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## Introduction to hodos
Hi I'm Ian Wyllie from hodos, a community passionate about the value of people living with, and around, mental health issues. Hodos is empowered by God, and accountable to Highfield Church in Southampton UK. However many of our projects and activities are open to people of all faiths or none, and we warmly people who are exploring.

## Thinking about the 'Servant Songs'
As a community we are thinking about what impact some of the passages of Isaiah, which are now known as the "Servant Songs", might have for us as we explore the possibility of expanding our work and numbers. [38]

## An introduction to the 'Songs'
These 'Songs', speak with increasing fervour and clarity of the coming of a servant who will bring to birth salvation, not only for the then people of God, but that this salvation will also reach out to the ends of the earth.

In this process the servant will care for the poor and the weak: God says in illustration that he will neither break a bruised reed, nor quench faintly burning wick. Speaking at a time when the nation was consumed with idol worship, Isaiah shows that the servant will be a reliable and authoritative source of light for all in the darkness of man made gods.

The text, for the first time in the Hebrew Bible that suffering is prophesied for the one who will announce salvation to the world. The servant is shown as ultimately obedient to God, even if the call is to suffer and to die for the world.

As a note, these songs were only picked out from the flow of Isaiah around 120 years ago, by a German commentator who was interested in the then fashionable idea that Isaiah had multiple authors. [188]

## Before we jump in to specific passages
Before we jump in, it's good to think about the prophecies of Isaiah as a whole. Isaiah has been called the 'Prince of Prophets'. The name is warranted, not only for the length of the prophecy at 66 chapters, but also because of the varied scope of the text.

Fittingly Isaiah's name means 'the Lord is salvation', and salvation by God - either as delivery from contemporary events, or at the time of the LORD's judgement on the whole earth is never far from the writings.

Isaiah served God during the reign of four Kings, advising them on the Godly solutions to political crises, and watching as the Kings choose their own political skill over God's good designs, only to see their kingdom crumble. As such, he is an inspiration for us as a community. We are non political, but deal daily with the struggles and suffering of people caught in a system mired in party politics.

Throughout the text speaks clearly in favour of the poor, and of coming judgement at which the poor and excluded will be liberated.

The prophecies lie at a turning point in Biblical history. The twelve tribes that came out of Egypt, had by the time Isaiah started writing, divided into two related and sometime warring kingdoms: Israel containing ten tribes in the North, and Judah lay to the south with the remaining two. Jerusalem 'the City of God’ lay near the Northern border of Judah.

The King of Israel, Ahaz had chosen paganism over the way of the Lord, and made himself a client King of the Assyrians, who were the undisputed superpower of their day.

Despite this outstanding record of unfaithfulness, God sent Isaiah to prophecy to Ahaz that God would still deliver Israel. Ahaz refuses to trust the prophecy and as a result Israel is taken into exile in Assyria, to disappear from the history recorded in Scripture. It is this event which sparks the famous prophecy of the birth a child - Immanuel, a son, who will reign in greatness and peace.
{Is 9 - 2-7 pan vertically) will emphasis on (2), (5-7a)}

So Judah alone remains in Cannan, and the range of prophecy in Isaiah reaches out to a time when they too pass into exile: to Babylon, the newly risen superpower in conflict with the regional power Egypt.

It is in this turbulent context that Isaiah, begins to receive a series of prophecies of an entirely unexpected inititave for salvation. With increasing clarity the text shows that, despite the troubles of Israel, God remains focused on the salvation of the whole world.

Now, instead of salvation for the nations coming through the people of Israel, prophecy now speaks of the coming of a certain servant of the Lord who will act as mediator of salvation not only for Israel but the whole world

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