Complex chapter. Isaiah is like a symphony, or a film score.
It has a bunch of themes, more and more as it goes on, and they keep returning and combining to push the story forward with ever more nuance.
The layers get to be too many to describe, especially for a non-scholar like me.
But like a good piece of music it has a cumulative emotional flow that unifies the complexity.
This chapter introduces the servant, beloved of the New testament writers who see it fulfilled in Jesus.
We learn that the servant will be God’s delight, will be for all nations, will be gentle in manner and in action, not breaking the “bruised reeds”, those already beaten and damaged.
Some of the themes that come back are the desserts being made flat, the world being recreated, inverted in fact so that rivers become islands.
God as victor, a strong man; and then as (re)creator, a woman in labour.
The emptiness of idols and Gods judgement being the actual reason for the present suffering, to which he seems to be deaf and blind.
So in these themes, love and judgement, chaos and gentleness, time and eternity weave together.
Isaiah is taking God’s revelation to places it has not gone before. He’s witnessing first hand the trauma of literal earthly blessing of the chosen people and the specific nation of Israel failing beyond hope of return.
Out of that pain, as is so often the case, our deaf ears can start to hear about the Messiah, and we can start to see with spiritual eyes.
And the message is comfort, courage and love.