January 8, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Wednesday after Epiphany


Morning - Ps. 22, 23, 24, Is. 49, 1 John 1:1-9
Evening - Ps. 48, 117, Is. 54:1-10, Acts 28:23

Commentary, Isaiah 49

Here we see God's promise to end the Jewish captivity.  They have been forcefully moved to Babylon and other countries by their captors, and this has been purposed by God because of their sin.  But His anger does not last forever, and He remember mercy, even in wrath.  He will return the Jews to Judea by His powerful and graceful hand.  They "shall come from afar: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of shinim" (49:12).  Their numbers will be far greater than before.  Areas now uninhabited wastelands because of the desolation of war will be too small to hold the numbers of their people.  They will say, "The place is too straight (small and narrow) for me; give place (land, room) to me that I may dwell" (49:20).Gentiles will bring the children of Israel (49:22) and will enable and aid them to return.  Gentiles will also join themselves to them, and become heirs with them in the salvation of God.  They will bring them and they will also come themselves (49:6-7).

This will be made possible by a mysterious Person sent from God to accomplish it.  He will be formed in the womb to bring Jacob to God again (49:5).  Nor will His ministry end with the Jews, for He shall be a light to the Gentiles, and accomplish salvation "unto the end of the earth" (49:6).

Obviously, the passage looks forward to much more than the physical return from Babylon.  It pictures a spiritual return to God that begins with the Jews and extends to people in all parts of the world.  The One who accomplishes this is none other than Christ Jesus, and the salvation written of in these verses is ultimately His Kingdom of grace.

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