Behold My Servant shall deal prudently (prosper, Newberry margin), He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. Isaiah 52:13 KJV
Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. Isaiah 52:13 NASB
Isaiah 52:13 puts an entirely different light on the concept of “prospering” in divine things. As you look at the life and ministry of the Lord, it would be difficult to attach the word “success” to His ministry. In fact, in the words of the Servant in Isaiah 49, we read, “I have labored in vain; I have spent My strength for naught and in vain” (v 4). Rather than words of discouragement, they are words that introduce His contentment with God’s will and God’s assessment as given in the next verse.His evangelism was not marked by huge crowds and acclaim. After three years of the most God-honoring service ever seen on planet earth, He had made a little over 500 converts.
The social ills of Israel had not been corrected. There was still the enslavement to Rome. The publicans continued to gouge their fellow-citizens. Widows were still defrauded of their homes. Evil was still rife. No great social reform had been enacted.
The cold, formal ritual of Israel’s religion remained unfazed by Him. The temple tax, although twice interrupted, no doubt resumed. The burdens of the Pharisees which they imposed on the nation continued. And eventually, the Lord Jesus was crucified in shame and dishonored, His claims all “apparently” discredited by His death.
The pundits of the day would scarcely consider His ministry “prosperous” at any level. It would likely have been deemed to have been the exact opposite, a total failure.
Yet God said that His Servant prospered. While there may be a future aspect to this, in God’s estimation, He did indeed prosper. “The pleasure of the Lord” prospered in His hand (Isa 53:10). Into the hand of this capable Servant had been placed all divine purpose and plans. With consummate skill and wisdom, this Faithful Servant of Jehovah accomplished all that God intended; nothing was left undone or poorly done.
In the six hours upon the cross, the Lord Jesus accomplished the greatest work, a work exceeding even the wonder of creation, by a total yielding to the judgment of God and the malice of men. As He was plunged beneath the waves of divine judgment, He prospered. As He was pummeled by the tsunami which came against Him, He prospered.
The Lord Jesus did what no creature nor hosts of angels could ever accomplish. He “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb 9:26). In apparent defeat, He won the field of battle and was declared victor and conqueror.
By weakness and defeat
He won the meed and crown.
Trod all His foes beneath His feet
By being trodden down.
Samuel W. Gandy
Look up the word “deal prudently” (sakal, Strong – 7919) and notice how, in the original, it is employed by Daniel in his writing. Notice the many nuances of the word.
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