SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
42:1 “Here is my servant whom I support,
my chosen one in whom I take pleasure.
I have placed my Spirit on him;
he will make just decrees for the nations.
2 He will not cry out or shout;
he will not publicize himself in the streets.
3 A crushed reed he will not break,
a dim wick he will not extinguish;
he will faithfully make just decrees.
4 He will not grow dim or be crushed
before establishing justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait in anticipation for his decrees.”
5 This is what the true God, the Lord, says—
the one who created the sky and stretched it out,
the one who fashioned the earth and everything that lives on it,
the one who gives breath to the people on it,
and life to those who live on it:
6 “I, the Lord, officially commission you;
I take hold of your hand.
I protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people
and a light to the nations,
7 to open blind eyes,
to release prisoners from dungeons,
those who live in darkness from prisons.
8 “I am the Lord! That is my name!
I will not share my glory with anyone else
or the praise due me with idols.
9 Look, my earlier predictive oracles have come to pass;
now I announce new events.
Before they begin to occur,
I reveal them to you.”
10 Sing to the Lord a brand new song!
Praise him from the horizon of the earth,
you who go down to the sea and everything that lives in it,
you coastlands and those who live there.
11 Let the wilderness and its cities shout out,
the towns where the nomads of Kedar live.
Let the residents of Sela shout joyfully;
let them shout loudly from the mountaintops.
12 Let them give the Lord the honor he deserves;
let them praise his deeds in the coastlands.
13 The Lord emerges like a hero,
like a warrior he inspires himself for battle;
he shouts, yes, he yells,
he shows his enemies his power.
14 “I have been inactive for a long time;
I kept quiet and held back.
Like a woman in labor I groan;
I pant and gasp.
15 I will make the trees on the mountains and hills wither up;
I will dry up all their vegetation.
I will turn streams into islands
and dry up pools of water.
16 I will lead the blind along an unfamiliar way;
I will guide them down paths they have never traveled.
I will turn the darkness in front of them into light
and level out the rough ground.
This is what I will do for them.
I will not abandon them.
17 Those who trust in idols
will turn back and be utterly humiliated,
those who say to metal images, ‘You are our gods.’
18 “Listen, you deaf ones!
Take notice, you blind ones!
19 My servant is truly blind,
my messenger is truly deaf.
My covenant partner, the servant of the Lord, is truly blind.
20 You see many things, but don’t comprehend;
their ears are open, but do not hear.”
21 The Lord wanted to exhibit his justice
by magnifying his law and displaying it.
22 But these people are looted and plundered;
all of them are trapped in pits
and held captive in prisons.
They were carried away as loot with no one to rescue them;
they were carried away as plunder, and no one says, “Bring that back!”
23 Who among you will pay attention to this?
Who will listen attentively in the future?
24 Who handed Jacob over to the robber?
Who handed Israel over to the looters?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we sinned?
They refused to follow his commands;
they disobeyed his law.
25 So he poured out his fierce anger on them,
along with the devastation of war.
Its flames encircled them, but they did not realize it;
it burned against them, but they did not take it to heart.
43:1 Now, this is what the Lord says,
the one who created you, O Jacob,
and formed you, O Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you.
I call you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I am with you;
when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not harm you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your deliverer.
I have handed over Egypt as a ransom price,
Ethiopia and Seba in place of you.
4 Since you are precious and special in my sight
and I love you,
I will hand over people in place of you,
nations in place of your life.
5 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
From the east I will bring your descendants;
from the west I will gather you.
6 I will say to the north, ‘Hand them over!’
and to the south, ‘Don’t hold any back!’
Bring my sons from distant lands,
and my daughters from the remote regions of the earth,
7 everyone who belongs to me,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed—yes, whom I made”.
8 Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes,
those who are deaf, even though they have ears!
9 All nations gather together,
the peoples assemble.
Who among them announced this?
Who predicted earlier events for us?
Let them produce their witnesses to testify they were right;
let them listen and affirm, “It is true.”
10 “You are my witnesses,” says the Lord,
“my servant whom I have chosen
so that you may consider and believe in me,
and understand that I am he.
No god was formed before me,
and none will outlive me.
11 I, I am the Lord,
and there is no deliverer besides me.
12 I decreed and delivered and proclaimed,
and there was no other god among you.
You are my witnesses,” says the Lord, “that I am God.
13 From this day forward I am he;
no one can deliver from my power;
I will act, and who can prevent it?”
14 This is what the Lord says,
your Protector, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I send to Babylon
and make them all fugitives,
turning the Babylonians’ joyful shouts into mourning songs.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
the one who created Israel, your King.”
16 This is what the Lord says,
the one who made a road through the sea,
a pathway through the surging waters,
17 the one who led chariots and horses to destruction,
together with a mighty army.
They fell down, never to rise again;
they were extinguished, put out like a burning wick:
18 “Don’t remember these earlier events;
don’t recall these former events.
19 “Look, I am about to do something new.
Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it?
Yes, I will make a road in the wilderness
and paths in the wastelands.
20 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and ostriches,
because I put water in the wilderness
and streams in the wastelands
to quench the thirst of my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself,
so they might praise me.
22 “But you did not call for me, O Jacob;
you did not long for me, O Israel.
23 You did not bring me lambs for your burnt offerings;
you did not honor me with your sacrifices.
I did not burden you with offerings;
I did not make you weary by demanding incense.
24 You did not buy me aromatic reeds;
you did not present to me the fat of your sacrifices.
Yet you burdened me with your sins;
you made me weary with your evil deeds.
25 I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake;
your sins I do not remember.
26 Remind me of what happened. Let’s debate!
You, prove to me that you are right!
27 The father of your nation sinned;
your spokesmen rebelled against me.
28 So I defiled your holy princes,
and handed Jacob over to destruction,
and subjected Israel to humiliating abuse.