Posted by: Veroni Kruger | February 17, 2021

“It is too small a thing …”

Isaiah 40 begins a series of songs, called the Servant Songs, because they speak of the Servant of the Lord.  The three main servants of God in these chapters are Cyrus (pagan king whom God used to liberate Israel), Isaiah 45.1-4; Israel, Isaiah 49.1-3 and ultimately Jesus Christ, of whom all others are mere shadows, Isaiah 53.3-6.

The Church as the new Israel, and Body of Christ, is the Servant of the Lord in the eschatological sense, that is as playing its role in the unfolding of the history of the world towards the end.

What Isaiah says about the servant

The Servant is called by God – Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb He has spoken my name. (Isaiah 49.1)

The Servant is given a special message – He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. (Isaiah 49.2)  

The Servant will experience times of despair, but is assured of ultimate victory –  I said, I have laboured in vain;  I have spent my strength for nothing at all.  Yet what is due me is in the Lord ’s hand, and my reward is with my God.  (Isaiah 49.4)

The wider calling

In the midst of all these wonderful things about Israel, the Church, and Jesus, God’s perspective is clear, that is to reach all the peoples of the world:  It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.  I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49.6)  

This was God’s plan from the beginning, already clear when God called Abram in Genesis 12.1-3, especially verse 3:  All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Jesus demonstrated God’s vision, ministering to people outside of the people of Israel.  He ministered to the Samaritan woman (John 4), and the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15).  He promised the fulfilment of God’s worldwide vision in Matthew 8.11:  …many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

God’s vision went far beyond what was traditionally regarded as the people of God.  

The commission of Jesus to the Church clearly illustrates this again: … you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1.8)  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…  (Matthew 28.19.

So to the end, when heaven will resound with the song in praise of Jesus the Lamb of God:  … you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation… (Revelation 5.9)

Israel’s greatest error was that they perceived themselves to be the ultimate objective of God’s plan of salvation. 

“It is too small a thing… (Isaiah 49.6) is what we constantly have to hear and apply, as we struggle with the same, purely human self-centredness as Israel had.  

God’s purposes for his servants are Isaiah 49.6b I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

It is never “enough”, because Jesus came for the next person, the next group, also, until all will have heard.

What are the facts?

  1. You/we are the servant of the Lord, through whom He wants to achieve his objectives.
  2. God’s vision is the entire world – God so loved the world… (John 3.16)
  3. The “world” begins at the unsaved person nearest to where you are – remember the Good Samaritan?
  4. The “world” extends to the unsaved person farthest away from you, and our commission is complete only when that person has also been reached.  (The church in Acts had to be forced to continue fulfilling its commission – Acts 8.1-4 describes the scattering of the church because of persecution.  Through this God was beginning to achieve his purpose of the bigger vision.  Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. (Acts 8.4)

Not all of us are called to go to the utmost ends of the earth.  However, we can still play a vital role in fulfilling God’s vision. 

Let’s get practical

  1. Your life is your most powerful witness
  2. Your word can save people – Romans 10.14:  How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
  3. In the “post-Christian society” in which we live, it is your task to speak to Jesus to people who otherwise might never hear about Him.
  4. Your prayers are the irreplaceable means to victory for the Church world-wide.
  5. Your money is God’s financial resources in the world.

THE KEY IS OUR COMMITMENT TO THE CALL OF ISAIAH 49.6

It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.  I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.


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Alexander F. Venter

Live a life of love just as Jesus loved us...

Attempting Authenticity

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Martha Elizabeth Kruger

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