Study Guide

Book of Isaiah Chapter 42

Chapter 42

Wouldn't Hurt a Fly—or Bruise a Reed

  • God will send a servant to the world, a person who pleases and delights him. God loves effective people.
  • The servant will spread justice to all the nations, but he'll be so meek that he won't even break a bruised reed or put out a dimly burning wick.
  • He won't die until he's succeeded at his mission—understandably, people are pretty excited that he's coming.
  • God tells the servant that he's given him as a covenant with his people and a light to the nations. He'll help free prisoners from their dungeon, and open the eyes of the blind.
  • God says that he's only spoken of things that already have happened ("Already happened?! Where's that servant dude?" – The Audience), but now he's telling the people of new things.

Sing Along Apocalypse

  • Isaiah asks the people to sing a new song, praising God. All over the land, towns and cities will raise up their voices, doing the same.
  • God will go out, like a soldier, and triumph over his foes. He'll cry out like a woman in labor (classic battle cry, eh?), and start wreaking righteous havoc on the natural world.  
  • After all this destruction, time for some community service. God announces a new plan to lead the blind along unfamiliar paths (no news on whether they requested this, or whether it's a "we're going and you're gonna like it" situation). 
  • God won't forsake his people, but he will turn back idolaters. Boo idolaters.
  • He tells the blind and the deaf to look at his servant (now, it seems like God is talking about Israel in the abstract as his "servant," asking if there is anyone who is blind or deaf but him. (Another translation: you think you know blindness? Wait until you see this pack of loons.) 
  • God notes that Israel has been given a ton of signs and messages, but they refuse to pay attention to any of them. God, quite pleased with his righteousness, reminds Israel that he saw fit to give them a great and glorious set of laws. 
  • Meanwhile, the people have been robbed and plundered, living in prisons and holes.  
  • "Isn't anyone gonna save them?" Isaiah asks rhetorically. 
  • Alas, as we've heard many a time, God wanted them to follow his laws, but they wouldn't. So he poured out his wrath like fire on Israel, which still failed to get his message.

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