Isaiah 49:4

4 But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”

Isaiah 49:4 in Other Translations

KJV
4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.
ESV
4 But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God."
NLT
4 I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD ’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”
MSG
4 But I said, "I've worked for nothing. I've nothing to show for a life of hard work. Nevertheless, I'll let God have the last word. I'll let him pronounce his verdict."
CSB
4 But I myself said: I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and futility; yet my vindication is with the Lord, and my reward is with my God.

Isaiah 49:4 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 49:4

Then I said
The Messiah said, by way of objection, in a view of what treatment he should meet with, or when entered on his work, and which he found by experience, what follows: I have laboured in vain;
this is not to be understood of the travail of his soul, or of his sufferings and death, which were not in vain, but issued in the redemption and salvation of his people; but of his ministry and miracles, and fatiguing journeys among the Jews; which, with respect to them, were in vain, as to their conversion and reformation; they rejecting the Messiah, slighting his doctrines and miracles, refusing to be gathered by him, being a faithless and perverse generation: I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain;
by frequent preaching and working of miracles, and travelling from place to place: the same thing is designed as before, repeated in other words, to express the certainty of it, to chew the ingratitude and wickedness of the people, and to utter the complaints of his mind: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord;
or is manifest before the Lord, as the Targum; the Lord knew that he had called him to his office; how prudently, diligently, and faithfully he had executed it; and what was his right and due, and which would be given him; and with this he corrects his former complaint, and makes himself easy, and quiets and satisfies his mind: and my work with my God;
or the reward of my works is before my God, as the Targum; and before himself also, ( Isaiah 40:10 ) as his work was assigned him by the Lord, so his reward was promised him, and which he knew he should have; and having done his work, be asked for his reward, and had it, ( John 17:4 John 17:5 ) ( Philippians 2:9 Philippians 2:10 ) .

Isaiah 49:4 In-Context

2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.
3 He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”
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 LORDand 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 my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Cross References 4

  • 1. S Leviticus 26:20; Isaiah 55:2; Isaiah 65:23
  • 2. Isaiah 45:25; Isaiah 50:8; Isaiah 53:10; Isaiah 54:17
  • 3. S Isaiah 35:4
  • 4. S Job 27:2