Confident Expectations! The Songs of Christmas: The Servant Songs and the Greatest Service of All. Isaiah 49:1-13

Isaiah 49:1-13Amplified Bible

Salvation Reaches to the End of the Earth

49 Listen to [a]Me, O islands and coastlands,
And pay attention, you peoples from far away.
The Lord has called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He has named Me.

He has made My mouth like a sharp sword,
In the shadow of His hand He has kept Me hidden;
And He has made Me a sharpened arrow,
In His quiver He has hidden Me.

And [the Lord] said to Me, “You are My [b]Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.”

Then I said, “I have labored in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity (pride, uselessness);
However My justice is with the Lord,
And My reward is with My God.”

And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him and that Israel might be gathered to Him,
—For I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God is My strength—

He says, “It is too trivial a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the [c]survivors of Israel;
I will also make You a light to the nations
That My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

This is what the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, Israel’s Holy One says,
To the thoroughly despised One,
To the One hated by the nation
To the Servant of rulers,
[d]Kings will see and arise,
Princes shall also bow down,
Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”

This is what the Lord says,
“In a [e]favorable time I have answered You,
And in a day of salvation I have helped You;
And I will keep watch over You and give You for a covenant of the people,
To restore the land [from its present state of ruin] and to apportion and give as inheritances the deserted hereditary lands,

Saying to those who are bound and captured, ‘Go forth,’
And to those who are in [spiritual] darkness, ‘Show yourselves [come into the light of the Savior].’
They will feed along the roads [on which they travel],
And their pastures will be on all the bare heights.
“They will not hunger or thirst,
Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
For He who has compassion on them will lead them,
And He will guide them to springs of water.
“And I will make all My mountains a roadway,
And My highways will be raised.
“In fact, these will come from far away;
And, lo, these shall come from the north and from the west,
And these from the land of [f]Aswan (southern Egypt).”
Shout for joy, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
And break forth into singing, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people
And will have compassion on His afflicted.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum!

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

I am impressed by good service.

Good service at a restaurant I eat at, good service by the plumber who fixes the plumbing in house when I need it – day and night, good service from teachers in our schools where children are educated, Service from all of First Responders in times of need when we require protection, emergency medical and health care.

Whenever, Wherever it may be, if I receive good service I am impressed by it.

I am very impressed because good service surpasses my expectations for not just the everyday, give-and-take interaction, but also those life saving ones.

In difficult situations or making critical choices, we are often told to trust God.

Trust is necessary to have a relationship with Him.

If you can’t trust God, you aren’t going to willingly obey His calling on your life.

Every time we worry about something, it is showing a lack of trust in God.

Every time we try to take a situation into our own hands, it shows a lack of trust.

Every time we question what God is calling us to do, it shows a lack of trust.

So, what does it mean to constantly, and confidently, expectantly trust in God?

When you take the word back to its origins, we find that one of the earliest uses of Trust was to express “confident expectation” of someone.

That is what it means to trust God: to have confident expectations of what He is going to do.

We are confident in who He is and what He can do, and we are expectant of His working.

The power of that phrase has the ability to strengthen our faith and deepen our relationship with God.

What if we faced every difficult situation and critical decision by saying,

“I have continuously confident expectations of what God is going to do.”

The power of that sentence is palpable and tangible.

So how do we apply this?

How do we act in confident expectation?

To go back to the origin, four words round out our understanding of Trust: help, confidence, protection, and support.

If you trust someone, you believe that that person is going to help you when you are in need or in danger.

Proverbs 3:5-8Amplified Bible

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

[a]In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil.

It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts]
And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.

When you trust in the Lord, He will help you.

He will direct your paths and guide you.

It will be health to your body – and refreshment to your bones ….

To trust in the Lord is to acknowledge His ability to help and to seek His help.

Trust brings with it a sense of confidence in the person.

Isaiah 12:2 expresses this by saying,

“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’”

There is the expectation of confidence in God’s strength and His salvation.

When we are confident in God’s power, we are no longer afraid—we are bold.  

There is an assurance of protection in trust.

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us,” states Psalm 62:8.

He is a sure and certain refuge.

He protects us, we feel confident in that protection when our trust is in Him.

There is support in trust because you believe that the person is going to be there for you and they will be with you the whole time.

When you think of support, you think of the environment or people around you—that which is going to sustain you.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 illustrates what this support from God looks like. It says,

“Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord
And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord.

“For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters,
That spreads out its roots by the river;
And will not fear the heat when it comes;
But its leaves will be green and moist.
And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought
Nor stop bearing fruit.

When a tree is planted by water, it has the support of the water to thrive.

That is what it is like for us when we confidently, expectantly trust in God—we have the confident expectation of maximum support from Him that we need.

Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, founder of Methodism wrote the Advent Hymn titled “Come, Thou Long – Expected Jesus.”

It is pretty much sung at some point during each and every Advent Season.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

2. Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

The first verse speaks to the repeatedly expressed, confident expectations, of the Prophets of the Hebrew Testament that at some God Appointed time – a Messiah would come to be born on earth – to ultimately console, restore Israel.

The 2nd verse speaks to that moment having actually occurred, we hear in the background – a confident chorus of those ancient Prophets singing: Alleluia!

At Christmas each year we read and hear the Gospel story of Jesus’ birth.

For those of us who have been involved in church, planning church worship, walking the Christian life for some time, we can take this story for granted.

Instead of being impressed by the actual “long expected coming” of the truths of Immanuel’s incarnation, we often become blasé and apathetic to the season.

Yet, as I daily delve into scripture in greater depth, I become more and more impressed at how God’s handiwork throughout the Old Testament speaks into the birth of Jesus. And lately, for me, this has come from the book of Isaiah.

Miraculously, we read that seven to eight hundred years prior to the birth of Jesus, we read the prophecies and teaching of God through the person of Isaiah.

He speaks to the leaders of God’s people with admonishment and judgement upon their rebellion toward God, but also (like all Hebrew Testament prophets) Isaiah provides a growing sense of confidence, promises of hope for the future.

Through what is known as four ‘Servant Songs’ (Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-13; 50:4-9; 52:13-52:12), God’s message through the long expectant, long confident Isaiah, depicts a person who will absolutely, definitely come to serve the people of God.

This person will come from within Israel, and is to serve them as one who has been called and consecrated by the Lord. Through this ‘Servant of the Lord,’ there will come restoration, consolation, hope, and salvation for God’s people.

Isaiah 49:5-6Amplified Bible

And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him and that Israel might be gathered to Him,
—For I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God is My strength—

He says, “It is too trivial a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the [a]survivors of Israel;
I will also make You a light to the nations
That My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Isaiah’s words confidently, expectantly speak of how the Lord will form this servant from the womb, will provide him with strength to unite God’s people.

The Lord then seems to be speaking to this servant directly when he says,

 “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant, restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” (See also Isaiah 50:10; 52:13; 53:11).

Through what we could call this ‘Servant-King’, God will enact his mission in reconciling the world to himself once again.

No longer will God’s people be ruled by inept human leaders, but will be governed by a selfless, humble, and perfect Servant-King.

And this Servant-King, as we understand from the New Testament, is Jesus, is Immanuel, God with, within us, the birth of whom we celebrate each Christmas.

As we come together, as believers and non-believers in our worship services, and as we sing “Come All Ye Faithful” and “we sing Silent Night, Holy Night,”

Celebrating Jesus, celebrating Immanuel, God With Us and Within Us, this Christmas it is 100% worth considering at least 1 of these four Servant Songs,

because through them we find how important they are for understanding the incarnation event.

These Servant Songs – written several centuries before Jesus’ birth – reveal just how confidently, expectantly, specifically the prophetic scriptures speaks to the undeniable truth of who the expected “soon to arrive” Messiah would truly be.

In Isaiah 42:1-4 it reads:

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.

These words of Isaiah give us insight into the Servant-King.

We are told of what this person will do and what he won’t do.

This prophecy speaks to the heart of who Jesus is and why he has been sent.

Here are words which bring maturing confidence and expectation, hope and encouragement to the people of God, both at the time of writing and today.

Through these four verses we begin to prophetically envision a picture of the character and mission of the absolutely expected coming Servant-King Jesus.

This coming Servant-King:

  • is a specific person chosen and upheld by the Lord (verse 1)
  • is one who is delighted in by the Lord (verse 1)
  • will have the Spirit of God upon them (verse 1)
  • will bring justice to the nations and peoples of the world (verse 1)
  • will not cry aloud and lift his voice in the streets (verse 2)
  • will not break people, abuse them, or squash them (verse 3)
  • will not tire nor be discouraged from pursuing his mission (verse 4)

And when we read these, knowing our New Testament scriptures, we find that Jesus meets each aspect of this criteria.

Jesus was chosen, upheld, and delighted in by God.

He had the Spirit upon him, and has come to be the perfect just judge.

Through his ministry he worked in humility and with patience, seeking to serve, to be kind and compassionate, and tender toward others.

And finally, he did not grow discouraged or stop the work he was called to do, not even unto the point of death.

Seven hundred years after Isaiah wrote these words, they find fulfillment through the Servant-King Jesus.

Through his birth Jesus comes as the great justice-giver.

Jesus comes to bring justice to the nations, establish justice upon the earth.

Jesus achieves these words of justice through his life and ministry, ultimately turning that justice upon himself, making himself the conduit of justice by taking upon Himself the maximum measure of all of the sins of the world.

Through the cross Jesus achieves and establishes justice for the nations, and for us personally.

He serves as the Servant-King,

reminding us of the words of

Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The faithfulness of God’s Words ….

The confidence, expectations of the ancient Prophets God will absolutely COME!

The courage of the ancient Prophets to write these expectations down, not just for their coming generations of readers to remain hopeful, but for our very own coming generations too!

The confidence, the faithfulness of God’s Prophets in their Obedience to the Will of God for their times and trials and tribulations, seasons of their lives ;

But, ultimately, it comes down to ….

The faithfulness of God toward his people,

the confident delivery of true restoration,

the long expected provision of hope for the future,

and the eternal salvation for souls finds culmination at the cross.

Jesus, the Servant-King, provides us with the greatest service.

And this Christmas Eve, as we turn our hearts and souls toward the celebration of his birth may we be wonderfully expectant, impressed, strengthened in faith, and humbled through His grace, because of God’s Words through his Prophets.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your perfect plan of redemption and that by grace, You formed the Lord Jesus from the womb to be Israel’s suffering Servant and eternal King. Thank You for the lives of Your Prophets, for their words spoken and written for their people and for us, through their complete obedience to Your Will. It is only by their confidence in You, by the surest certainty, the surest expectations of Your future actions in the lives of coming generations, we have these Servant Songs. Thank You for fulfilling these ancient prophetic words, Thank You that You chose to reveal that fulfillment through the songs of the Shepherds, Mary and Joseph, Zacharias and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna. Thank You that You chose me to be part of that ancient chorus, through the Body of Christ, so that in Him we might show forth the praises of Immanuel, Him Who came to us, called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum!

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: