Green Valley Sermons

Too Small A Thing

Sunday, November 25, 2018        

Isaiah 49:5-6

Isa 49:5-6

5 And now the Lord says — he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord

and my God has been my strength — 6 he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." (NIV)

It is too small a thing for you to restore Israel. Who is the ‘you’? “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob.”

If you look at this prophecy from the view point of Isaiah what would he have seen? Isaiah was living and preaching in the time of Hezekiah. The greatest fear for Isaiah and his people was the destruction of what was left of their nation by the Assyrians. The ten tribes of Israel to the north had been taken and replaced by peoples from other lands. Most of the two southern tribes were also taken. Those who have taken refuge in Jerusalem are all that is left of the great nation of Israel.

God has sent Assyria’s armies back home. Hezekiah had been dying and God, through Isaiah, has given him another 15 years to live. Isaiah has been preaching about another nation, Babylon, who would come and taken those left in Jerusalem into captivity.

If Isaiah takes the prophecy he has been given personally, this message is to him. He is the you that will restore Israel and bring them back to God. God promises He will also use this servant to be a light, to bring salvation to the Gentiles, the nations of the world.

Luke, over in the New Testament, hundreds of years later had a different idea for who the you was who would be a light to the nations. Luke tells us of a prophesy given by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, right after John’s birth.

Luke 1:67-80

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. 69 He {God} has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David {This horn of salvation is not John. He was not from the house of David, he was a Levite.} 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel. (NIV)

Luke knew that this you of which Isaiah had spoken so long ago, and of whom Zechariah had foretold was Jesus.

In his investigations Luke also found another prophecy made shortly after the birth of Jesus.

Luke 2:25-35

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."


From Isaiah’s point of view, he would have seen the words he had been given as pertaining to the current situation of the Jews in his time. He may have seen himself as the servant would bring light to the Gentiles. And he would have been correct.

Luke came to believe the servant was Jesus. He had investigated the events surrounding the life of Jesus. He listened as those in Jerusalem told of Zechariah’s prophecy about the coming of the horn of salvation. He heard those who had sat under John’s teaching and he believed that Jesus was indeed the servant who would rescue Israel and bring light to the Gentiles.

He heard, perhaps from Mary herself, what Simeon had spoken about Jesus in the temple. For Luke, this was further evidence that Jesus was indeed the servant who would return Israel to God and would offer salvation to the Gentiles.

God had said, it was too small a thing to bring Israel back to faith and devotion to God. God had a bigger plan. God’s plan was to save the world, to offer the light of the truth even to the Gentiles.

This was a hard message for the Jews in Luke’s time to accept. They believed so strongly that they were the chosen people of God. They believed they were chosen to the exclusion of the rest of the world. But God said saving the Jews was too small a thing. God wanted the message of salvation to be taken to the world.

Isaiah was to a limited extent the fulfillment of the message about a servant who would take the message of salvation to the world.

We know that Jesus is the one to whom God’s message to Isaiah pointed.

Both are true. Many have been a part of God’s plan to offer salvation to all people. Luke was a servant of God to bring the message to the world. It was too small a thing to just limit salvation to the Jews. They were God’s chosen people, but not to the exclusion of everyone else as many of them came to believe. They were chosen to bring God’s servant who would bring the Savior to the world.

What about us? Could we take this prophecy as being for us as well? Could we be a part of the plan of God to save the world?

I think we can. It is too small a thing to keep this message to ourselves. Salvation is not just for me. God wants to use me to convince you, and others that our hope must be in Jesus. Our salvation is offered by a God who loves us and because He loves us he insists that we accept Him as Lord of our lives.

As Lord of our lives He has a plan for us to be part of taking this great message to others, and yes even to the remotest parts of the world.

Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Later, we will be taking up our Christ’s Birthday offering to send to Anderson to be used to fund our missionaries. We are looking forward to Christmas when we celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus, the Savior of the world.

God wants each of us to take the message given through Isaiah very personally. He wants us to pray for and witness to our families, our neighbors and any who will listen. We are to tell them that God wants them in His family. He wants them to accept His Love and His Lordship.

We need to offer ourselves as servants of the Most High God. Salvation is not just for us. God says it is too small a thing to keep this quiet. We need to tell the world that He offers them redemption, salvation, forgiveness. He offers Himself as the Suffering Servant who brings the light of salvation to the world.

He wants you to be led by His Spirit to take this message to others. It is too small a thing to keep this to ourselves. Be part of God’s plan to take the light of these truths to the ends of the earth.