Through the Bible Day by Day
Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
“A LIGHT TO THE GENTILES”
The first division of this second part of Isaiah closes at Isa_48:22, with the phrase there is no peace to the wicked. The second division of part 2 closes with a similar phrase, Isa_57:21. The first division here ends with the proclamation for Israel to leave Babylon. They need never have gone there. If only they have been obedient in every particular theirs would have been the happy lot of Isa_48:18, as contrasted with Isa_48:22. But even under such circumstances, in captivity and as slaves of the Chaldeans the redeeming grace of God would triumph, Isa_48:20; Isa_49:5.
The second great division of Part 2 opens with Isa_49:1. In their first and immediate reference, these verses evidently apply to our Lord. See Act_13:47, etc. In the mission of Jesus, the ideal of the Hebrew race was realized. As the white flower on the stalk He revealed the essential beauty and glory of the root, Isa_49:6. See Hos_11:1; Mat_2:1-2; Mat_2:14-15, etc.
There is a secondary sense, also, in which the Christian worker may appropriate many things in this glowing paragraph. Our mouth must be surrendered to God, that He may use it for His own high purposes. But do not dread the shadow of His hand. It is the quiver case in which He keeps His chosen arrows against the battle!
But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
THE LORD CANNOT FORGET HIS OWN
These assurances were given to the chosen race on the eve of their return from Babylon. They were timid and reluctant to quit the familiar scenes of their captivity; they dreaded the dangers and privations of their way home, and questioned whether the great empire of their captors would ever let them go or allow their city to rise from its ruins. Therefore the Lord’s voice takes on a tone of unusual persuasiveness. Let us ponder His assurances of compassion and comfort, Isa_49:13; Isa_49:15-16.
He will lead us with a shepherd’s care, Isa_49:10. He will make obstacles subserve His purpose, Isa_49:11. His love is more than motherhood, Isa_49:15. He treasures the remembrance of His own, Isa_49:16. Zion thinks herself cast away as a derelict, Isa_49:14, but such is not the case. Even her broken walls are ever before God, with a view to their rebuilding, Isa_49:19, etc. God’s love is stronger than our strongest enemies, Isa_49:25, etc. Let us hide in it, standing above the fears that compose the cloudland of our soul, in the upper peaks of a strong faith.