When our kids were young, we took several trips to the mountains of North Carolina. Every family trip deserved at least one excursion to the local gem mine. You know those kinds of mines that I am describing? You drive up and pay for some dirt to begin a really fun, quite dirty, but always exciting excavation of soil to find some local gems. You may find little crystals, some gold particles, perhaps fake-gold and some other little nuggets. But, undoubtedly among all the soil that is sifted through there is always one really good rock, a nugget of some kind that is real gem. Sometimes you find a small ruby, a small sapphire or another local rock or gem that is beautiful, unique and even more rare.
For four weeks in a row, on Sunday mornings, we are exploring the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. In particular, we are looking at the four Servant Songs in Isaiah; which include Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 49:1-6; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Last Sunday Tim kicked us off by walking us through Is. 42:1-4, the first Servant Song.
If you have ever read and prayed through the book of Isaiah, it can be like sifting through a big bucket of beautiful dirt. It has 66 chapters and is full of illustrations. This prophetic writing contains a ton of rebukes, moments of hope, directions, and teachings. The central theme of Isaiah is God Himself.
But, in the midst of this vast array of 66 chapters; we are given the amazing gift of these Servant Songs. Hidden within this mass of information, names, dates, etc., are these amazing nuggets of hope, of grace, of God’s promised rescue for humanity. Like when gem mining on summer vacation, one has to sift through all the beautiful soil to then be gifted with a once in a lifetime find.
The Servant Songs of Isaiah 42:1-4, 49:1-6, 50:4-7, and 52:13-53:12 are like beautiful gems in the midst of rich soil. God is speaking in these Servant Songs about a hope, a rescue, a salvation that He will accomplish. In Michael William’s book, “How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lense”, he says, “As a visual component of his prophecy, Isaiah pointed towards a boy whose name reminded everyone that there were consequences for how they lived in the midst of a holy God. The boy’s name was Immanuel, which is Hebrew for ‘God with us’ (Is. 7:14). God had always been present with his people, guiding them, instructing them and caring for them. But, he would get even closer to his people. He would become one of them [pp. 93].”
The Servant Songs are these great passages of scripture that teach us and show what God is like when He comes to earth in His Son Jesus Christ. They give us a hope, a rescue portrait, a reminder of who God is and what He has come to do in sending Jesus to come among us.
For the next three weeks we invite you to dig into the soil of Isaiah. Specifically, we are inviting you to pray over, chew on, excavate, explore, and dig through the Servant Songs of Isaiah. We are encouraging you to read daily and weekly through the Servant Songs as you prepare for Sunday worship. Pray and ask God to show more of who He is as you read in Isaiah. What may look like a big bucket of Old Testament dirt can actually become a rich field of God’s redemptive promises where you can be gifted with gems of hope, rescue, righteousness and God Himself in the promise of Jesus Christ