Isaiah 42

Talks for Growing Christians

Contrasting the Coming Messiah and the Nation of Israel

Isaiah 42

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Lesson Number 33

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Jesus, the perfect Servant, fulfilled His mission.
  2. Israel, the imperfect servant, failed its mission.

Practical Application

  1. Let the Lord fan your flame.


  1. How does Isaiah 41 contrast with Isaiah 42?
  2. How is the term “My Servant” used in the book of Isaiah?
  3. Explain verses 1-4, which Matthew quotes in reference to Christ in Matthew 12:15-21.
  4. How do we know that the ministry of God’s Servant would be broader than only to the nation of Israel?
  5. Why was the nation of Israel called an imperfect servant?


  1. At the end of Isaiah 41 the Lord challenged the nations concerning their idolatry and the failure of their foolish worship of idols. Here in chapter 42, the nations are challenged to consider the Messiah of Israel, who will bring justice to the world – something the idols could never do.
  2. 1) “My Servant” sometimes refers to the whole nation of Israel (Isaiah 41:8-9) 2) “My Servant” can refer to just the godly remnant of the nation (Isaiah 43:10) 3) A third servant of the Lord is Cyrus the Persian who is called “My shepherd” (Isaiah 44) and “My anointed” (Isaiah 45) 4) “My Servant” is primarily used by Isaiah in reference to the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ
  3. These verses emphasize that the Perfect Servant would be gentle and gracious. He would not come with a lot of fanfare or display. He would completely fulfill His mission.
  4. Because in verse 6 His mission is said to include both Israel and the Gentile nations.
  5. Israel was supposed to be God’s messenger to the world as His servant, but she had failed because she was blind and deaf to the message – namely the great and glorious law of God.


  1. “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9 All that the true prophets had predicted in the past had come to pass, and all that Isaiah was predicting now about the Messiah would also come true. Discuss how many predictions you hear in everyday life, ranging from the weather, to sports, to politics. Discuss the remarkable nature of the prophets of God who had to be 100% accurate in all their predictions.
  2. The nation of Israel was called an imperfect servant because it had failed its mission. As a believer, what missions has the Lord given you? Are you fulfilling or failing that mission?


  1. Do you feel like you’re a dying ember, spiritually burning out? Let the Lord fan your flame! He can coax your spark back to a small flame and then fan the small flame back to a useful fire.

Key Verses

  • “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect one in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:1
  • “I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images.” Isaiah 42:8

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