The Messiah in Isaiah Bible Study
Isaiah Chapter 50: The Calvary Road
by I Gordon
 ↩ In Israel's law if a man was going to divorce his wife because of adultery or something else there was a certificate of divorce that he had to give her. (See Deut 24:1-4). So this chapter starts off and it's God speaking, reminding them of a time when He actually gave them a certificate of divorce and they were separated. (See Jer 3:8 for this reference). Hmmm... now why bring that up now you ask?
 ↩ J. Vernon McGee writes: "When I came" - when did Jehovah come directly to His people, not through His prophets but Himself, to Israel and expect such a welcome? It was not when He descended on Mount Sinai to give them the Mosaic Law. He looked for no welcome then, but insisted that they keep their distance. But He came again as a man, a humble man, and there was no reception of Him at all. Israel did not welcome Him at His birth; they didn't receive Him when He began His ministry. They rejected and killed their Messiah. Simon Peter on the Day of Pentecost put it like this: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it" (Act 2:22-24). God makes it very clear that because they rejected their Messiah, they have been set aside.
 ↩ We had a friend of the family called Sue and she was a pretty strong willed Dutch lady. Now God was really starting to draw her. She wasn't a Christian, but God was really starting to speak to her and she had heard the Gospel message a few times but she wasn't yet willing to become a Christian. One time she was invited to go to hear a preacher who gave the Gospel message and once again God was speaking to her heart. The preacher gave an invitation at the end to those who wanted to become a Christian to come forward. She could feel God speaking but decided not to go forward and just stayed where she was. She would recount later that she heard the Holy Spirit say to her 'Sue, if you do not respond this time you will not hear this message again'. And she bolted up to the front (as you would!) When God calls your name we need to respond. So Jesus was saying in this passage 'why when I came why was there no one to receive Me. When I called why was there no one to answer?'
 ↩ I was thinking about this for my own life when God had spoken a word in season to sustain me. Probably the most vivid I remember was back in 1997. I had been sick for a few months and no one really knew why and I just wasn't getting well. I went to this health practitioner as I also had little patches of skin that had gone white, nothing major, but I asked the practitioner 'what do you think these are?' The practitioner replied that they are nothing to worry about, gave me a long medical name and then said that it is Michael Jackson disease'. Oh okay was my reply. And she didn't say too much about it. So I went home and thought to myself - 'I've got Michael Jackson's disease.' Suddenly you have all these thoughts of your face going white or going real patchy. And I literally, because of my sickness at the time (I think!), went to a real extreme in my mind as to what this all meant. I sat in the lounge, facing the wall, and I built this thing up to be a real giant. It was something that was just too big for me. I was thinking I was going to lose all the pigment in my skin, especially in my face and that I could no longer go outside... And I like going outside! I enjoy the sun! I started thinking I am going to have to cover up or maybe I am going to be all blotchy and it's going to be really horrible. I built it up into something really huge and I had no rest, I couldn't trust, I couldn't walk by faith. I was trying to, but I just couldn't. I remember going to bed that night and just saying to God 'Lord if you don't speak, I feel as if I am flippin' out a little bit here, I really need to hear from You'. I didn't hear anything that night and I did sleep thankfully but as soon as I awoke in the morning I heard a voice and it was as clear as if someone was saying it to me here. Yet, I don't think it was audible. But I just heard 'Psalm 34' and it was so clear that I said out loud 'what verse?' and He said '5'. Well... I was up out of bed pretty quickly that morning I can tell you! Probably more so than ever before! And I looked up Psalm 34 and it said: 'They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed.'
And basically that had been my biggest fear, that my face would be blotchy or that I wouldn't be able to go outside. It was just God, because straight away those fears were relieved. He knew how to sustain the weary with a word. As a side note, cos I know you are deeply concerned, I didn't become the 'elephant man'. Nothing came of the white patches which disappeared and all of my fears were for nothing. Like normal!
 ↩ I was thinking about this. You may not be aware, but having bought my first home recently I have become somewhat of an expert gardener in the past couple of months. I've been planting quite a few little bits and pieces for the first time ever. Now I want to see them grow and I literally go out there most days to have a little look at them because I want to see something happen. I have got some loganberries, blueberries, boysenberries (can you spot a wee-pattern here?) and anything else that is sweet and nice. Now nothing seemed to be happening, so I changed the soil a little bit, put some peat in but nothing happened. I got some sheep manure from a friend and put that around. Still nothing happened. Bought some worm tea, poured that all over it - got out there willing them to grow but alas... nothing. The fact is that it is the middle of winter and they don't grow, they basically go to sleep. :o) Ok, so maybe I'm not the expert gardener just yet! They go dormant, their roots are not taking anything up... it's just not the right time. But when God speaks He not only knows exactly what we need to hear, but He knows exactly the right time to give it as well. He speaks the right word in the right season, when we are capable of taking it in and using it. (Unlike my valiant though utterly useless attempts at trying to will my berries to grow!)
 ↩ The context has Peter saying in effect - 'Lord you are not going to have difficulty, you are not going to have rejection, you are not going to have trouble and strife and struggling. No that's not going to happen to you Lord'. And Jesus had to take him aside and rebuke him and say 'You haven't got God's mind at the moment, you are just thinking like a man. And that's how we think isn't it? We would all like not to have any trouble or strife or struggles or anything like that, but that's man's thoughts. And yet God's thoughts are that there is something really beneficial through all of that. Something that He can actually produce, and that is why Jesus in this context said that 'If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me'. It's quite likely that we are not going to be literally crucified, like Jesus was. Yet he was saying You still need to take up that cross, you still need at times to go down that path of difficulty, darkness and trial. Paths where maybe God's will and your will clash! You want to go one way and God is asking you to go this way. That is the context of this scripture. Charles Spurgeon said it like this:
'Doth that man love his Lord who would be willing to see Jesus wearing a crown of thorns while for himself he craves a chaplet of laurel? Shall Jesus ascend to His throne by the cross and do we expect to be carried there on the shoulders of applauding crowds? Be not so vain in your imagination, count ye the cost and if you are not willing to bear Christ's cross go away to your farm and your merchandise and make the most of them but only let me whisper this in your ear. 'What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loose his own soul?'
 ↩ When we get to the New Testament we know that Paul said that the nation of Israel had been hardened in part until the full number of the Gentiles come in. But then after that all Israel will be saved. It goes on to say that is 'because the giftings and calling of God are irrevocable'. Or as another version says 'The giftings and calling of God are without repentance'. This means that God does not change His mind about those that He calls. Yes, they may go through a long period of separation but ultimately, like we saw in chapter 49, God will bring them back. That's part of Jesus' mission as we saw in the Isaiah 49 study.