Israel’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience
Thus says the Lord:
“Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce,
with which I sent her away?
Or which of my creditors is it
to whom I have sold you?
Behold, for your iniquities you were sold,
and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
“The people of Israel in exile are likening themselves to a divorced wife, forgotten and forsaken of God. The Lord interrupts this kind of thinking, and breaks into it with a challenge to His people, saying: ‘Where is the bill of divorcement? Produce it. Produce the bill and show me where I divorced you.’ But Israel cannot do it. Of course she cannot find it, because He has never given it to her. God cannot divorce those whom He has taken into covenant relationship with Himself.”
“Divorce accuses unfailing love of failure; slavery accuses sovereign power of weakness and sovereign resources of inadequacy. The truth, however, is very different, for it was all a matter of due reward of sins.”
–J. Alec Motyer
2 Why, when I came, was there no man;
why, when I called, was there no one to answer?
“Here the Lord compares Himself to a man and father of a household who is treated shamefully by his own wife and children. When he came home, there was no one to welcome him and when he called, no one answered him. Hence, He who had the right to all their respect was treated as one without any rights.”
Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a desert;
their fish stink for lack of water
and die of thirst.
3 I clothe the heavens with blackness
and make sackcloth their covering.”
Spurgeon relates this to the crucifixion: “The last miracle recorded here, namely, that of covering the heavens with sackcloth, was performed by our Lord even when he was in his death agony. We read that, at high noon, the sun was veiled, and there was darkness over all the land for three black hours. Wonder of wonders, he who hung bleeding there had wrought that mighty marvel! The sun had looked upon him hanging on the cross, and, as if in horror, had covered its face, and traveled on in tenfold night. The tears of Jesus quenched the light of the sun. Had he been wrathful, he might have put out its light for ever; but his love not only restored that light, but it has given to us a light a thousand times more precious, even the light of everlasting life and joy.”
4 The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
6 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.
This prophecy speaks in chilling detail of the sufferings of the Messiah. We know that Jesus was beaten on the back (Mark 15:15). We know Jesus was beaten on the face (Luke 22:63-65). We know that Jesus was mocked and spat upon (Mark 15:19-20).
7 But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
Let him come near to me.
9 Behold, the Lord God helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire,
and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand:
you shall lie down in torment.
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