“Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.” (Isaiah 52:13-15)
As we examine the servant song of Yahweh from Isaiah 52:13-53:12, it is imperative that we not just gloss over the text, but rather examine each word closely. We will do so by studying the text one verse at a time. Today’s verse is Isaiah 52:13: Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted” (Isaiah 52:13).
The LORD God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah in the first person. He begins by saying, “Behold.” God is saying “Look,” “There,” “Now.” He is calling attention to an idea and emphasizing an idea. What the LORD means is “Do not miss what I am about to say.”
“My Servant shall act wisely.” The LORD addresses the Servant as “my servant.” Whoever this servant is, He belongs to Yahweh. The noun “servant” is in the masculine gender so we may conclude that this servant is a man. He is also a bond-servant or slave. The meaning also conveys a worshipper of the One who is being served by the One who is doing the serving. Yahweh’s servant also will act wisely. He will behave with understanding and comprehension. He will have insight and prudence in serving Yahweh.
“He shall be high.” The Servant of Yahweh will be exalted in worship. He will be an object of worship. Whoever the servant is, He will not be an idol or a false God.
He will also be “lifted up.” This means to be in a lofty position. Lofty may refer to One who is noble, majestic and sublime.
He will also “be exalted.” This servant, in His personhood, will occupy a high and elevated position.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “Two important points are made in this verse: the Servant will act wisely, doing what the Lord wants Him to do, and He will be … highly exalted. His being lifted up refers not to the kind of death He died on the cross, but to His being exalted at God’s right hand (Phil. 2:9; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22).”
John Calvin writes, “He calls Christ ‘His Servant’ on account of the office committed to Him. Christ ought not to be regarded as a private individual, but as holding the office to which the Father has appointed Him; to be leader of the people and restorer of all things so that whatever He affirms concerning Himself we ought to understand as belonging also to us. Christ has been given to us, and therefore to us also belongs His ministry, for the Prophet (Isaiah) might have said, in a single word, that Christ will be exalted and will be highly honored; but, by giving Him the title of ‘Servant’ he means that He will be exalted for our sake.”
Mark 10:42-45 says, “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Take time today to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for serving sinners by dying and rising from the dead on His people’s behalf. Thank Him that you belong to Him.
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!