant would come and establish justice in the earth. To these doubts, God spoke. He offered to those struggling to believe three assurances that He will indeed do all He promised.
Assurance #1 | The Promiser Is the LORD - the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Isaiah calls our attention to the one making this great promise to us,
5 Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: (Isaiah 42:5 ESV)
The Promiser is the LORD, the one who made heaven and earth. He formed the universe. He “spread it out.” He produces its fruit in each season. Even the men who walk on the earth’s surface stand as recipients of His life. He only is supreme. All origins are from God, through God and to God. Therefore what will come of today’s activities will be the work of God. This is astounding.
How could the Israelites be sure of the promise? They could look at the one who had issued it! He is above all. He is in all. And, by His might all things will exist and continue to exist. If He promises something, He has all the resources and the power to make it happen.
Assurance #2 | The Promiser Is Wholly Resolved to His Purpose.
The LORD will not let Himself be known for failure.
8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. (Isaiah 42:8 ESV)
He will not let false idols steal His praise. He will exalt Himself. He will prove Himself the LORD. He will reveal Himself as the one and only. He will be worshipped and praised among the nations. He will be known in the coastlands and on the islands far away. He will not be known for failing to keep His word. He will not be known for failing to uphold His commitments. He will not lose the war. He will not abandon His people. He will not be stopped. His power will not prove ineffective. He is determined and resolved to do all He has said.
Assurance #3 | The Promiser Is Proven
The LORD possesses a track record. The past events which he foretold came to pass.
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:9 ESV)
He said, “Let there be light,” and sure enough the sun has been faithfully shining ever since. He told Noah a flood would come. Indeed, the heavens opened up, the waters covered the earth and God’s Word proved trustworthy. He told Abraham and Sarah, “About this time next year you will have a son.” Sarah laughed, but God once again upheld His Word. Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac.
God told the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - that their descendants would suffer in Egypt. They certainly did. He also declared that He would bring those same descendants up out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and God with great power brought them through the Red Sea and into the promised land. He identified David as the future king of Israel and in time, David wore the crown and sat on the throne just as God said. He declared ahead of time that the kingdom of Israel would fall due to their hardness of heart. They hardened their hearts and then suffered the fall of their nation at the hands of a great foreign army.
These examples are selected from so many. God’s Word comes to pass. He tells ahead of time what will be, then He does it. This has been true from the beginning.
God Has Upheld All His Promises through the Servant, Jesus Christ.
If we obey God’s call to behold His Servant, Jesus Christ, we will find every reason to rest assured even in the worst of circumstances and in the aftermath of great injustice.
By looking at Jesus, we see ample proof that the LORD possesses the power and resources to do all that He pleases. For example, Jesus’ life begins with the miracle of being born of a virgin! Later in life, this Jesus would command demons, the wind, and the hearts of men; each would obey in submission to His Word. He turned the churning waters of the sea into a solid path on which His feet would walk. He turned a child’s lunch box into a catering order able to satisfy the hunger of 5,000. Outshining all of these awesome works, Jesus went down into the grave and then by the power of God the Father raised to life again! How can one be assured that the LORD possesses the ability to do all He says? Look at the resurrected Jesus. If Satan cannot keep him in the grave, if death cannot put an end to His mission, what threat to His promise remains?
Not only in the Servant do we find convincing proof of God’s might, but we also see just how determined the Father and Son are to fulfill their promise. When the time came for Jesus to die so that justice might be upheld, God did not spare His own Son. When Jesus looked at death, the crucifixion he had to endure, and the cup of wrath before Him, He did not shrink back. He did not abandon His assignment. Instead, with joy set before Him, He endured. If God did not even spare His own Son and if the Servant proved faithful even in death, can we not be assured that all He has promised to do will indeed come to pass?
God the LORD will do everything He has promised. He will bring justice to the nations. He will establish His righteous government and just rule. He will do so in Jesus, the Servant. We can be assured of this.
Be Assured by Beholding Jesus.
Perhaps, on occasion or even now, you share with the psalmist a soul that has been cast down. Perhaps you know a depression of the soul. Maybe this depression stays out of the sight of your loved ones. Only you in your soul know the gloominess which darkens your heart. Maybe you struggle in your pain, frustration, and difficulty to operate in this world with any measure of hope. Perhaps hopelessness seems to press in on you from every side. Though your lungs fill with air, you are suffocating.
Turn your attention upward to the God of these great promises. Behold His Servant. Remember Christ. Look at Christ. Sit with those who speak of Christ. Get alone and preach Christ to yourself. You must in times of doubt turn to your own heart and speak. The world, Satan, your flesh, and circumstances often present great arguments able to persuade many to give up their faith and succumb to despair, but Jesus is a better argument and a sure foundation if only we might see Him with faith.
Therefore at times, especially in dark seasons, we must address our own hearts and minds. We must preach to ourselves the gospel, the good news of Jesus. We must say to ourselves with the psalmist, “Hope thou in God!” (Ps 42:11). And we must fortify our hope and find strength for our faith by remembering Christ, for there we will find endless reason to hope against hope (Ro 4:10).
“You have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why are thou cast down?’… You must… say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’ - instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and What God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged to do.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones