Isaiah 50 – A Difference of Light
Vs. 1-3 The sufferings of God have to do with the separation between God and His covenant people. Israel is referred to as an unfaithful bride so there is talk about a divorce. The Mosaic Covenant is compared to a covenant of marriage. Ezekiel 16 and Hosea 1-3 also point out that Israel is an unfaithful wife. So, because of this the relationship is in jeopardy. The question put here is “where is the certificate of divorce (the law concerning divorce is in Deuteronomy 24:1-4)?” The relationship is definitely in trouble. There is a separation, but there is no bill of divorce as of yet.
God is not in debt to anyone so he has no need to sell his children into slavery. He is making clear that the reason for God’s movement against Israel is because of Israel’s transgressions against Him and the covenant they share.
In Vs. 2 and 3 we see that the problem with Israel is not in God’s power to save. His power is never diminished. If they had repented and called on Him for help He would have helped. In fact, He said that He came to them, He called to them, but they weren’t there and they didn’t answer. Possibly He is saying, I came to the temple, but no one was worshipping. I came to the tabernacle and called out, but no one was there to hear and no one was there to answer. They were off worshipping other gods or themselves through pride and greed.
It is important to remind ourselves again that Blood Covenants are conditional relationships. The Covenant between God and Abraham, reiterated again and again through Joshua, David, and the prophets is a conditional relationship, like a marriage. It makes me think of something my mom said to me a long time ago. Someone was talking about marriage being a 50/50. My mom, who is not apt to foul language of any kind said, “That’s wrong. Marriage isn’t 50/50. It is 100/100. Give 50% and you have a half-**sed marriage.” Anyway, covenant is an all-in situation.
Vs. 4-9 So, this is an interesting passage. Dr. Fruchtenbaum presents two points here that I think are worth considering. We often think of Jesus as formerly a carpenter. Joseph was a carpenter. He was identified, pejoratively, as a carpenter in Nazareth. However, he was called Rabbi. He was identified, even by some in the Sanhedrin as “Rabbi.” This wasn’t a title that was every used lightly. Jewish boys went through extensive schooling. When Jesus is 12 at the temple He is basically being bar mitzvah’d. He would have had to memorize the Torah and undergo rigorous testing with temple priests. We know that they were impressed with Him.
Boys who passed would go to a next level of training which would cover the law and the prophets among other things and they would be tested again at 18 or 19. The promising students would petition a Rabbi to follow and be his disciple until he deemed them ready to be a Rabbi from that school. This is one of the reasons it was so totally upside down for Jesus to call grown men, fishermen, and tax collectors to be His disciples. It really was a new thing.
Dr. Fruchtenbaum also indicates that Jesus was not just taught in this traditional way, but that as Isaiah indicates, the Servant would be trained every morning by God and prepared every day as his ears were opened by the Sovereign Lord. Jesus would know exactly what He was to expect as He fulfilled God’s will. The cross and all of the suffering that He was to endure would be revealed to Him and he never rebelled against God’s will for Him. Jesus would take all of the indignities in vs. 4-6 and not turn away. He set his face like flint for the purposes for which He was called.
Vs. 7-9 The servant has no blame because He is fulfilling the will of God’s instructions.
Vs. 10-11 Verse 10 is a message to the remnant. These are people who fear God and obey His servant. They are to trust in the name of the Lord and rely on God.
Vs. 11 Is the message to the non-remnant. They have started their own fire and they are relying on the light of their own fires. The fire that the start and the light that it offers will be the cause of their own destruction.