Study Notes

Isaiah 49:14-26


When we left off two Sunday nights ago in our study of the book of Isaiah, we had just finished our second in a series of several messages entitled "Jesus In Isaiah." You see, although Jesus has been discussed several times prior to chapter 49, it is at chapter 49 that He becomes prominent as the primary Person being discussed. This will go on for several chapters.

The last thing we read was that the Father was going to give Jesus for a covenant, and that He was going to bring His people together from afar. Thus, He said,

Is. 49:13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted.

This brings us to verse 14 of chapter 49...

49:14-15 Forsaken And Forgotten?

In spite of the promises of God for their future, the Jews felt forsaken and forgotten by the Lord. This was very much like a child who has done wrong and gotten a spanking. The child says, "My mommy doesn't love me because she punished me and sent me to my room."

They had spent so many years and generations in disobedience, idolatry, and immorality, it was a ludicrous charge to make. But God reassures them, "I can no more forget you than a woman can forget her nursing child. Even if she does, I'll never forget you."

49:16a Inscribed On His Palms

The Lord says that He has inscribed them on the palms of His hands. The word "inscribed" here in Hebrew is "khaw-KAK" and it means to cut out or engrave. This is an awfully strange word to use in relation to your hand. But it is exactly what the Lord did. You see, Jesus said that on the cross,

Psa. 22:16 ...They pierced my hands and my feet.

And these wounds became the visual reminders of Who He is and what He has done. Remember that when He appeared to the disciples after the resurrection,

Luke 24:37-40 ...they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

The apostle Thomas wasn't there at the time, and missed it.

John 20:25-28 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

God had allowed His hands to be cut into, engraved, with the punishment of sin that we committed. This act on the cross was Jesus actually becoming our sin for us (2Cor. 5:21). But He didn't just allow it. He was the one Who did it.

Col. 2:13-14 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

God Himself nailed our sin to the cross. That's why He is able to say,

Is. 49:16a “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands"

49:16b God's Reassurance

God continues to reassure the Jews, telling them that even the walls of Jerusalem are always at the forefront of His mind. God doesn't miss any little detail, and no subject is too boring for Him to be aware of. Remember that Jesus said,

Luke 12:6-7 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows."

He pays attention to sparrows, and counts the numbers of hairs on your head. This is a God who doesn't miss a thing - He's always paying attention.

49:17-21 Turnaround Is Coming

God promises them that although Jerusalem's walls will fall because of judgment, they will be rebuilt quickly. Those who attack will be depart, and the land that was destroyed will be populated again.

The Jews will be amazed one day, saying, "Look at all of this blessing, so soon after we thought the end was upon us!"

49:22-23 God's Standard

A standard is a wooden pole with a crosspiece that holds the symbol of a tribe, an army, or royalty. God said He would lift up His hand to the nations and set up His standard. What is God's standard?

To discover that, I think we need to go back to the book of Numbers, when the Jews were complaining about the manna that God had provided.

Num. 21:6-9 The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

Later, Jesus would tell Nicodemus that,

John 3:14-16 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Jesus was saying, "I'm going to be like the bronze serpent - lifted up for the very same reason."

You see, in the Scripture, bronze is the metal which symbolizes judgment. The altar of sacrifice, where sins were judged, was made of bronze. When Jesus Christ returns to the earth to judge the world, He is described as having feet of burnished bronze. The Lord also says in Micah,

Mic. 4:13 “Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion, for your horn I will make iron and your hoofs I will make bronze, that you may pulverize many peoples, that you may devote to the LORD their unjust gain and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.

So judgment is symbolized by bronze.

The serpent is a symbol of sin. It was the way sin entered the world in Genesis, it is the way sin the Israelites' sin was punished in the wilderness.

Moses had placed a representation of sin being judged upon a wooden standard - a cross. Its purpose was that those who were bitten could look in faith and be healed.

Jesus said His crucifixion - His being lifted up, and His hands extended outward - would be the same thing. Because all the world has been bitten by sin. Every person is dying, because

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death...

But God has judged sin on a cross. In fact,

2Cor. 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf...

All the Israelites had to do was turn their heads to look at this thing, and they would be healed!

So, as the Lord here says,

Is. 49:22 "Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples..."

... I believe He is giving us a prophecy of the cross.

49:24-26 Captives Of The Mighty Man Taken Away

The Lord will be victorious over all our enemies - including the devil. Satan is called "the strong man" by Jesus in the gospels.

Mark 3:26-27 “If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house."

Jesus was biding the strong man and taking away his captives. No wonder the Lord asked,

Is. 49:24-25 “Can the prey be taken from the mighty man, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?” Surely, thus says the LORD, “Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, and the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you...

Ultimately, all enemies of God will be destroyed in the war of Armageddon. And on that day, everyone left on the earth...

Is. 49:26 “...will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

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