Theme: The reason for the rejection of Israel: Israel’s rejection of Christ
Israel’s rejection of Christ is the real hurdle that they must get over before there can be blessing for them. He came as their Messiah; He actually was one of them. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). He came to His own people, and His own people did not receive Him.
Thus 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 [Isa. 50:1].
Under the Mosaic Law (see Deut. 24:1) a man could put away his wife on the slightest pretext. A cruel and hardhearted man would take advantage of this to get rid of his wife. God asks Israel if they know on what grounds He set them aside. Certainly God is not cruel or brutal. Israel is spoken of as the wife of Jehovah—this is the theme of Hosea. It was not a whim of God that caused Israel to be set aside, but God makes it very clear that their sin brought about their rejection.
Wherefore, 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 [Isa. 50:2].
“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” (Acts 2:22–24). God makes it very clear that because they rejected their Messiah, they have been set aside.
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: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine car to hear as the learned [Isa. 50:4].
The title by which Christ, the perfect Servant, addresses God is revealing. It is “Jehovah Adonai.” The Lord Jesus Christ made Himself known to His people as “Jehovah Adonai.” He came meek and lowly to do the Father’s will.
“He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned” means the Lord Jesus was studying the Word of God. The question is asked, What did the Lord Jesus do the first thirty years of His life? Generally the answer is that He worked as a carpenter. But that is only half the truth. The other half is that He studied the Word of God. How tremendous! If He needed to study the Word of God, what about you? What about me? I think we need to get with it!
It is nonsense to say, “Oh, I believe the Bible from cover to cover; I will defend it with my life,” when you don’t study it! If God has spoken between the pages of Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21, then somewhere between God has a word for you and for me. If God is speaking to us, we ought to listen.
The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back [lsa. 50:5].
This speaks of the Lord’s true submission in His crucifixion. In Exodus 21:1–6 we are told that when a servant wanted to become a permanent servant, his master would bore or pierce a hole in his ear. “Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever” (Exod. 21:6). He could wear an earring after that, and I am convinced that he did. It indicated that he was a slave for life to his master.
Now the reason he would become a slave forever is twofold. First, he loved his master; and second, he had married a slave girl and he refused to go without her.
Do you see how this was applied to the Lord Jesus? The psalmist, referring to this custom, wrote, “… mine ears hast thou opened …” (Ps. 40:6). Now notice how this is quoted in Hebrews 10:5: “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” In the psalm it says, “mine ears hast thou opened,” and in Hebrews it says, “a body hast thou prepared me.” When the Lord Jesus came down to this earth and went to the cross, His ear wasn’t “opened” or “digged”; He was given a body, and that body was nailed to a cross. He has taken a glorified body bearing nail prints back to heaven. He did more than have his ear bored through with an awl; He gave His body to be crucified because He loved us and would not return to heaven without us!
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 [Isa. 50:6].
This was literally fulfilled when Jesus was arrested. Matthew, Mark, and John all record the fact that He was spit upon, scourged, buffeted, and smitten. This is something we don’t like to think about and would like to pass over, but it was literally fulfilled.
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God [Isa. 50:10].
This is the wooing word. The Holy Spirit speaks a soothing and imploring word to trust and rest in God’s Servant.
He turns from this and gives a warning word:
Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow [Isa. 50:11].
First it is the wooing word as He implores them; then He gives a warning word to those who walk in the light of their own fire, rejecting the One who is the light of the world.
Some time ago a man said to me, “McGee, I heard you on the radio, and I disagree with you about salvation. Let me tell you what I think about it.” Well, he was ready to build a fire, and he wanted both of us to sit there and warm ourselves by his fire. I knew it was a phony fire, which would give off no heat or light. So I frankly said to him, “I don’t mean to be ugly or rude, but I don’t want to hear what you think, because what you think and what I think are quite meaningless. It is what God says that we need to know.” And we need to walk in the light of the Lord Jesus. He is the Light of the World. If we reject Him who is the Light of the World, then we generally walk in the light of our own little fire down here. The Holy Spirit gives this warning: You will lie down by that little fire of yours in sorrow, which means you will be eternally lost.
McGee, J. Vernon: Thru the Bible Commentary. electronic ed. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1981, S. 3:304-306