The Ideal Israelite
Isaiah 42:1-17
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit on him…

Long before Christ appeared in the flesh, He had already appeared in the Spirit. The chapter carries us back to a time when the conception of a Saviour definitely began. Up to then there had been vague presentiments; after then there was a character prepared for the Jesus who was to come. So it is with all heroes, they are needed before they are born; they could not work their work unless they were needed and discerned; they have prophets to beget them as well as parents.

I. AN ACTUAL NAME APPLIED. The title of "God's servant" is one that runs through all Oriental language. The Israelite people at large had failed, — the Jewish people, as reformed by Josiah, had failed, — it remained for God to justify His purpose by manifesting a "new model," who should represent Him rightly to the Gentiles.


1. This genuine man of God must be a man of gentleness, and yet He should inherit the earth.

2. A method equally new would prevail in religion; there the true Missionary would proceed with tolerance; He would not thrust His revelation upon aliens, He would open their eyes to behold their own revelation; they also had lamps, dimly-burning, but still alight. God's servant must not extinguish them, He must revive them.

3. But to be gentle in forwarding the right, tolerant in inculcating the true, tender in making allowance for the weak — all this belongs to consummate sympathy, and sympathy demands compensating qualities, for it has besetting defects. Converse with sensitive consciences is often enfeebling. Virtue goes out of us in the endeavour to impart strength, and the infection of fear overtakes the very physician. But our prophet has a strong intellect in view, a Helper who shall not be bruised by anything He has to bear.

4. There is about the perfect character the distinction of patience. He burns brightly in mind. He bears up bravely in heart, "until He have set judgment in the earth." This true service has been fulfilled by the Carpenter of Nazareth — His qualities are on record; His spirit lasts.

(B. H. Alford.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

WEB: "Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights— I have put my Spirit on him. He will bring justice to the nations.

The Dignity of Service
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