Scripture reading – Isaiah 49; Isaiah 50

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Continuing our chronological study of the Scriptures, we come to Isaiah 49-50. While Isaiah’s prophetic ministry was focused primarily on Judah, the Southern Kingdom, you will find Isaiah 49 addressed all the children of Israel, both Israel in the north and Judah in the south.

Isaiah 49

We understand Isaiah was the man the LORD chose to speak and write his Word (“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,2 Peter 1:21); however, we find Isaiah writing the message of one who claimed, “The LORD hath called me” (Isaiah 49:1).

Who was this one who asserted He was not only “called” but named while He was in His mother’s womb? (Isaiah 49:1)

I propose it was the LORD Himself, Christ the Son of God. He summoned the “isles” (the far-flung nations of the earth) and revealed His Calling, Credentials, and Commission (Isaiah 49:1-13).

The Calling and Credentials of the Messiah (Isaiah 49:1-3)

Before He was born, He was called by God “from the womb” (Isaiah 49:1), and His name was given while He was yet in His mother’s womb (Luke 1:31; Matthew 1:21). Isaiah foretold the Messiah’s speech would be powerful and convicting, “like a sharp sword” (Isaiah 49:2a; Revelation 1:16; Hebrews 4:12). Before He was born, He was with God (“He hid me,” Isaiah 49:2b). The Messiah was God’s servant (I believe “Israel” in verse 3 is not solely a reference to the nation but also to Christ), He was appointed to glorify God the Father (Isaiah 49:3).

The Calling and Credentials of the Messiah

The Complaint of the Messiah (Isaiah 49:4)

Yet, the rebellion and rejection of Israel seemed that the LORD had “laboured in vain…[and] spent [His]strength for nought, and in vain” (Isaiah 49:4). Nevertheless, the Messiah would desire to fulfill the work and the will of His heavenly Father (Isaiah 49:4b) and “bear [the] iniquities” of His people (Isaiah 53:11).


The Pre-incarnation and Commission of the Messiah (Isaiah 49:5-13)

Isaiah 49:5 reminds us that the Messiah was commissioned to be the servant of the LORD while He was in His mother’s womb (Isaiah 49:5). Before He was born, He was appointed to call Israel back to the LORD (Isaiah49:5-6a). He was pre-destined to be “a light to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 49:6b; John 14:6; 8:12) and bring salvation to all who would receive Him “unto the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6b; Romans 10:9-13). The Messiah would be “the Redeemer of Israel, and [the LORD’s] Holy One” (Isaiah 49:7a). Yet, He would be rejected, and His people would despise and abhor Him (Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 53:3-7; Mark 15).

Christ was rejected at His first coming. However, Isaiah foretold the day would come when He would be seen in His heavenly glory, saying, “Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the Lord that is faithful, And the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee” (Isaiah 49:7b; Philippians 2:10-11; Mark 16:19).


God’s Love for His People (Isaiah 49:14-21)

In captivity, the children of Israel would complain, whining, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14). Isaiah, though, answered their moans and portrayed the LORD as a loving mother who would not forget “the son of her womb” (Isaiah 49:15). He promised the LORD had engraved Israel “upon the palms of [His] hands” (Isaiah 49:16). Though the “walls” of Jerusalem were shattered following Babylon’s siege, the LORD promised, “Thy walls are continually before me” (Isaiah 49:16).

The LORD encouraged captive Israel to anticipate the day He would restore the nation to her land, and her return would be as glorious as the coming of a bride (Isaiah 49:18). So many would return that the land would not be able to contain them (Isaiah 49:19-21). In a work only the LORD could do, Isaiah prophesied the Gentiles would not only be stirred to set the Jews at liberty, but they would bless and assist them (Isaiah 49:22-23).

The Humiliation and Ministry of Christ, the Messiah

Isaiah 50


A Loving, Forgiving Husband (Isaiah 50:1-3) 

Isaiah had compared the LORD to a loving mother who nurses, loves, and cares for Israel in Isaiah 49:15-17. In Isaiah 50, the LORD described Himself as a loving, forgiving husband. Israel was guilty of breaking their covenant with the LORD, yet He promised He would not divorce them as His people (Isaiah 49, 50:1-3).

By sin and disobedience, the children of Israel became slaves to sin and broke their covenant with God; yet, He did not divorce Israel (Isaiah 50:1). He had the power to dry up the Red Sea (Isaiah 50:2; Exodus 14:1-31), and when they were athirst in the wilderness, He provided rivers of water (Isaiah 50:2).  The LORD promised He would redeem His people (Isaiah 50:2a).


The Humiliation and Ministry of Christ, the Messiah (Isaiah 50:4-11)

Isaiah 50:4-11 gives us a prophetic portrait of the two-fold ministry of Christ. His heavenly Father would teach Him to “speak a word in season to him that is weary” (Isaiah 50:4-5) and suffer for them (Isaiah 50:6). Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be beaten (“I gave my back to the smiters,” Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:26, 30), and His beard would be “plucked off” (Isaiah 50:6a). He would be shamed by those who spat upon Him (Isaiah 50:6b; Matthew 26:67).

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would look to His Father for help, strength, and favor (Isaiah 50:7a). Though He would suffer affliction for our sins, Christ would be obedient and accept His suffering without shame (Isaiah 50:7b). He would trust the LORD to vindicate Him for His sorrows (Isaiah 50:8).


Closing thoughts –

Though Isaiah 49-50 is not as well known or quoted as often as Isaiah 53, we have seen the prophecies of the person and nature of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. From His conception, He was named and commissioned as the Savior and Redeemer.

Those who fear and revere the LORD may find themselves in dark places (Isaiah 50:10), but when those times come, we should “trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God” (Isaiah 50:10).

Trust the LORD and lean on Him for support when you find yourself in a dark place.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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