Israel was in a desperate condition. The nation would eventually be sent off into exile. Why would this disaster come to pass? “Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.” The discipline that would eventually come upon God’s people would be brought about by the Almighty. He could have stopped their sufferings at any time. “Is My hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?” Yet this time of great trouble would fit into His own purposes for His elect.
The Lord’s children could not solve their own sin problem. Therefore God prepared them to eventually receive His Son. Isaiah 50 contains the third of four revealing songs that would eventually help His people to embrace a suffering king. In this divinely-inspired composition we learn that there would finally come one Man who would delight in the Word of the Lord. The Messiah would listen well and would learn how to speak rightly, “that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.”
The willing obedience of Israel’s Savior would be all the more amazing because of the specific instructions that He would be called to follow. “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” Jesus would not run away from this calling. In the words of Isaiah 50:7, “I have set my face like a flint.” This courageous determination was fulfilled in Luke 9:51, “When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem.” Though He knew that He would suffer shame and death, He also had confidence that His Father would vindicate Him in the end.
Isaiah asked his original readers this probing question: “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?” The prophet’s ancient words still challenge the church today to put our “trust in the Name of the Lord.” The alternative to faith remains a most frightening prospect. “This you have from My hand: you shall lie down in torment.” May God grant us grace to believe in Him and to trust in Jesus, who is able to “sustain” us with His powerful Word of grace.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O Lord, the church is suffering in the filth of her own foolishness, weakness, poverty, and rebellion. How can we come to You as a pure bride if not in the righteousness of a Substitute? We have only one Man who was not rebellious. He suffered for us. He set His heart toward the perfect obedience that you require, and He was not put to shame. You have been His strength, and He is now our hope. We will fear You and obey You. We will walk by the light that You have provided us in Him.