Isaiah 49:4

4 But I said, "In spite of my hard work, I feel as if I haven't accomplished anything. I've used up all of my strength. It seems as if everything I've done is worthless. But the LORD will give me what I should receive. My God will reward me."

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 words like a sharp sword. He hid me in the palm of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow. He took good care of me and kept me safe.
3 He said to me, "You are my true servant Israel. I will show my glory through you."
4 But I said, "In spite of my hard work, I feel as if I haven't accomplished anything. I've used up all of my strength. It seems as if everything I've done is worthless. But the LORD will give me what I should receive. My God will reward me."
5 The LORD formed me in my mother's body to be his servant. He wanted me to bring the family of Jacob back to him. He wanted me to gather the people of Israel to himself. The LORD will honor me. My God will give me strength.
6 The LORD says to me, "It is not enough for you as my servant to bring the tribes of Jacob back to their land. It is not enough for you to bring back the people of Israel I have kept alive. I will also make you a light for other nations. Then you will make it possible for the whole world to be saved."