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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, October 11 2023

Contributor: Tobi Morakinyo

Last week's study on Chapter 49 revealed the profound prophecy of the Servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and His divine mission. It unveiled God's unfailing love and His promise to restore Israel, offering a message of hope for both the nation of Israel and the world at large. As such, this chapter concludes with a promise of salvation and vindication for Israel. Today, our focus is on Isaiah 50, which centers around three broad themes: Israel's feelings of abandonment and God's response, the revelation of the Servant's obedience, His ability to speak comforting words, and the unshakable confidence He maintains even in the face of suffering.

• God response to Israel’s sense of abandonment (Verses 1 – 3)
"1Thus 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. 2Wherefore, 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. 3I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering."

The people of Israel, in exile in Babylon, were likening themselves to a divorced wife, feeling forgotten and forsaken by God. Their emotion resembled that of a child whose father and mother are separated or divorced – a profound sense of abandonment. It was also likened to one who is sold to a creditor, a feeling of disownment. The Lord intervened, interrupting this line of thinking. He questioned their feelings and asked rhetorically for evidence to justify their perception. He went on to mention that these feelings (of separation, abandonment, and disownment) were based on their disobedience, iniquities, and transgressions. Due to the consequent separation, they had not responded to the summons of the Lord, as revealed in verse 2 – when He came, no one was there, and when He called, there was no response. In verse 2b, God posed two more rhetorical questions to Israel to question their choice to remain at distance: "Is my hand shortened in any way that it cannot redeem? Or do I lack the power to deliver?" (See also Isa 59:1-2). He proceeded to remind them of some of His exploits in the days of their fore-fathers including the parting of the sea (Exo 14:21); and the plaque of darkness (Exo. 10:21-23) to affirm to them He is still mighty to save.

These verses have a direct application to us as contemporary Christians. At times, we may experience similar feelings of separation, abandonment, and disownment during challenging periods. We must always remember that as long as we maintain a covenant relationship with God, He will never abandon us according to Isaiah 49:16: "Can a woman forget her nursing child or lack compassion for the son of her womb? Even if she could forget, I will not forget you! Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of my hands; your walls are continually
before me" . However, in those moments, it is essential to conduct a thorough examination of our hearts and spirits to ensure there is no sin (Psalms 139:23-24). And even if sin is found, God reaches out with His unconditional love, drawing us back to His side.

Sin creates a gulf between God and His people, and the longer we delay in repenting, the wider that gulf becomes. Yet, from His side, He continues to call.

• The Obedience of the Servant of the LORD: The tongue and ear of the learned (Verses 4-5)
“4The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned. 5The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.
It is interesting to observe that, having explored the cause and effect of Israel's negative emotions, the subsequent verses convey the words of the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, regarding His submission to the Lord GOD. The LORD God has endowed Him with the ability to speak wisely, offering timely words of comfort to those who are weary (see also Luke 4:18). He goes on to explain how this was achieved: (1) Through daily fellowship and a relationship characterized by attentive listening, similar to the learned. He speaks what He hears, as also revealed in John 12:49 -50: “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak”. Furthermore, this obedience is emphasized as He was not rebellious, which signifies a depth of compliance to GOD grand (see Philippians 2:5-11).

As Christians today, and especially as ministers, we can learn from this pattern. Active listening to God through an intimate relationship on a daily basis makes us effective instruments in God's hand. By seeking a deep and obedient relationship with God, we can better equip ourselves to offer words of encouragement and hope to those in need, just as Jesus did during His earthly ministry.

He who will speak with the tongue of the learned must learn to listen like the learned and obey what's heard.

• Marks of obedience of the Servant of the Lord, and confidence in the Lord God (Verses 6 – 9)
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. 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. 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. 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.

This prophecy details the Messiah's sufferings. We know Jesus was smitten on the back (Mark 15:15), on the face (Luke 22:63-65), and endured shame and spitting (Mark 15:19-20). Amid this suffering, humiliation, and pain, the Jesus exhibits unwavering confidence
in the help of the Lord GOD, similar to unshakable flint. His steadfastness rests on confident assurance in the ever-present Lord GOD and the certainty of divine assistance even amidst suffering.
As 21st-century Christians, this remains applicable—though not easy. We must retain our confidence in God amid trials, persecution, and temptations. Obedience may leave marks, not necessarily physical but as the "marks of the Lord Jesus," as Paul states in Galatians 6:17: "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."

• The Servant of the LORD challenges all to submit to the LORD as He does (verses 10 – 11)
In these verses, the Messiah speaks to His people and challenges them to fear the LORD and obey His Servant. Having exemplified obedience, He challenges Israel and extends this challenge to us as citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, urging us to obey the Lord God even when we are being smitten, spat upon, and maltreated, while despising all shame in obedience to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In verse 10, He addresses two groups of people: the first group consists of those who fear the LORD and obey the voice of the Servant, and the second group includes those who walk in darkness. Regardless, His admonishment was: trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon your God. In verse 11, this is a prophecy of the judgment that will befall those orchestrating strange fire amidst God's people.

This study emphasizes God's desire for a harmonious relationship with His people. While He does not condone sin, His will is that none should perish, but all should come to repentance. We have also learned that one who wishes to speak with the wisdom of the learned must learn to actively listen to God as the learned do and obey what is heard. Lastly, we've observed, as the Servant of the Lord modelled, that we must not be rebellious in regard to Kingdom principles, but rather live in obedience, even during challenging and difficult circumstances, some of which may leave their marks upon us. May God's grace and empowerment be upon us in Jesus' name.

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