Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation

Part LVIII: God's Encouragement Of Reversing Israel's Subjugation To Gentiles

(Isaiah 49:14-26)


I.              Introduction

A.    Trials in the believer's life can lead to such a deep level of discouragement that he may feel that the Lord has forsaken or even forgotten about him and his needs when in reality, God is very concerned and involved.

B.    This would be Israel's need in captivity, and Isaiah 49:14-26 addresses this matter (as follows):

II.           God's Encouragement Of Reversing Israel's Subjugation To Gentiles, Isaiah 49:14-26.

A.    In Isaiah 49:14, "Zion," that represents the people of Jerusalem in Babylonian Captivity (Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1104; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Isa. 49:14-26), would say that "Jahweh" (Kittel, Bib. Heb., p. 678) had forsaken her, that her "Adonai" (Ibid.) or "My Master," had forgotten her!

B.    [Actually, in view of God's first revelation of His Name, "Jahweh" to Moses in Exodus 3:14 (Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Ex. 3:14 and 3:15) when He recalled His 400-year-old Abrahamic Covenant to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 2:23-25), this was an inexcusable view for Israel after only 70 years of captivity in Babylon!]

C.    God graciously replied, saying that though a woman might forget her nursing infant so as not to have compassion on the son of her womb, He would not forget His people, Isaiah 49:15.  Indeed, God declared that He had engraved Israel on the palms of His hands, that her city walls were always in His view, Isaiah 49:16.

D.    Due to this commitment by God, the city's destroyers would go out and her sons would hasten to enter her, a great reverse of fortunes for Jerusalem, Isa. 49:17; Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, 1974, v. III, p. 286.

E.     God then called the city of Jerusalem to lift up her eyes and look around to see that her children, a reference to the city's people, were gathering, coming to her, that as the Lord lived, He promised Jerusalem would put them all on as an ornament of beauty like a bride dons ornaments for her wedding, Isaiah 49:18.

F.     In fact, God promised that Israel's waste and desolate places would become too small for her inhabitants while those Gentile nations that had oppressed her would be far away, Isaiah 49:19.  Even Israel's children of whom she at one time had been bereaved through losses in war would say that the place was too small for them, asking for more room, Isaiah 49:20.

G.    Israel would wonder from where all the children had arisen after she had been bereaved of them, that their number would be thus so overwhelming, Isaiah 49:21!

H.    Beyond that, God promised to lift up His hand to the nations, raising His signal to the peoples, directing them to bring Israel's sons in their arms and her daughters on their shoulders, Isaiah 49:22 NIV.  Even Gentile kings would be the foster parents of Israel's children and Gentile queens their nursing mothers, and they would bow before Israel's people, licking the dust at their feet, and Israel would finally realize that God was the Lord, that those who "wait for with eager expectation " (qawah, H. A. W., Theol. Wrdbk. of the O. T., 1980, v. II, p. 791) God to keep His promises of salvation and restoration would not be put to shame, Isaiah 49:23.

I.       God in Isaiah 49:25a asked if the prey could be taken from the warriors or the "captivity of the righteous" [Masoretic reading] be delivered (Isaiah 49:24; Ibid., Young, p. 292-293), a rhetorical question expecting a negative answer, but God claimed Israel's captives would be taken from their fierce captors as He would contend with those who contended against Israel and save her children from such great foes, Isaiah 49:25b.

J.      So great would be Israel's reverse of fortunes that God would cause her fierce, tyrannical foes who oppressed her to eat their own flesh and to drink their own blood as if it were wine, Isaiah 49:26a.  Whether this claim is to be taken literally or figuratively, it predicts that God will cause the forceful oppressors of Israel to face horrible treatment in divine revenge for what they had done to His people.

K.    In response, the world would know that Israel's God was her "Jahweh" (Ibid., Kittel, p. 679) and Savior, her Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob, Isaiah 49:26b.  The God of Israel's father Jacob would keep His Covenant to him! (Note how the theme of Isaiah 49:14-26 fits God's promise to Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15.)


Lesson: To a discouraged Israel in Babylonian Captivity who wondered if God had abandoned or forgotten her, God promised a COMPLETE reverse of fortune for her due to His lasting commitment to bless His people in keeping with His covenant to Jacob and the forefathers.


Application: If tempted to be discouraged by great, long trials fueled by formidable foes, may we recall God's commitment to bless us in the end, and so wait with eager expectation for Him to reverse our circumstances!