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June 18: Isaiah 50
Deuteronomy 23; Psalms 112–113; Isaiah 50; Revelation 20
God reminds His people of His mercy in discipline. They think Him harsh, yet He has not divorced them (1). God sent away their “mother” - Jerusalem - in discipline for their sins, not because He is leaving them forever. The more important question is why has no one turned in repentance, in response to His merciful discipline (2-3; see Rom. 2:4)?
Now God’s Servant continues to speak. (See yesterday’s reading, too.) Who is this Servant? Is it Isaiah? Is it Israel? Scholars debate this, but I believe there is no doubt. He sustains the weary (4); he is in no way rebellious (5); he turns the other cheek before the authorities, giving his back for stripes (6).
Despite what faces him, he will set his face like flint to his destiny and mission (7; see Luke 9:51). He will be condemned, yet God will vindicate him (8); God will help him (9).
The question is not who is God’s Servant - the question is not who is “Israel.” The question is who is with him, or, as Paul would later put it, who is “in him”? The true people of God, the authentic Israel, are no longer that way by birth, by ethnic descent. They are those who fear God and obey the voice of His Servant (10; see John 10:27).
They realize that they walk in darkness, and they repent of their groping (Acts 17:27). Instead they trust in the name of the LORD, and rely on his God (10).