Isaiah 50

Isaiah 50  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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This prophetic strain now ceases, for in verse 1 of chapter 50 we return to the existing state of the people, estranged from their God. This was not from God’s side but from theirs. If He had issued a bill of divorcement against them, it would have been permanent and they would have been “cast away” (Rom. 11:11I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (Romans 11:1)), as to which Paul says, “God forbid.” The fact was that they had sold themselves into disaster by their many transgressions.
And there was more than this, for the succeeding verses are a prophetic arraignment of the people as to their rejection of their Messiah at His first advent. When He came, there was, as verse 2 predicts, none among the leaders of the people to answer to His call. As the Gospels record He came announcing the kingdom is at hand. Had He no power to bring it in? Did the establishment of the kingdom fail because He had not the redeeming energy? Why, He moved in the seas and the heavens with the power of the Creator! Yet He was to take a lowly and subject place.
The word “learned” in verse 4 really means a disciple or one who is instructed, and our Lord took that humble and subject place when He came as the Servant of the will of God. He had indeed the opened ear, as was also predicted in Psalm 40, and He took that place that He might be man’s true neighbor and speak the word in season to him that is weary. Morning by morning He heard the words He was to speak to others; hence His own statement to His disciples, “the words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself” (John 14:1010Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)).
And having taken this lowly place of Servant, He had to face the scornful rejection of men. Smiting, shame and spitting were to be His portion though He came in such grace with blessing for men. Nothing however moved Him from the path of devotion to the will of God. His face was set as a flint in that direction, and therefore the power of God was with Him.
Moreover, as verses 8 and 9 intimated, the day will come when He shall be vindicated and His adversaries confounded and brought under judgment. So here again, as is so often in these prophecies, the two advents are brought together though many centuries come between them. Verses 5-7 have been fulfilled when He came in grace. Verses 8 and 9 will be fulfilled when He comes in judgment.
Then in the two verses that close the chapter we pass from prophetic utterances to words of counsel and warning. There were those that feared the Lord and yet they walked in comparative darkness. This was acknowledged by the Apostle Peter, when in his first epistle he reminded the converts from Judaism, to whom he wrote, that they had been called “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (2:9). But while they still dwelt in darkness, waiting for the light, they were to trust in the name of Jehovah— for so He had revealed Himself to them— and stay themselves upon His faithfulness. This they did, as the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel show. Jesus was “the Dayspring from on high... to give light to them that sit in darkness” (1:78-79); and in chapter 2, we are given a glimpse of the godly souls who were obeying the instruction given in verse 10 of our chapter.
But there were many in those days that did not fear the Lord nor obey the voice of His Servant when He came in grace, and there are today a multitude who are of the same mind. They kindle a fire of their own to illuminate the darkness, and in the light of it and of its sparks they pursue their way. This is figurative language; but how graphic and striking it is!
In this twentieth century men have created a huge bonfire which is throwing sparks in all directions, and it appears that “science” is adding fuel to its flames at a rate that is becoming alarming. The sparks that are generated by human cleverness are flying everywhere. So let us not miss the application of these two verses to ourselves. If saints of old were to trust in their God while they waited for the light, should not we, who walk in the marvelous light of the Gospel, be filled with faith in the God so perfectly revealed in the Lord Jesus? Yet all around us are the multitudes charmed and intoxicated with the myriad bright sparks that spring from the fire of human inventions and cleverness, though some among them— those who know most and think more clearly— have many a twinge of fear as to the end of it all. Verse 11 indicates the end. Mankind will lie down in sorrow under God’s heavy judgment hand.