Isaiah Chapter 50
Verses 1-11: This chapter begins with an emphasis on the Lord’s unbreakable commitment of marriage to His people Judah. The question “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement?” is rhetorical, and the implied answer is that there is none. This should be viewed in contrast with (Jeremiah 3:8), where the Lord states that He divorced Israel and threatens Judah with the same. In spite of their sins, He never severed Himself from the Davidic line.
The chapter also includes a prophecy of Christ’s suffering. “I gave my back to the smiters” is referred to (in Matthew 27:26), in relation to the scourging that Christ received. “My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair”, refers to the plucking out of His beard. The reference to “spitting” (is verified in Matthew 26:67). The Servant is again seen as an individual suffering for the sins of the people.
Isaiah 50:1 “Thus saith the LORD, Where [is] the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors [is it] to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.”
“Bill of your mother’s divorcement … my creditors”: Though the sufferings of Judah were the necessary result of sin, no certificate of divorce or sale to creditors occurred because Zion’s separation from the Lord was only temporary. In fact, God gave the non-Davidic northern kingdom a certificate of divorce. However, the unconditional promises of the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7), precluded such a divorce for Judah, although there would be a time of separation.
Just as in Hosea, we see that God regards the falling away of His people as being divorced from them. Their idolatry was like spiritual adultery on their part. God had not sold them into captivity, nor run them off for their unfaithfulness. Their departure was of their own making.
God had delivered them from Babylon, but they must accept the free gift He gave them. They, of their own free will, could follow God or follow the false gods of the world. God made them free agents. They had chosen to leave God. Hosea’s harlot wife was symbolic of Israel, who was unfaithful to God.
Isaiah 50:2 “Wherefore, when I came, [was there] no man? when I called, [was there] none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because [there is] no water, and dieth for thirst.”
“Was there no man?”: God asked why no one was willing to believe and obey Him, even after all had seen His redemptive power in Egypt, when He dried up the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21), opened the river Jordan by turning it into dry land (Joshua 4:23), and killed the fish in Egypt (Exodus 7:18-21). The Lord’s power to redeem was indisputable (59:1). He proved it by His deliverance from Egypt (43:16-17; 44:27; 46:9; 48:3, 21).
We can easily see why God was angered with them. He had gone to the trouble to send them a Deliverer, and they had refused to be delivered. They were in a sense denying that God had the power to deliver them. He explains that He is the same One that dried up the Red Sea for them to cross over.
He controls the rain and the sun. He brings a drought, or a flood, just by saying the word. The elements obey Him. Nature is controlled by God. He set the world in orbit, and started the rivers to flowing, and all of the other things, but He still has perfect control over all of nature. He can stop the rain for years, if He desires. He can start it up just as quickly as He stopped it.
He controls the earthquakes and the storms of all kind. God is Supreme. He rules everything. God did not establish nature, and then let it do as it wishes. He controls nature. We know this to be true. Jesus spoke to the raging sea, and it became calm at His voice.
Isaiah 50:3 “I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.”
One of the most vivid examples of darkness coming upon the earth at the command of God, was one of the plagues spoken upon Egypt.
Exodus 10:21-22 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness [which] may be felt.” “And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:”
Mark 13:24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,”.
Revelation 6:12 “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;”
The Scriptures just given, leave no doubt that God makes the sun to shine, or darkness prevail. “Sackcloth” is a symbol of mourning. It would be time to mourn with this darkness.
Verses 4-11: This is the third of 4 Servant-songs and it is the Messiah’s soliloquy about being perfected through obedience (verses 4-5), and sufferings (verse 6). The Apostle John writes much about Jesus’ obedience to God in fulfilling His will.
Isaiah 50:4 “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to [him that is] weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”
Jesus says, in the following Scripture, that the words He speaks are the words of the Father in Him.
John 14:10 “Believest 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.”
The Scripture above is intended to contrast the Israelites, who were unlearned, to Jesus, who is all Wisdom and Understanding.
Isaiah 50:5 “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.”
Jesus submitted to the Father to the extent that He said, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine.
Matthew 26:39 “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].”
Jesus was obedient even unto the cross.
Isaiah 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
“My back … cheeks … face”: The Servant remained obedient though provoked to rebel by excessively vile treatment. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by remaining submissive to the Father’s will.
These things happened to Jesus at His trial and crucifixion.
Matthew 26:67 “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote [him] with the palms of their hands,”
Jesus endured all the pain and humiliation for us. He was not forced to suffer all of this. At any time, He could have stopped the whole thing. He went through all of this willingly knowing it would bring life to His creation.
Isaiah 50:7 “For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”
“Set my face like a flint”: So sure was He of the Lord God’s help that He resolutely determined to remain unswayed by whatever hardship might await Him (Ezekiel 3:8-9). Jesus demonstrated this determination in setting His face to go to Jerusalem to be crucified (Luke 9:51).
“The Lord GOD will help me” is a very knowing statement. There is no doubt at all in this statement. If we could just get that stamped into our thoughts, we would be bettered by it.
Jesus was not to be turned away from doing what He had set out to do. The victory for all of Christendom was won on the cross. This was not a defeat, it was victory.
Verses 8-9: No matter how He was mistreated, mocked and repudiated, the Servant had full confidence of the Lord God’s support, so He welcomed an adversary to come.
Isaiah 50:8 “[He is] near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who [is] mine adversary? let him come near to me.”
Jesus rose from the grave and left no doubt at all of who He was. Who can stand against Him? The answer is “no one”. At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Not even death could overcome the Lord Jesus. He was victorious in even that. Because He lives, we shall live also.
Isaiah 50:9 “Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who [is] he [that] shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.”
Jesus Christ is the Judge of all mankind. What a horrible fate, to stand before Him, knowing that you condemned Him! There is a time to die for every man, and then comes the judgment.
Verses 10-11: Here was a call to the unconverted to believe and be saved, along with a warning that those who tried to escape moral, spiritual darkness by lighting their own fire (man-made religion, works of righteousness), were to end up in eternal torment.
Isaiah 50:10 “Who [is] among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh [in] darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.”
Leave the darkness and come to the marvelous Light (Jesus Christ our Lord). The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Darkness is the absence of Light. To be saved, we must put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus.
Read Romans 10:9-10. We must not wander away after we receive the Lord. Notice the word “stay”. Look with me, at what Jesus said about this in the next Scripture.
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Isaiah 50:11 “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass [yourselves] about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks [that] ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.”
This appears, to me, to be speaking of someone depending on their own knowledge, and not depending on God. Look whose light this is. It is their own and not the Light who is Jesus Christ.
No man can save himself. Jesus is our only hope. The sorrow will come, because you cannot save yourself.
Isaiah Chapter 50 Questions
- God regards the falling away of His people as what?
- For your ______________ have ye sold yourselves.
- Their idolatry was like ____________ __________.
- ______ made them a free agent.
- Who was Hosea’s harlot wife symbolic of?
- Why was God angered with them?
- Name some of the things of nature God controls.
- Who controls all of nature?
- What did Jesus do, that showed He had power over the elements of nature?
- What is a very vivid example of God bringing darkness?
- What is “sackcloth” a symbol of?
- The words Jesus spoke were whose?
- What was the contrast to this in verse 4?
- What did this show about Jesus?
- Where do we find the Scripture where they spit in the face of Jesus?
- Was Jesus forced to suffer for us?
- Why did He go through with the cross for us?
- He had set His face like a _______.
- What was said in verse 7 that shows no doubt at all?
- At the name of Jesus, every _______ will _____.
- Who is the Light?
- What is verse 11 speaking of?