Isaiah 50 v1-3

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[note: recorded Dec 7, 2023, posted Mar 7, 2024]

Review Isaiah 49:8-26

Find a way this section points us to salvation by faith and not by works.

What surprise “problem” will Israel have?  How will this “problem” occur?

  • They won’t think they’ll have enough space for all the people who will come flocking to the kingdom.
  •  God will increase his people and bring the Gentiles into his church.

Use verses 49:15-16 to comfort someone who feels like they are abandoned by God.

  • Answers may vary.  The picture is very comforting.  Just as if we are tattooed on his hands, God is always mindful of us.  Even the dearest earthly relationship can be broken, but not God’s love for his redeemed people.
  • 49:25 “So I myself will contend with the one who contends with you.” Elaborate on who is contending against the people of God and how they do it. Share the comfort you find from this verse along with Romans 8:31.

Review Isaiah 49

Locate some of the descriptions in this chapter which point to God’s working for Israel having an impact on all the earth.

Though parts of 49:1-13 can be argued by some to be partially fulfilled in Cyrus, why do we say it must ultimately point to the Christ?   Wow do you see the rest of the things in the chapter fulfilled in the kingdom of God?

  • See questions and answers above.  Christ brings salvation to all.  Israel grows as the Gentiles contribute to the number of God’s kingdom.  Jesus said “you will be my witness, beginning in Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This is done especially begging at Pentecost and Acts 10ff.
  • Luther wrote, “From this chapter to the end, there is nothing but Christ, and although the prophet at the same time occasionally corrects and rebukes, the scope of this treatise has to do with Christ, with the calling of the Gentiles, and with the rejection of the Jews” (LW, Volume 17, page 169).

Note the final verse of this chapter is also a verse of comfort. Breakdown why any chapter on the Bible that offers absolute and complete comfort must include more than a description of God’s love. It must also include his acts of judgment.

 Isaiah 50:1-3 The Lord is Innocent of Any Wrong

Agree or Disagree: “There should be such a thing as a no-fault divorce.”

In the past divorce in the United States legally came at the fault of one person or an accusation of wrong against someone. Today all fifty states have adopted a “no fault” approach to divorce. They allow people to divorce without considering either party at fault for the broken marriage. In Isaiah’s time the people of Israel could not legally divorce without cause. The husband had to take legal action to initiate a divorce and present charges. At the start of this chapter the Lord uses penetrating questions to get the people to consider whose fault it was that the relationship between him and his people was strained. But it was by no means ended.

50:1 The people of Israel would feel like their mother (Jerusalem) was “exiled and divorced.” (49:21) Evaluate the accuracy of those feelings based on this verse.

  • God hadn’t issued divorce papers!  This was actually good news!

50:1 In Isaiah’s time you had to give legal notice of a divorce. That signified the husband would remain forever separate and could not remarry the same woman (Dt. 24). Another even more frightening mode of separation occurred in critical circumstances. Many ancient cultures could force a man to sell his family to pay off a debt. It appears that the people of Israel had at times adopted this dreadful practice. Would their God ever do that with them? The Lord points out that he never asked to divorce from Jerusalem and was never made to sell off her children. Give at least two reasons why God had not officially severed any relationship with the people of Jerusalem.

  • He had chosen them in grace and would not fail to keep his promises to them.
  • God is never indebted to anyone that he would need to sell off his chosen people for money.

50:1 The last part of this verse is an important truth to keep in mind. Why was it so hard for the people of Jerusalem to see their own guilt as the cause of their ruin?  List some specific sins which people today might fail to see as the cause of their own ruin.

  • Various answers.  People might blame God and think their suffering is just because he has abandoned them when in fact they have been holding onto their sins which bring them ruin. (For example, people keep turning to destructive sins and see their lives falling apart but refuse to admit it is their own fault: addictions, sexual immorality, unfaithfulness to their spouse, pride, selfishness, abuse, love of money etc.)

50:2-3 The Lord did not just write off the people as lost and leave them in their sin. Breakdown the Lord’s response to Israel’s plight and Israel’s response back toward their God.

  • He sent his prophets like Isaiah and many others for hundreds of years, calling them back.
  • It was as if there was no one listening!
  • He gives the picture of how he is able to save them –but they didn’t want to trust in him.  No one could say he was too weak or unable to save them.

50:2-3 The Lord is able to save. Describe what powerful saving event he alludes to in these verses. When do you especially need reminders of God’s saving power?

  • He points to the events of the plague of darkness on Egypt and the drying up of the sea for Israel to cross and Egypt’s army to be destroyed.
  • Israel needed a reminder of God’s absolute power to save since they were being overpowered by their enemies.
  • We need reminders of the Lord’s power to save anytime the forces of evil striving against what is godly and good just seem too strong for us.

Read Jeremiah 3:6-14 and appraise Judah’s response after many generations of the Lord calling out to her.