CAN A MOTHER FORGET HER CHILD? ISAIAH 49:1-26

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1 1 CAN A MOTHER FORGET HER CHILD? ISAIAH 49:1-26

2 2 Text: Isaiah 49:1-26, CAN A MOTHER FORGET HER CHILD? ISAIAH Listen to me, you coastlands! Pay attention, you people who live far away! The Lord summoned me from birth; he commissioned me when my mother brought me into the world. 2. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, he hid me in the hollow of his hand; he made me like a sharpened arrow, he hid me in his quiver. 3. He said to me, You are my servant, Israel, through whom I will reveal my splendor. 4. But I thought, I have worked in vain; I have expended my energy for absolutely nothing. But the Lord will vindicate me; my God will reward me. 5. So now the Lord says, the one who formed me from birth to be his servant he did this to restore Jacob to himself, so that Israel might be gathered to him; and I will be honored in the Lord s sight, for my God is my source of strength 6. he says, Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant, to reestablish the tribes of Jacob, and restore the remnant of Israel? I will make you a light to the nations, so you can bring my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth.

3 This is what the Lord, the protector of Israel, their Holy One, says to the one who is despised and rejected by nations, a servant of rulers: Kings will see and rise in respect, princes will bow down, because of the faithful Lord, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you. 8. This is what the Lord says: At the time I decide to show my favor, I will respond to you; in the day of deliverance I will help you; I will protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people, to rebuild the land and to reassign the desolate property. 9. You will say to the prisoners, Come out, and to those who are in dark dungeons, Emerge. They will graze beside the roads; on all the slopes they will find pasture. 10. They will not be hungry or thirsty; the sun s oppressive heat will not beat down on them, for one who has compassion on them will guide them; he will lead them to springs of water. 11. I will make all my mountains into a road; I will construct my roadways. 12. Look, they come from far away! Look, some come from the north and west, and others from the land of Sinim! 13. Shout for joy, O sky! Rejoice, O earth! Let the mountains give a joyful shout! For the Lord consoles his people and shows compassion to the oppressed. The Lord Remembers Zion 14. Zion said, The Lord has abandoned me, the sovereign master has forgotten me. 15. Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? Even if mothers were to forget, I could never forget you!

4 Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms; your walls are constantly before me. 17. Your children hurry back, while those who destroyed and devastated you depart. 18. Look all around you! All of them gather to you. As surely as I live, says the Lord, you will certainly wear all of them like jewelry; you will put them on as if you were a bride. 19. Yes, your land lies in ruins; it is desolate and devastated. But now you will be too small to hold your residents, and those who devoured you will be far away. 20. Yet the children born during your time of bereavement will say within your hearing, This place is too cramped for us, make room for us so we can live here. 21. Then you will think to yourself, Who bore these children for me? I was bereaved and barren, dismissed and divorced. Who raised these children? Look, I was left all alone; where did these children come from? 22. This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look I will raise my hand to the nations; I will raise my signal flag to the peoples. They will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. 23. Kings will be your children s guardians; their princesses will nurse your children. With their faces to the ground they will bow down to you and they will lick the dirt on your feet. Then you will recognize that I am the Lord; those who wait patiently for me are not put to shame. 24. Can spoils be taken from a warrior, or captives be rescued from a conqueror?

5 Indeed, says the Lord, captives will be taken from a warrior; spoils will be rescued from a conqueror. I will oppose your adversary and I will rescue your children. 26. I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will get drunk on their own blood, as if it were wine. Then all humankind will recognize that I am the Lord, your deliverer, your protector, the powerful Ruler of Jacob. (NET) Introduction: It continues to be obvious that many prophecies have two applications. Isaiah 49 begins to focus our attention on the Messiah. However, Isaiah continues to go back to the deliverance of the Jews from Babylonian captivity. With this chapter, the attention begins to turn to the true Redeemer of Israel. Insight is also gained concerning the true Israel of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of both the Jews and Gentiles. Beginning with Isaiah 49 Cyrus and the return from Babylon is no longer the main focus of Isaiah s prophecies. The beautiful theme of eternal salvation now becomes the focal point. At this time Isaiah writes a powerful introduction of the Messiah Himself. Even though the Messiah would be rejected by the Jewish nation, He would be the Redeemer of both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus, the Messiah, would be the instrument through whom God would be glorified. The mission of the Messiah would be to bring salvation to all the nations of the earth. He would be despised and rejected of men; yet the hearts of many would be turned from darkness to light through His precious blood. God promised that Israel would be restored to her homeland. He would rebuild and preserve the nation, looking forward to the coming of the Messiah through those Jewish people. God promised to bring salvation to all

6 6 mankind. Those who were prisoners to sin and walking in darkness would be set free through the blood of Jesus. We should sing songs of praise to God because He has delivered those who were imprisoned in wickedness. God did not forget the Jews who were in Babylonian captivity. Neither did He forget those who were held captive by sin. He asked, Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. (Isaiah 49:15) The promise that God would never forsake the Jews and those who are lost in sin brings great assurance to our heart. Gentiles should especially rejoice because salvation, without a single blessing being withheld, is freely extended to them. God promised that His people would be delivered from their enemies. The Jews were delivered from Babylon by Cyrus and we are delivered from the choke hold of sin by the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Commentary: Isaiah 49:1-6, Listen to me, you coastlands! Pay attention, you people who live far away! The Lord summoned me from birth; he commissioned me when my mother brought me into the world. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, he hid me in the hollow of his hand; he made me like a sharpened arrow, he hid me in his quiver. He said to me, You are my servant, Israel, through whom I will reveal my splendor. But I thought, I have worked in vain; I have expended my energy for absolutely nothing. But the Lord will vindicate me; my God will reward me. So now the Lord says, the one who formed me from birth to be his servant he did this to restore Jacob to himself, so that Israel might be gathered

7 7 to him; and I will be honored in the Lord s sight, for my God is my source of strength he says, Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant, to reestablish the tribes of Jacob, and restore the remnant of Israel? I will make you a light to the nations, so you can bring my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth. (NET) The work of the LORD s Servant Isaiah 49:1-6: It is difficult at times, in Isaiah 49, to determine who is speaking. Is it Cyrus? Is it Jesus? Is it both? There is no question about the fact that Jesus was named before His birth. Matthew recorded God s words concerning Jesus, And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21) Everyone is called upon to listen to this message. Those Gentiles who were far off are included. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13) God promised Cyrus support in delivering the Jews from Babylon. He promised support to Jesus in delivering the truth to the world. God could give the name Israel because Cyrus acted on behalf of physical Israel and Jesus acted on behalf of spiritual Israel. God was honored in delivering the Jews from Babylon and He is highly honored as souls are delivered from the bondage of sin. Punishment in Babylon would cause the Jews to lament over their sinful actions. Israel was scattered in captivity, but God promised to bring them back to Jerusalem. Cyrus was the Lord s servant in bringing the Jews back to their homeland. Jesus was far more. He is a light for all nations to bring them out of sin.

8 8 Isaiah 49:7-12, This is what the Lord, the protector of Israel, their Holy One, says to the one who is despised and rejected by nations, a servant of rulers: Kings will see and rise in respect, princes will bow down, because of the faithful Lord, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you. This is what the Lord says: At the time I decide to show my favor, I will respond to you; in the day of deliverance I will help you; I will protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people, to rebuild the land and to reassign the desolate property. You will say to the prisoners, Come out, and to those who are in dark dungeons, Emerge. They will graze beside the roads; on all the slopes they will find pasture. They will not be hungry or thirsty; the sun s oppressive heat will not beat down on them, for one who has compassion on them will guide them; he will lead them to springs of water. I will make all my mountains into a road; I will construct my roadways. Look, they come from far away! Look, some come from the north and west, and others from the land of Sinim! (NET) The Lord will redeem His people -- Isaiah 49:7-12: Jesus is that Holy One of Israel. He was rejected by His own nation. The Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. (Isaiah 49:7) Salvation is available because God cares! Isaiah 49:8 says, Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee,

9 9 and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages. Paul quoted this verse in 2 Corinthians 6:2. For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. God told those who were prisoners in Babylon to go forth. Later, through the blood of Jesus, He told those who were imprisoned in sin to go forth. Through Christ, sinners obtain spiritual freedom. The Lord provided for the Jews as He brought them out of Babylon and He provides many wonderful things for spiritual Israel. The Lord made His path straight through the preparation done by John the Baptist. Salvation through Christ is a blessing that is offered to the people of the entire world. Isaiah 49:13-17, Shout for joy, O sky! Rejoice, O earth! Let the mountains give a joyful shout! For the Lord consoles his people and shows compassion to the oppressed. Zion said, The Lord has abandoned me, the sovereign master has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? Even if mothers were to forget, I could never forget you! Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms; your walls are constantly before me. Your children hurry back, while those who destroyed and devastated you depart. (NET) Our God is a merciful God Isaiah 49:13-17: The Jews were delivered from captivity in Babylon. Their deliverance was a time of great rejoicing. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy

10 10 upon his afflicted. (Isaiah 49:13) People in every nation and under any government would have reason to rejoice over this restoration. While in captivity the Jews, who were called Zion, felt that God had forsaken them and had forgotten them. God asked, Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. (Isaiah 49:15) God did not forget His people in Egypt; nor did He forget them during the wilderness wanderings. He promised that He would not forget them in Babylon. God s people are held close to His heart. He promised that they are graven upon the palms of His hands. The idea was that God would not and could not forget His people. His wall of protection would be continually surrounding them. When the time was right for deliverance, the Jews would go forth quickly out of Babylon. Isaiah 49:18-26, Look all around you! All of them gather to you. As surely as I live, says the Lord, you will certainly wear all of them like jewelry; you will put them on as if you were a bride. Yes, your land lies in ruins; it is desolate and devastated. But now you will be too small to hold your residents, and those who devoured you will be far away. Yet the children born during your time of bereavement will say within your hearing, This place is too cramped for us, make room for us so we can live here. Then you will think to yourself, Who bore these children for me? I was bereaved and barren, dismissed and divorced. Who raised these children? Look, I was left all alone; where did these children come from? This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look I will raise my hand to the nations; I will raise my signal flag to the peoples. They will bring your sons in their arms and carry your

11 11 daughters on their shoulders. Kings will be your children s guardians; their princesses will nurse your children. With their faces to the ground they will bow down to you and they will lick the dirt on your feet. Then you will recognize that I am the Lord; those who wait patiently for me are not put to shame. Can spoils be taken from a warrior, or captives be rescued from a conqueror? Indeed, says the Lord, captives will be taken from a warrior; spoils will be rescued from a conqueror. I will oppose your adversary and I will rescue your children. I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will get drunk on their own blood, as if it were wine. Then all humankind will recognize that I am the Lord, your deliverer, your protector, the powerful Ruler of Jacob. (NET) The Lord would provide a bright future for the Jews to allow the Messiah to come to earth through them Isaiah 49:18-26: God promised the Jews that they would return to Jerusalem and that other nations would take an interest in helping them. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:4) God promised the Jews that when they returned to Palestine that their nation would grow so much that others would be driven out and that they, the Jews, would spread out. The children that the nation had before captivity were greatly reduced in number. Now, after the Jews returned from captivity, their numbers would grow rapidly. When the children of Israel returned to Jerusalem they would be amazed at the growth of that nation. Those in spiritual Israel would be overwhelmed with the thought of forgiveness or peace

12 12 through Jesus Christ. We still stand in awe that such could be possible. Even though Gentiles had been excluded from Judaism, Christianity is for all! Under Christ, Gentiles are included! The gospel leads all classes of men into Christ. The high and the low, the rich and the poor will all worship God together. Isaiah takes another look at the deliverance of the Jews from Babylonian captivity. The Jews justly deserved their time in captivity, but God promised a wonderful deliverance at the end of the seventy (70) years. The Lord assured His people that Babylon would be taken away. The reason that Babylon would lose is because God would destroy her. He would use Cyrus to bring His will against that people. Babylon would reap what they had sown in other nations. She would be drunk with her own blood. All the people of the world would understand that the God of the Jews is the mighty Redeemer of His people. Conclusion: Then everyone will know that the LORD is our Savior; the powerful God of Israel has rescued His people. One result of respecting the Lord is that a person does his best to avoid sin. If we will be faithful to God, there is nothing that can stand in the way of our eternal victory! By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut St., Greenville, Alabama 36037

13 13 Questions on Isaiah 49: Many prophecies have two applications. What two applications can be assigned to the prophecies in Isaiah 49? 2. God did not the who were in. Neither did he those who were held by. 3. The were from by and we are from the of by the,. 4. It is at times, in Isaiah 49, to who is. Is it? Is it? Is it? 5. support in delivering the from.

14 14 He to in delivering the to the. 6. was in the from and He is as are from the of. 7. was the s in the back to their. was far more. He is a for all to bring them out of. 8. How does Isaiah 49:7 describe Jesus? 9. Isaiah 49:8 is quoted by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:2. Exactly what do these verses mean? Exactly what do they say? 10. Describe the joy experienced by the Israelites upon their release from Babylonian captivity.

15 Describe the joy experienced by new Christians upon the pardon and forgiveness of their sins. 12. Describe, as best you can, the joy you will experience when the gates of heaven swing open and you hear the Lord Jesus say to you, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 13. God never forgets his people. Tell of times when you may have felt that god had forgotten you. Give examples of Bible characters who felt forsaken by the Lord.

16 The would provide a for the to allow the to come to through them. 15. Both upon Israel s departure from Egypt and Babylon, they received valuable gifts from their previous oppressors. What did Egyptians give Israel? What did Babylonians give Israel? 16. There in are overwhelmed with the thought of and through. is for. and, the and, the and will all together. 17. the of the would understand that the of the is the of His. 18. Then will know that the is our ; the of has His.

17 One result of the is that a person does his best to. 20. List the five main principles by which you now live. List the principles by which you live, not those you would like to be living.

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