Isaiah 42:6-7 “I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness,I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, 7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison."
For I am accomplishing a work in your days, A work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.’” Why would Paul quote this passage? The prophet Habakkuk had ministered some 600 years before Christ in a spiritually dark Southern Kingdom of Judah. Times were so bad that at the opening of his prophecy, Habakkuk cries out to God: "Why?" God's response to Habakkuk's complaints over the wickedness of his nation was that He was going to Divinely send an even more wicked nation, the Babylonians, to discipline His people. Such news is described by God in the terms we find being quoted by Paul. In other words, how God was going to bring about His redemptive purposes was going to be unexpected. Habakkuk writes in Habakkuk 2:1 "I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved." In other words, the prophet was going to await until God showed Him the light of His purposes - which of course He would. God's Gospel lamp was shining in Habakkuk's day, and Paul's usage of Habakkuk's prophecy in Acts 13:41 indicates that the Gospel Lamp was shining brightly in the place Paul was preaching.
‘I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles, That You may bring salvation to the end of the earth.’” Isaiah had written some 150 years prior to Habakkuk. In Isaiah's prophecy of Isaiah 42 we see a prediction made of the "Servant of the Lord", the coming Messiah - whom of course is identified in the New Testament as Jesus Christ. The Servant of the Lord is the light in Isaiah 42:6 and now Paul is saying in Acts 13:47 that Jesus, the "The Light of the World" is in a sense going to shine through Him to bring forth the light of the Gospel. Again, God's Gospel lamp burned brightly in the prophetic statements of Isaiah and burns brightly is the apostolic statements of Paul.
Point of Application: You and I as Jesus' disciples are to carry forth God's Gospel lamp.