Isaiah 42:1-9 The Servant Of The LORD-Part I.
“This is the first of four “Servant Songs” in chs. 40-55 celebrating the Servant of the Lord (sic) (49:1-7; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12; cf. ch. 61). The servant imagery is fulfilled in Jesus (Matt. 12:15-21) and is also applicable to Israel (41:8) before His coming, and to the church later (1 Pet. 2:21-25). Israel as “Servant” includes only the faithful, not the unfaithful Israel (vv. 18-22)” (NGSB p.1096). The Servant is also the LORD’s ‘Elect One’ in whom his soul delights. The Servant also has the Spirit upon him, in part to “bring forth justice to the Gentiles” (v. 1), bearing witness to the LORD among the nations.
His speech would be through bringing forth “justice for truth” in the earth (vv. 2-3). This was the mission given to Israel, and the Messiah to come, and with him the Gentiles included through his church (Cf. 43:10; 49:3, 6). “He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law” (v. 4 Cf. Gen. 49:10). “The Servant will practice godliness on earth (cf. 2:2-4). He will be greater than Moses (Deut. 18:15-18; Acts 3:22-26), mediating a new covenant that enables people to keep His law (v. 6; 2 Cor. 3:3; Heb. 8:7-13)” (IBID. p.1096).
The Redeemer LORD reminds them, and us, that he is also the God who created and sustains all things, giving his people strength (v. 5 Cf. 44:24; 57:16; Acts 17:25). “The Creator and Sustainer of life (Ps. 104:30; Acts 17:24-25) will enable the Servant to transform the earth with new, spiritual life” (Ibid. p.1096). The LORD would call his people in righteousness and hold them, in the mission he was entrusting them with (v. 6a). However, in the following mention of the Servant, the Messiah alone is in view, because he would be given “as a covenant to the people” (v. 6b Cf. 43:1; 49:6-8; Lk. 2:32; Acts 10:45; 13:47; Gal. 3:14).
The people cannot be the covenant for them. The covenant was always meant to be the vehicle through which the LORD would dwell with his people, and it is this mediatorial role which the Messiah to come would fulfill. Messiah would bring sight to the blind, freedom to prisoners sitting trapped in the darkness of their sinful condition (v. 7). It should have been clear to all that this could only find ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah, and that it was spiritual in nature (Cf. 9:2; 35:5; 61:1-2; Lk. 4:18; II Tim. 2:26; Heb. 2:14). The Messiah is the great ‘I am’, who dwells in the Glory-Presence, and who is also the Lord of history (vv. 8-9 Cf. 48:11; Ex. 20:3-5).