Bible Book: Isaiah / Jesaja
Chapter: 49
Verse: 1
Verse (to): 7

Isaiah 49:1-7

There are a number of references of God choosing people in Isaiah 49:1-7. “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name” (RSV), says the servant in verse 1. The idea that the servant was formed in the womb by the Lord to be his servant is repeated in verse 5. In verse 3 the Lord says, “You are my servant, Israel , in whom I will be glorified” (RSV). Verse 7 closes with the statement that the Lord is the “Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you” (RSV).

Many opinions have been raised on who this servant might be. However, what interests me is what this passage tells us about what it means to be servant of the Lord.

According to Isaiah being a servant of the Lord is not trouble-free and undemanding, it is wearisome. In verse 4 the servant complains about labour and efforts that have been spent in vain. Verse 7 speaks of being “despised and rejected” (NLT). To be a servant of the Lord may be demanding and even unpleasant.

A second aspect of what it means to be a servant of the Lord is that God does not choose the servant for his or her own sake. The servant is called for the sake of “others”. According to verse 5 the purpose of the servant is to bring Israel back to God. In verse 6 this is extended to include nations. “I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (RSV). This corresponds with the first words of this chapter where the servant speaks to the coastlands (islands) and the people from afar.

It is evident that the God who calls His servant has the whole world in his field of view.

It is a wonderful privilege to serve the Lord – whether in an HIV or AIDS programme (organisation) or any other ministry. The danger of this privilege is to assume that God’s calling is about me or about us. In Isaiah 49:1-7 the servant is called with a higher purpose: To bring people to the Lord. To be a light to the nations. To be an instrument in the hand of God for the purpose of glorifying Him (cf verse 2 – 3).

To think about (or discuss): What is the purpose of your calling?

Author: du Toit N (Ds)
Language: English