Isaiah has prophesied judgment and destruction to Jerusalem because of her sins, but the LORD never stops with judgment and punishment! Now Isaiah prophesies comfort to Jerusalem and the coming of Messiah.
The LORD Himself will comfort Jerusalem and pardon her iniquity (Isa 40:1-2). He will make Israel’s paths straight, “for the mouth of the LORD has spoken,” (Isa 40:4-5). Then He assures Israel that it will certainly come to pass, because His word, that which the LORD’s mouth speaks, stands forever (Isa 40:8).
Israel’s besetting sin was the idolatry that she learned from the nations, that got her scattered to the nations. But those same nations are a drop in the bucket and are NOT an obstacle for the LORD God (Isa 40:15), who is great in power and able to accomplish all His counsel (Isa 42:10-13). He will destroy idols and idolatry from among Israel (Isa 42:17).
The LORD will accomplish this by His Servant whom He upholds. He will bring justice to the Gentiles, and the coastlands, the nations, will wait for His Law (torah in Hebrew, Isa 42:1-4). Messiah Yeshua has not done away with the LORD’s torah, but at His return He will establish the torah as the rule of law for all nations. And as the torah defines for man what is righteousness and sin, by it He will establish justice among the coastlands. He will exalt the torah, and make it honorable (Isa 41:21).
He will restore Jacob, and deliver him from prison — where he was sent by the LORD Himself, because he would not walk in the LORD’s ways, nor be obedient to His torah (Isa 42:24). This fact, the LORD pleads that those in the time to come listen to it and give ear to it (Isa 42:23). The deliverance from prison that Messiah will accomplish is tied to the restoration of the torah.
Now here is a mind blowing piece of information. The LORD’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. When we see a truth in the word of God, we have to let it permeate us, we have to conform our thoughts to His. We have just seen that far from abolishing torah, Messiah will establish torah among the Gentiles. It is not for Jews only. Not only that, but those of us in the time to come are to give ear to the fact that Jacob was given over to plunder because they would not be obedient to His torah. This disobedience ensnared them in prison holes (Isa 42:22), from whence Messiah will deliver them — by exalting the torah!
We have been told that obeying God’s law enslaves us. It is a lie and the truth is the exact opposite! It is obeying God’s law that sets us free! It is being a slave to sin that ensnares us and keeps us in captivity!
Now it is true that such devotion and obedience is a work of the Spirit in our hearts — if He does not work the change, and the hunger for Himself and His ways in our hearts, then all our obedience is a work of the flesh. But the good news (gospel) is, that is precisely what He will do! He will cause us to hunger and thirst for righteousness! And He will fill us with it!