- The Servant Songs
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“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” – Isaiah 42:1-4 (NIV)
This is the first of four passages, in Isaiah, often referred to as “The Servant Songs.” In this “song,” we find “The Kingly Servant,” chosen, commissioned, and empowered by God to bring and establish justice.
As you study this, as well as the other three “songs,” it becomes evident that the Servant of which God speaks is Jesus Christ. That being the case, it is important for us to know exactly what kind of justice God intends for him to bring and establish.
Justice is a topic we hear a great deal about, today. Generally, whether we speak of justice, or demand it, we do so with the idea of someone getting what’s coming to them or getting what they deserve. How does our definition of justice compare with God’s?
The Hebrew word for “justice” is mishpat. While it does include the idea of punishing or pronouncing sentence, it also carries the idea of judging on behalf of someone. It is the second meaning that is most often the focus.
“He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.” – Deuteronomy 10:18 (NASB)
On behalf of the poor, the downtrodden, the widow, the orphan, the helpless, the sick, and the outcast, God executes justice (defends their cause). As those who are created in God’s image, what God does in this area, we are to imitate. However, we often don’t do a very good job of it, because we have such opposing views of what it should look like.
We live in a terribly polarized society. It’s a society in which those on the far right have one idea of what constitutes justice and those on the far left have another idea of what constitutes justice. So, we have this idea that if we could just meet somewhere in the middle, all would be right with the world; but it would not.
Godly justice is not realized in our society because we find common ground between two opposing humanly conceived philosophies. It is not realized when we try to establish our authority with our words. It is not realized when we shout, cry out, or raise our voices in the street. It is not realized by either advocating or perpetrating violent acts.
God’s justice will only be realized as we allow God to transform our hearts so that we can grow to become more like Jesus every day. The more we become like Jesus, the more we will seek to extend God’s justice, not our version of it, to those in need.