As was evident in the life of Elijah, sometimes the LORD speaks in a whisper, a small still voice. At other times, the command is given sharply to stop what one is doing as was seen in the admonition concerning worry. An abrupt call to pause and consider may also be one of encouragement designed to bring assurance and stability to what may be ahead. Such an attention getter is found in the fourth Servant Song recorded in Isaiah. “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted” (Isa 52:13 NASB).
The context for this sudden announcement was the prophet’s assurance to the nation Israel that God would deliver them from their impending captivity in Babylon. “Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city. For the uncircumcised and the unclean will no more come into you. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion” (Isa 52:1-2 NASB).
That would be the “nearer” fulfillment of the prophecy with yet a greater further fulfillment to come when the nation would be restored to her place of service in the millennial reign of Christ. “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, they shout joyfully together; for they will see with their own eyes when the LORD restores Zion" (Isa 52:7-8 NASB). Returning to the “nearer” prophecy concerning Babylon, Isaiah gives God’s instructions… “Depart, depart, go out from there, touch nothing unclean; go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the LORD. But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isa 52:11-12 NASB). Having promised His providential care to the nation, the Father suddenly calls Israel to attention to announce the One through whom physical and spiritual deliverance would come. It was abrupt and short – “behold.”
Then Isaiah had the privilege of writing of the Father’s gift to the nation and all mankind in the Person of the Suffering Servant, the Messiah. Addressing His Servant, the prophet announced God’s promise that the Work of Messiah on the Cross, though rejected by the nation, would indeed accomplish God’s plan to redeem mankind and restore wayward Israel at a future time to her rightful place of service to God. “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted” (Isa 52:13 NASB). It is with that assurance from the Father that the Servant Song proceeds to describe the suffering of the Savior in being judged for the sins of the nation and of all humanity. While the physical abuse and mode of execution were horrible, it did not compare with the severity of judgment from the Father as … “He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21 NASB). So incomprehensible was the judgment required to purchase salvation for any and all who would place their faith in that Work, that God shrouded the Cross in darkness.
When the veil was lifted Isaiah prophetically writes that … “just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness, … so [at the Second Advent] will he sprinkle [astonish] many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand” (Isa 52:14-15 NIV).