Isaiah 41: Privileged Servants
I find it very interesting that in Isaiah 41, God refers to the fact that He has chosen Israel to be His servants. However, the way that is communicated makes it sound like a privilege, and to our 21st century American minds, that is perplexing to say the least. When would it be a privilege to be a servant?
Isa 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
Isa 41:9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
Isa 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
I think that there are two very important things we can draw from this.
First, it establishes the relationship of Israel to God. No matter how great God made them on earth, He was still greater. Notice that God is doing the strengthening. He is the one holding the reins in this situation. We can see this communicated to the church in the New Testament as well, and I think this is something that we can all relate to. God is in control, and we are simply the people that He uses.
Second, the point of being a servant is to be with your master. You are hired to do a job, and that job involves accompanying your master. This is where that part about privilege comes in. How great of a privilege is it to be able to accompany and work with the greatest being in the universe and beyond it for that matter? God could have chosen anyone, but He chose Israel, and that is certainly significant. That being said, Israel did rebel from time to time, and they certainly made it seem like they did not want to be chosen. However, we hear in the New Testament that we are slaves to righteousness or to sin, so it is really more about what master you follow. In this case, there is one side I would hope people would choose.
It seems that in the servant of God is actually a privilege. It seems to make more sense when you consider how powerful God is and when you consider that we are all serving one of two masters anyway. Wouldn’t it be better to be on the right side?