Isaiah 49:4 – From Nothing and Vanity to Justice and Reward

Isaiah 49:4 But I said, “I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD,
And My reward with My God.”

When Jesus died on the cross, it certainly appeared that he had “toiled in vain,” and “spent his strength for nothing and vanity.”  However, his resurrection from the dead was “the justice due him and his reward from his God.”

In the crucifixion, Messiah had suffering (that’s the first two lines of Isaiah 49:4).  In the resurrection, however, Messiah had glory (that’s the last two lines of Isaiah 49:4).

For more on Messiah’s sufferings and glories, see Index to Posts on Sufferings and Glories.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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Isaiah 49:3 – Messiah Is the One Through Whom God Is Showing His Glory

Isaiah 49:3 He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.”

Isaiah is prophesying of Jesus our Lord – the Messiah of Israel.  Messiah was God’s ultimate servant.  All the prophets served God, but none as greatly as the Messiah did.

God did show His glory in Messiah, and is still doing so – and will be doing so throughout all eternity.  Messiah’s rule was “the administration suitable to the fulness of times” as Paul writes:

Ephesians 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth…

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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Isaiah 49:2 – Messiah Is the Arrow of God

Isaiah 49:2 He has made My mouth like a sharp sword,
In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me;
And He has also made Me a select arrow,
He has hidden Me in His quiver.

God made Jesus’ mouth to be “like a sharp sword.”  Thus the apostle John in the book of Revelation writes:

Revelation 19:15  From His mouth comes a sharp sword…

Messiah was hidden until his time.  Then he was revealed.  But even then, he was revealed to Israel and not to the great emperor in Rome.  The task of announcing His coming fell to His humble disciples.

Messiah was an arrow to the heart of God’s enemies.  Satan is defeated by him!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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Isaiah 49:1 – Messiah Was Called from His Mother’s Womb

 

Isaiah 49:1 Listen to Me, O islands,
And pay attention, you peoples from afar.
The LORD called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me.

Isaiah is here prophesying to us of Messiah.  Listen to how Matthew describes its fulfillment:

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
Matthew 1:20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Messiah was named (called) “Jesus” by order of the Lord while he was still in his mother’s womb.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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See “Strong and Courageous” in Both Testaments

We know that the apostles taught from what we call the Old Testament.  Just how deeply the Old Testament texts permeated their common and individual consciousnesses, however, is not always plain to see.  It’s certainly plain when the apostles quote and Old Testament verses – especially when Bibles like the New American Standard Bible identify those quotations by rendering them in all capital letters.  It’s not so plain, however, when the apostles use language from the Old Testament in ways that don’t show up as direct quotations.  Let me give you an example.

The people of God were exhorted by Moses to “be strong and courageous.”  For example [emphasis added here and throughout]:

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

In the New Testament, we can see the same sort of exhortation to the people of God.  Consider this from Paul:

1 Thessalonians 3:2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,

The point is not that Paul is “quoting” the verse from Deuteronomy, but that the idea of the people of God needing strength and encouragement as they prepared to enter the kingdom of God had become a part of his thinking.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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Jesus Lived Off of Inherited Wealth

You have heard that Jesus was born poor.  And this is true…in the flesh.  In the spirit, however, he was quite wealthy.  This is because he was heir not only to all the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also to all the promises made to David.  Some say that Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17) was through Joseph while Luke’s genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:23-38) was through Mary.  In either case, Jesus was a descendant of David according to the flesh and therefore heir to those “precious and magnificent promises” (2 Peter 1:4).

In a spiritual sense, therefore, Jesus was like a Kennedy or a Rockefeller or a Rothschild.  He lacked for nothing!

How much more then do you and I need to recognize our own wealth in the inheritance He has bequeathed to us (Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:12).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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We Are, Like Isaac, Children of Promise

The apostle Paul wrote:

Galatians 4:28 And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.

Isaac was born as the result of God fulfilling His promise of a son to Abraham.  Ishmael did not count in this regard because he was not born of Abraham’s faith but rather of Abraham’s doubt.  Isaac, however, was a true child of faith.

As the child of faith in God’s promise, Isaac inherited the promises God had made to Abraham – for God had said to Abraham, “…and to your descendants…” as part of the promises.

Jesus was due children as a result of being a descendant of Abraham.  He was denied those children in the days of his flesh, but he is receiving them forever through the spirit.

Therefore, let us experience life as Isaac did – heirs to the very promise that created us.  That is, let us teach the faith to those in our sphere of influence, that our children in the faith might pass it on to their children in the faith and so on.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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The Inheritance of God’s Promises Is Greater Than Any Monetary Inheritance

By watching how Jesus took to heart and trusted the promises of God, His disciples came to see just how valuable these promises were that they had inherited from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Esau is the classic example of a worldly-minded person who had no appreciation for the blessings inherent in a promise from God.  Thus the New Testament says:

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Hebrews 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.

Therefore, be moral and godly…and seek to understand the promises of God that you might benefit from them.

Jesus and his fellow Jews inherited these promises by virtue of their fleshly descent from Abraham.  We, however, receive the full inheritance through our spiritual connection with Jesus Christ our Lord.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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Jesus Lived by Faith in the Promises of God

One of the things that was so striking to the Jews who surrounded Jesus of Nazareth was that from their childhoods he had been reading the same Scriptures as they, yet he was getting so much more out of them than they were.

The difference was faith.  Jesus took to heart what Moses and the Prophets had written.  He banked His life on it.   And look what it did for him!

The original disciples were therefore keen to learn from his faith and to imitate it.  They began to take God’s promises to Abraham much more seriously than they ever had before.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord. Do You?

Genesis 6:8 KJV says, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Many people find no grace in the eyes of the Lord.  They see only problems with the idea that God sees all things.  They must be doing evil, for that would make you fearful of the eyes of the Lord.  If, however, you were seeking only to do good, being watched by God would be a welcome truth.

As it says in the fourth Gospel:

John 3:19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
John 3:21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

This is why the pure in heart shall see God (Matthew 5:8)…because they want to be seen.  They are hoping He gives attention to them.

Do not “love the darkness.”  Love the light in His eyes, which are like “a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14; 2:18; 19:12).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

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