God blessed the nation of Israel in order to be a blessing to all other nations, but eventually, they refrained from sharing that salvation with others. After the work of Jesus in our lives, we are called to go outside the walls of the church to multiply as we make disciples and plant churches.

Isaiah 49:1-7

49:1 Listen to me, O coastlands,
    and give attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called me from the womb,
    from the body of my mother he named my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
    in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow;
    in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant,
    Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
    I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
    and my recompense with my God.”

And now the Lord says,
    he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
    and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
    and my God has become my strength—
he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob
    and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Thus says the Lord,
    the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation,
    the servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise;
    princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Observations

  • The coming Messiah was promised to bring about spiritual deliverance (Is. 49:1).
  • The Servant of the LORD deserves the attention of the nations (Is. 49:1).
  • The Word of God is meant to be used with those up close and those far away (Is. 49:2).
  • The cross of Christ brought glory to God and provided salvation for us (Is. 49:3-4).
  • Jesus’ work was the task of reconciliation (Is. 49:5).
  • Restoring religious people is a great task but not great enough for Jesus (Is. 49:6).
  • The message and messengers of Christ have nothing less than a worldwide agenda of salvation (Is. 49:6).
  • Jesus will receive worship from all nations (Is. 49:7).

Applications

  • The Church should not entertain small goals and limited efforts for Kingdom work.
  • It is too small a goal to hope that our church will grow with more religious people.
  • We should work to multiply disciples in such a way that generations unborn and nations unreached are eternally changed.
  • Multiply:
    • Yourself
    • Your Group
    • Your Ministry
    • Your Service
    • Your Church

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.