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December 1: A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break (Isaiah 42)

Prayer and Bible Reading Guide - Dec 1-7 2013


Isaiah 42:1-25 (We will study the whole chapter, although only verses 1-9 are cited below)

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.
Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.” (ESV)



In Isaiah 42 we meet the first of four servant songs. In these songs about God's chosen servant, we learn of God's plan to bring comfort to the nations. In this chapter, we see the unique nature of this servant as chosen, upheld and endowed with the Spirit of God. His task given to him by God is to bring justice to the nations. The idea of justice is to set things in order as God deems right. He will do this through his life and death and resurrection. Consider the manner in which the servant Jesus accomplishes his divine mission. We read “a bruised reed he will not break.” Jesus moves even in his redemption of the world with gentleness and tenderness and yet succeeds. Consider the grace of our Lord as you meditate on his work of salvation.


Review and Apply

  1. What does it mean to “bring forth justice for the nations”?
  2. Who does he refer to using the “bruised reed, smoldering wick”?
  3. What is the basis for confidence in Christian service?
  4. Why does Isaiah refer to God as Creator to give hope in the success of this servant?
  5. Why ought the same not engender confidence in you?
  6. What does it mean that this servant is a covenant for the people?
  7. How does Jesus' gentleness and success compare with the world's harshness and failure?