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Isaiah 42:5-9 – The Mission of God’s People


God calls Israel as a light to the nations to open eyes and release captives. Everything is now opened up.


The Lord calls "you" to do the liberating work of God in the world. Who is meant by "you"? The text does not specifically say. Certainly this could be the servant introduced in the previous verses (42:1-4). It could be Cyrus, who will be called later to break open the bars of Babylon's prisons (compare 42:7 and 45:2). It could be the prophet, who seems to receive a similar commission in 61:1-3. Perhaps the ambiguity is deliberate: God uses all these agents--Israel, servant, prophet, Cyrus--to accomplish the work of liberation that God intends.

Isaiah 42:5-9

5 Thus says God, the Lord,
   who created the heavens and stretched them out,
   who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
   and spirit to those who walk in it:
6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
   I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,*
   a light to the nations,
7   to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
   from the prison those who sit in darkness.
8 I am the Lord, that is my name;
   my glory I give to no other,
   nor my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have come to pass,
   and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
   I tell you of them.

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