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Isaiah 41:8-13

Isaiah 41:8-13


Sermon: Servant and His Mission
Bible Passage: Isaiah 41:8-13

I. The Hebrew word ebed was used to refer to: a slave, servant, official, or vassal

II. This term ebed is also used as a title of honor when it is used with the LORD like “My servant” or “servant of the LORD”

1. It referred to a privileged status—always with a missional function
2. Abraham (Gen 26:24; Psalm 105:6)—bearer of God’s promise
3. Jacob (Deut 9:27; Isa 44:1, 2)—bearers of God’s promise and father of the twelve tribes
4. Moses (Exod 4:10; 14:31)—the law giver and mediator of God’s commandments (Moses has many roles as “YHWH’s servant”)
5. Caleb—a model of optimism (Num 14:24)
6. Joshua (Josh 24:29; Judg 2:8)—successor of Moses and settler of the twelve tribes
7. David (Ezek 34:23, 24, 37:24)—perpetual model for godly leadership
8. Elijah—1 Kings 18:36 A true prophet

III. The LORD calls Israel “worm” (verse 14)

1. It’s a metaphor that signifies “small,” “insignificant,” and “powerless”
2. “Jacob” is a metonym for “the people of Israel”—powerless, insignificant people
3. Normally, powerless, insignificant people do not qualify to carry out major missions
4. But God surprises the general practice of the human wisdom

IV. The LORD announces Israel to be “His servant” (direct address “Israel, my servant”)—a title of honor to “worm Jacob”

1. God’s chosen instrument/vehicle to perform services for God
2. Their present status “worm” does not prevent God from choosing them
3. The appointment of “worm Jacob” as “the LORD’s servant” points to unconditional sovereign election (verse 9)

V. Installation of “worm Jacob” as God’s instrument looks very similar to other installations

1. Joshua (Josh 1:8 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go)
2. Jeremiah (Jer 1:8 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord)
3. To the insignificant powerless “worm Jacob,” it’s shocking and is unprepared to take up the new position—it was too good to be real
4. Verse 10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you— yes, I help you—yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand
5. The basis for the success of the call is

a. “I am with you”
b. “I am your God”
c.“I uphold you with my saving right hand”

VI. Verse 11 starts with “behold”—an important announcement (verses 11-13)

1. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.
2. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all
3. The reason for such victory is: For (because) I am the Lord your God, the one who takes hold of your right hand, who says to you, “Don’t be afraid, I am helping you” (verse 13)

VII. Present verses future

1. Israel is now a worm, i.e., insignificant and despised
2. The game changer is “I am helping you,” says the Lord, your protector, the Holy One of Israel
3. Israel, the worm, is transformed to carry out powerful missions (14-16)

a. “Look, I am making you like a sharp threshing sledge, new and double-edged. You will thresh the mountains and crush them; you will make the hills like straw
b. You will winnow them, and the wind will blow them away; the wind will scatter them. You will rejoice in the Lord; you will boast in the Holy One of Israel

VIII. Lessons:

1. Who you are is less important compared to whose you are—God’s servant, chosen one, and offspring of Abraham, the LORD’s friend

a. Avoid settling for an identity based on your successes, failures, race, and class
b. Listen to what God says about you—identity

2. Sovereign election is irresistible and unconditional—election always comes with a mission
3. God’s sovereign election comes with the power to succeed and accomplish His mission

IX. Apostle Peters says in 1 Peter 2:9-10

1. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own (identity)
2. That you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (the mission)

Take Away:

Operate on your God-given identity and do not let your failures determine your identity

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at