The Lord’s Blind Servant Is. 42:17-25 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO * The last few minutes were cut off.
The problem in this passage is that of idolatry. The Jews are so dependent on seeing something in order to believe that they blind themselves to the things that can only be believed by faith. The Jews require a sign [1 Cor 1:22; Ex 4:8-9] in order to believe. They must see something before they will believe it [Jn 4:48; Jn 20:25].
Therefore, they are very prone to worship images that they can see. In Is 42:17, they say to molten images, “Ye are our gods.” See Ex 32:3-4; Jud 2:11-13; Jud 18:30-31; 1 Ki 11:1-8; 1 Ki 12:26-30; 1 Ki 14:9; 2 Ki 10:26-28; 2 Ki 17:7-12; 2 Ki 21:7; 2 Ki 23:24.
Consequently, they are blind and deaf [Is 42:18] to faith because faith works in the absence of sight [2 Cor 5:7; Heb 11:1]. Their idolatry made them deaf and blind [Ps 115:4-8; Matt 13:13-14].
In Is 42:19, the Lord’s blind servant is Israel [Is 41:8-9; 44:1; Matt 23:16, 17, 19, 24, 26]. The Lord’s deaf messenger that he sent is also Israel [they are his “witnesses” in Is 43:12; Is 44:8-9]. Israel is perfect, not in the sense that they are sinless, but rather that they are the ones perfectly suited to the plan of God [they are his chosen, his elect].
The Lord’s blind servant sees but doesn’t observe, he opens his ears but he doesn’t hear [Is 6:9; 42:20].
Is 42:21 is fulfilled in Jesus Christ [Matt 3:15-17; Matt 5:17-18; Rom 10:3-4]. He magnifies the law and when he judges, he judges righteous judgment based upon the law and not based upon what he sees or hears [Jn 7:24; Is 11:3-4]. This is what we call “blind justice” in contrast to Israel’s blindness. Interestingly, Jesus is the express image of God [Heb 1:3] and the Jews were so blinded by their idolatry that they missed the one true image and rejected his words because they couldn’t hear them [Jn 8:43].
Therefore, in Is 42:22 Israel is robbed and spoiled [2 Ki 24:13, 25:13-17; Rev 11:1-2], snared in holes [Jer 16:16], imprisoned [2 Ki 25:27] taken as a prey [Ezek 36:4]. And in Is 42:23-24 Israel learns that it was the Lord who gave them for a spoil because they would not walk in his ways or be obedient to his law [Deut 28:25-29; Jer 25:8-10].
Shockingly, in Is 42:25, we see that Israel doesn’t “get it.” The Lord pours on them his fury and his fire and they don’t know that God is doing it because of their wickedness and they don’t lay it to heart [Deut 29:24-28]. They cannot make the connection that the Lord is the one punishing them for their idolatry.