Isaiah 50

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 5, 2000

Introduction

As weíve progressed through Isaiah, weíve begun to see more and more glimpses of the coming Messiah. Weíll see Him a little more clearer this week.

:1-3 Israelís problems are their own fault

:1 Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away?

Godís ideas about divorce:

(Deu 24:1-4 KJV) When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. {2} And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. {3} And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; {4} Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Under Moses, God gave an allowance for people to divorce. It was in a case of "uncleanness" found in the other person. Once you divorced, if you married and then divorced again, you couldnít go back to the first spouse.

Jesus clarified (Mat. 19:1-11) that the law of divorce was only given because of the hardness of the peopleís hearts. Godís desire is for marriage to be permanent. Yet He understands that there are going to be times when you just canít put up with it anymore. Jesus gave the exception of "fornication" (any kind of sex outside of the marriage) as a reason for divorce.

I believe that God also gives an allowance for divorce when your spouse has left you (1Cor. 7:15). Godís desire is always that you be the last one to leave a marriage, not the first one out the door. Donít fall into the trap of getting mad at each other and starting to use the threat of divorce. Youíll not get anywhere in your marriage if one of you is starting to take the threat seriously.

Lesson

God has been divorced.

Though I donít think this particular verse is saying that God had divorced the people, the fact is, God has been through divorce.

God understands what itís like to be divorced. He divorced the Northern Kingdom of Israel when He allowed the Assyrians to conquer them and take them away:

(Jer 3:8 KJV) And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

The picture is that of God being married to two wives, divorcing one of them (the Northern Kingdom of Israel) for adultery.

Sometimes a church can be a cruel place for a divorced person. You will hear lots of sermons about strengthening your marriage and about staying married. And for some, when their marriage ends in divorce, they often feel like failures and outcasts.

God understands. Heís been divorced too.

Yet even though God understands divorce, His desire is always for the original marriage to stay intact:

(Jer 3:1 KJV) They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.

God seems willing to disobey His own law (Deut. 24:4) in wanting the Northern Kingdom to come back to Him.

:1 Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves Ö

God is saying that the people are going to be making some excuses for their situation, possibly their being taken captive to Babylon. They will be saying that God kind of got tired of His marriage to Israel and divorced the poor woman, or that God somehow found Himself in debt and decided to sell off some of His children into slavery to pay His bills. Yet the truth is that the people are in their mess as a result of their own sin.

Lesson

Stop making excuses

This is a perfect picture of the person who is always coming up with reasons why bad things happen to them.

Sometimes our excuses are actually the truth.

Illustration

Going For The Juggler

A juggler, driving to his next performance, is stopped by the police. "What are these matches and lighter fluid doing in your car?" asks the cop. "Iím a juggler and I juggle flaming torches in my act." "Oh yeah?" says the doubtful cop. "Lets see you do it." The juggler gets out and starts juggling the blazing torches masterfully. A couple driving by slows down to watch. "Wow," says the driver to his wife. "Iím glad I quit drinking. Look at the test theyíre giving now!"

Though my excuses may sometimes be the truth, sometimes I just feel so bad about myself that I feel like I just couldnít handle the truth of knowing that my problems are my own fault. And so I find excuses.

Sometimes the problem is my fault, and Iím not going to get anywhere in life until I get to the place where I admit it and do something about it.

:2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? Ö

(Isa 50:2 NLT) Was I too weak to save you? Is that why the house is silent and empty when I come home? Is it because I have no power to rescue? No, that is not the reason! For I can speak to the sea and make it dry! I can turn rivers into deserts covered with dying fish.

:4-9 The Servant will suffer

: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:

The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples (NAS)

The Messiah is speaking and saying that He would be a "learner", a "disciple", for the purpose of learning how to encourage those who are weary.

The goal of learning should be to love others Ė

(1 Tim 1:5 NASB) But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

We see this fulfilled in Jesus when He said,

Mt 11:28-30 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

Lesson

Do you know how to encourage others?

Do you have an eye out to see those who are "weary"? Are you aware of those who need encouragement?

Illustration

Dying Preacher

An old preacher was dying. He sent a message for his banker and his lawyer, both church members, to come to his home. When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the preacher held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The preacher grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled, and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything. Both the banker and lawyer were touched and flattered that the preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled; the preacher had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them. They both remembered his many long, uncomfortable sermons about greed, covetousness, and avaricious behavior that made them squirm in their seats. Finally, the banker said, "Preacher, why did you ask us to come?" The old preacher mustered up his strength and then said weakly, "Jesus died between two thieves, and thatís how I want to go."

Funny story, but the truth is, the preacher wasnít very encouraging.

Illustration

(1 Sam 23:14-18 KJV) And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. {15} And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood. {16} And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. {17} And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. {18} And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

Jonathan and David were best friends. Jonathan was the son of Davidís enemy, King Saul. When Jonathan found out that his dad was trying to kill David, Jonathan went and found David and encouraged him. He "strengthened his hand in God".

:4 he wakeneth morning by morning

Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. (NLT)

The picture is of a teacher waking his pupils up to teach them their lessons. The idea is that of God getting Jesus up every morning to teach Him and instruct Him in the day ahead. Mark records,

Mr 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Lesson

Daily Devotions.

I think you could make a case that God likes to speak to people early in the morning.

Jer 7:25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending [them]:

Whenever I talk about having daily Quiet Times with the Lord, I will have a few folks tell me that they just arenít "morning people" and that they have their time with the Lord in the evening. Hey, anytime is better than no time!

But I think thereís a principle here that we shouldnít rush past. God wants to be the One who sets your agenda for the day. He wants to set the tone for how the day will go. He wants to give you each dayís "marching orders".

You may not be a "morning person", but time is always relative. If your work demanded that you start coming in fifteen minutes earlier each day, would you quit because youíre not a "morning person", or would you just make the adjustment? Consider giving God that extra fifteen minutes in the morning.

What is a "Quiet Time"?

Itís spending time with God. Itís spending time talking to God, praising Him, telling Him whatís on your heart. Itís spending time listening to God by reading His Word. I would encourage you NOT to just flip open your Bible and read, but take a book of the Bible and read it from beginning to end. Try getting on a regular schedule and read through your entire Bible.

Lesson

Early wakeup calls.

I guess it must be something that "old folks" do, but Iím finding that the older I get, the less often I sleep through the entire night. More and more, I will find myself waking up in the middle of the night (like 2:00 a.m.) and not being able to go back to sleep.

Consider this: Could it be that God is waking you up to spend time with Him? Donít rush to turn on the TV or get a book out and read. Open your Bible. Sit and pray. Spend time with the Lord. Donít panic about missing out on your sleep. You will find that God can speak to you much clearer when itís quieter and there are less distractions.

:5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious

We talked about this back in Isaiah 48:8. The "opened ear" has to do with a servant who has willingly chosen to serve his master for life.

The Jews were not allowed to enslave other Jews for life. A Jewish master was required to offer freedom to his servants at the end of six years. But sometimes a servant didnít want to leave his master. In that case, he would tell his master he didnít want to leave, and the master would pierce the servantís ear and give him an earring (Ex. 21:5-6). It showed everyone that you were a willing servant.

The Messiah is speaking here in verse 5. In saying that God "opened" His ear, Jesus is saying that He was a willing servant of the Father. Even though Jesus was equal with God (Phil. 2:6), Jesus willingly placed Himself under the Fatherís authority.

Jesusí submission to the Father was demonstrated in His sufferingÖ

: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.

The beard was a sign of respect; to pluck it out was one of the greatest insults you could give to another (2Sam. 10:4).

These things were fulfilled in Jesusí life.

(Mat 27:28-30 KJV) And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. {29} And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! {30} And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

Lesson

Submissionís test

We can talk a lot about being submissive to those in authority, but the real test is whether we will be submissive when it becomes unpleasant for us.

When my wife asks me to kiss her, I have no problem submitting. But when she interrupts me while Iím playing a computer game and asks me to take out the trash, thatís when I have difficulty.

Was it the Fatherís will for Jesus to be beaten?

(Isa 53:10 KJV) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin Ö

It wasnít a pleasant thing for Jesus to be beaten, but it was Godís will, and Jesus submitted to the Father. Godís will is not for us to only submit when it pleases us, but when it pleases Him.

Jesus expressed that He wished there were some other way, but He was still willing to do whatever God asked Him to do, praying,

(Luke 22:42 KJV) Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Donít be afraid to do the things that God has laid before you. Follow Jesusí example.

(1 Pet 2:21-23 KJV) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: {22} Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: {23} Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Lesson

He loves you.

Why did Jesus do all this? Why did He endure such suffering? At the very heart of His motives to submit to the Father was His love for us.

The Bible says that our sins have separated us from God (Isa. 59:2). The Bible says that for us to know God, our sins have to be paid for, and thatís why Jesus died, to pay for our sins (2Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:25). Jesus didnít have to pay for our sins, but He did it anyway because He loves us. Jesus said,

(John 15:13 KJV) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

The Bible says,

(Rom 5:6-8 NLT) When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. {7} Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. {8} But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

(1 John 3:16a NLT) We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us.

:7 therefore have I set my face like a flint

When God was preparing Ezekiel for his ministry, He warned Ezekiel that the people would be stubborn and would not pay attention to him. Yet God also promised Ezekiel that He would make Ezekiel just as stubborn as they were. God said He would make Ezekielís forehead

(Ezek 3:9 NIV) Ölike the hardest stone, harder than flint

Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. (NLT)

:9 Behold, the Lord GOD will help me

Lesson

Jesus lived by faith.

Though Jesus was truly God in the flesh, He was also truly human. And in His human nature, He had to learn to trust that God would take care of Him. He had to trust that the Lord GOD would help him.

Things didnít always look too good for Jesus. At the end of His ministry, all His disciples turned their backs on Him. The crowd that had adored Him earlier in the week turned to shout "Crucify Him!". He was beaten and mocked by the very people He had created. Though He was innocent, He was condemned to a horrible death on a cross.

How could Jesus continue to face all this when it looked so helpless?

He trusted that God would take care of Him.

He trusted in God, even though He couldnít see how it would turn out. Thatís what it means to "live by faith". It means that you learn to trust in something you donít see, not just for the sake of some kind of "mind over matter" junk, but because you are trusting in Godís promises.

:10-11 Messiah tells us to trust God

:10 Öthat walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust Ö

The idea seems to be that sometimes we who are following the Lord will seem to go through a time of darkness, a time of uncertainty. We need to be careful to stay close to the Lord and keep trusting in what He has already told us.

One commentary (JFB) writes, "God never had a son who was not sometimes in the dark. For even Christ, His only Son, cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?""

Lesson

Trust Him in the dark.

Itís the "dark" times when we arenít really sure what to do. Faith is learning to trust God and His ways, even when we canít see how it will work out.

Illustration

(Heb 11:7 KJV) By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Noah was "in the dark" when it came to things like flood and rain. Those things had never happened before. Yet Noah trusted what God had told him, and built a boat anyway.

Illustration

Have you ever been on an unfamiliar road in the dark? There are times when Iíve driven to a retreat and gotten there after sunset, and you are driving along unfamiliar roads out in the middle of nowhere, without street lights or familiar landmarks.

Sometimes youíll get a local citizen on your tail, riding your bumper, wanting you to go faster. But you canít go any faster through the winding curves and switchbacks than your headlights can see ahead.

But if you ever want to get to the retreat, you certainly donít want to just stop. Even if itís slow, you need to just keep driving.

Elisabeth Elliot said, "True faith goes into operation when there are no answers."

:11 Ö walk in the light of your fire Öye shall lie down in sorrow.

There are some folks who would rather make their own light rather than walk in Godís light. Theyíd rather make up their own rules for life rather than following Godís rules.

(Isa 50:11 NLT) But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon lie down in great torment.

Lesson

Get the light right.

They say you should be careful about buying a new car at night. The color of the car is going to look a lot different in the sunlight than it will in dealerís parking lot lights.

One of the things youíll see employed at Disneyland is a careful use of lighting on the rides. If you use a lot of ultraviolet lights, you can hide a lot of stuff by painting it black. Do you remember "black lights"? Did you use to have those psychedelic posters in your bedroom that looked really cool when you turned off the regular lights and just had your black light on? Things look different in a different light.

Sometimes people become aware of their great spiritual need. But rather than turning on the right light, they make up their own "light". They cook up their own set of rules about what they think God might want from them.

Be sure to let Godís light show you what to do.

(Psa 119:105 KJV) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.