There are so many things one could comment on in this chapter, but familiar themes emerge. The promise of a coming servant who will bring justice and righteousness. He will be a “light to the Gentiles,” and then these words Jesus references when he answers John the Baptist’s disciples question if Jesus was the one:
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
And from the context of this chapter, it seems clear to me that Jesus is claiming that he is the Lord, Yahweh himself. Only Almighty God can do the things we read about in the first 9 verses of this chapter. He will:
- Bring justice to the nations
- Establish justice on earth
- In his law the islands will put their hope
- The Lord will make him a covenant for the people
- He will be a light for the gentiles
And in one of the beautiful verses in all of Scripture that speaks to his merciful, kind and benevolent heart:
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
This is so often us. When life in a fallen world, in a fallen body does its thing to us we can feel on the verge of just giving up. When it all seems so senseless and useless and joyless, he will not give up on us. I think there is a reason why this verse is between the two references to him bringing and establishing justice. Everything can seem so wrong at times, but our hope is that he will eventually set it all right.
Verses 10-17 are titled “Song of Praise to the Lord.” Again, the Lord is doing, and his people respond. Ultimately, here is what he will do:
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
We get a taste of this now, a glimpse of the light, but it is never easy. As Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” But he doesn’t leave it there, or we would be without hope. He has overcome the world!
The only other option to Jesus is this:
17 But those who trust in idols,
who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’
will be turned back in utter shame.
In a phrase that seems to have become popular in our day, it is a binary choice: God or idols. The point is that we need something. We can’t live without trying to find meaning or hope or significance or fulfillment, and we will either try to find that in the living God or idols. The vacuum in our souls must be filled by something, and only peace with God through Christ will do it.
The final verses reiterate Israel’s sin; they remain deaf and blind. The Lord has given him his great law, but they refused to obey. Thus his anger in the form of war will come, and they will be exiled from the promised land, from God’s presence. It doesn’t say that specifically here, but that is always the result of rebellion against God. Even has he promises not to forsake them, he promises judgment. In Christ we see and experience both.