- What is your greatest longing in life?
- Isaiah 42:1-9 is our focus this week and it addresses the deepest longings in the hearts of God’s people while in exile. Read it aloud to start your study.
- At this point, it was the temptation of the people in exile to fall into worship of idols. In Isaiah 41, God makes a case against the idols, pointing out their worthlessness. Read through Isaiah 41:21-29. There is a cascading contrast through the Hebrew word for ‘see’ that recurs (though not in all English translations) in 41:24 (‘see, you are less than nothing…’), 41:29 (‘see, they are all false!), and 42:1 (‘see, my servant, whom I uphold…’). What is Isaiah trying to say about the idols in contrast to God and His servant?
- The first half of this passage (Isaiah 42:1-4) focuses on the Servant of God. Notice what the servant is like, what he will not do, and what he will do. What is striking about the Servant of God in light of the previous question?
- The second half of this passage (42:5-9) shows forth God’s affirmation of His servant, with strong statements about God’s power and character. Read through these verses and identify God’s actions in these verses.
- While Isaiah’s words address the people of God in exile in Babylon, it is important to notice the scope of God’s plans. Reread verses 4-6 and comment on who will benefit from God’s plans.
- What would you say is God’s overriding concern in this passage?
- There is a tension in Isaiah’s references to the Servant of God between the servant representing God’s people of Israel and an individual Messiah. Isaiah 42:1-9 seems to be depicting one figure. As Christians, we see Jesus as the fulfillment of these words. Read Matthew 3:13-17 and 12:12-18 in light of Isaiah 42:1-9. How does Jesus fulfill the character and calling of the Servant of God?
- Identify one practical way you will respond to this week’s study and sermon. Write it down, reflect on it, and put it into practice this week. If you are in a small group, discuss this with one another.