Devotional Commentary on Isaiah 50


Isaiah describes the Lord’s interview with the feeble remnant by saying that He did not write a certificate of divorce as is outlined in Deuteronomy 24:1.


The remnant or bride of God was not divorced. Neither was the sons sold for debt that God had, which was the custom also in the Law of Hammurabi 117-119 in the Ancient Near East. “Behold you [sons and daughters of God] were sold for your iniquities and for your transgressions your mother was sent away” (v. 1).


M. L. Andreasen said in his 1928 Sabbath School Quarterly on Isaiah the same: “When Isaiah wrote this, God had not as yet put away His people, Israel. They deserved this treatment, but God was still merciful. Later on He did divorce Israel. Jer. 3: 8.


The preterist Delitzsch in Vol. II 1890 said on page 251: “The address is now no longer directed to Zion, but to her children.”


When the Lord came to the remnant Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to walk and talk with them, “why was there no man when I came? When I called, was there none to answer?” (v. 2a-b). Do they doubt the power of God to deliver and to ransom? (v. 2c-d).


Andreasen in 1928 page 26 indicated that “He offers the riches of heaven and men are not interested.”


Isaiah elaborated on God’s ability and power to dry up the sea and rivers (v. 2e-h).


One is almost inclined to sometimes in this chapter seek an application to Christ and His ministry but there are some strong indicators within the verses not to do so.


Delitzsch Vol. II 1890 page 253 was convinced that verses 2-3 refers to Christ: “Hence we say, Jehovah has come to His people in His servant. We know who, in actual historical fulfillment, this Servant of Jehovah was; it is He whom the New Testament also, especially in the Book of Acts (iii. 13, 26, iv. 27, 30), calls τòν παίδα το κυρίου.” [the Son of God]. For those who do not know F. Delitzsch, he is the Assyrian scholar par excellence, in the Victorian Period and early 20th century who was a preterist but at times he is honest and climbs out of preterism into historicism saying the same as Adventists are saying. Said an Assyrian critic of him one day to me: “Delitzsch was very creative” and he giggled. I did not know then what he meant. At times I almost wondered if he was first an Adventist who became something else later?


The one who is strengthened in this chapter is a disciple “the Lord has given me the tongue of disciples” (v. 4a). The role of the remnant is to “sustain the weary one with a Word” (v. 4b).


Every morning the Lord awakens the member of the remnant “to listen as a disciple” (v. 4d).


Ellen White said the same about Christ: “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Not for Himself, but for others, He lived and thought and prayed. From hours spent with God He came forth morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. Daily He received a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the early hours of the new day the Lord awakened Him from His slumbers, and His soul and His lips were anointed with grace, that He might impart to others. His words were given Him fresh from the heavenly courts, words that He might speak in season to the weary and oppressed. Ellen White, Christ's Object Lessons, p. 139, cited by M. L. Andreasen in his 1928 Sabbath School Quarterly on Isaiah page 27.


Similar to Ellen White is the preterist Delitzsch words in Vol. II 1890 page 254: “The servant of Jehovah here affords us a deep insight into His hidden life. The prophets receive revelations chiefly through the night, either in a dream or (like Zechariah) in ecstatic visions; here, however, the servant of Jehovah receives the divine revelations neither in dream [ ] nor in vision [ ], but as the antitype of Moses (Num. xii. 68), and thus also in this respect as a prophet like him (Deut. xviii. 1519), are fully awake with the clearest consciousness: "every morning" ([ ] as in xxviii. 19), therefore, after waking from his sleep, which is a direct merging of conscious life in God, without the intervention of the world of images constituting involuntary dream-life Jehovah draws near to him, awakens his ear (Cheyne takes this to be the inner ear, as in xlviii. 8), by giving him a sign that he may listen, and then takes him, as it were, into the school like a pupil, and teaches him what and how he is to preach.


This member of the remnant “was not disobedient nor did I turn back” (v. 5b-c). This is a victorious believer in the Substitutionary Christ. The Christ in him living thankfully for the Christ for him.


M. L. Andreasen said on verse 5 the following in 1928 in his Sabbath School Quarterly on Isaiah page 27: The ears of the true servant are always open, and those of the rebellious servant are closed. The true servant will hear the word and do it. The wicked servant will not hear.


Tribulation is the path of the faithful in this hostile world: “I gave My back to those who strike” (v. 6) which may sound to many like Christ in Matthew 26:67, but it is not the case. Paul was also beaten. Help for the suffering servant is coming from the Lord God “the Lord God helps me” (v. 7a). There is victory “and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (v. 7d). God is near when people accuse His apple of His eye, the remnant “He Who vindicates me is near” (v. 8a). “Who has a case against me. Let him [Satan] draw near to me” in the presence of Christ our Advocate in Heaven (v. 8b-d). We know it is not the Messiah since Paul in Romans 8:33 also interpreted verse 9 as the remnant.


M. L. Andreasen also asks us to look at Romans 8:33 and 34 in verse 9 on page 27 of his 1928 Sabbath School Quarterly on Isaiah.


Delitzsch felt that verse 6 referred to Christ as he indicated in Vol. II of his 1890 commentary page 255. He cited a type of Christ in Job 30:10; 17:6 and also Davidic Psalms 22:7; 49:8 as well as Jeremiah 20:7; 17:14-18 that he says “find in him [Christ] a perfect fulfillment.”


The ones who will condemn the remnant will “wear out like a garment, the moth will eat them” (v. 9c-d). The servant of the Lord in verse 10 is the faithful remnant as the vehicle of God’s revelation in this hostile world.


M. L. Andreasen said on page 27 of his 1928 Sabbath School Quarterly on Isaiah: Difficulties will arise that will try your faith and patience. Face them bravely. Look on the bright side. . . . Never let your courage fail. Never talk unbelief because appearances are against you. As you work for the Master, you will feel pressure for want of means, but the Lord will hear and answer your petitions for help. Let your language be, The Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. Isa. 50:7. If you make a mistake, turn your defeat into victory. The lessons that God sends will always, if well learned, bring help in due time. Put your trust in God: Pray much, and believe. Trusting, hoping, believing, holding fast the hand of Infinite Power, you will be more than conquerors. Ellen White, Testimonies, Vol. 7, p. 244.


Delitzsch says on verse 9 in Vol. II 1890 page 257: “The first word of Jehovah is addressed to those who fear Him, and who listen to the voice of His servant.”


The one who fears the Lord “obeys the voice of His servant”, the chosen ones to compile the Word of God or God’s Revelation to humanity. The converted ones are those who fear the Lord, obey the Words of His servant[s the prophets] and who use to walk in darkness and not the light (v. 10a-c). They should now trust in His name and “rely on his God” (v. 10d). In Ephesians 5:8 Paul also applied this to the remnant of his generation.


It may mean that the remnant must be so much soaked with the Word of God that when they present the Truth with the Spirit of God and spiritual maturity as fruit of that relationship, then what Yahweh says and His remnant are the same words and should be taken seriously. But, it is not a mechanical or automatic situation or a label or sticker, it can only be processionally earned by Spirit-filled involvement and biblical like-transformation. There are conditions to be met: the test of a true prophet or true church biblically measured. Truth spoken by the remnant should not go against truth spoken by Yahweh in His Word. “To the law and to the testimony, if they do not speak according to this they are not a people of daylight”.


A warning is sent out to the evil by Isaiah in the last verse 11. As James applied the verse in James 3:6, their tongues kindle a fire that will burn themselves in Hell and that is what this verse is saying “walk in the light of your fire and among the brands you have set ablaze. . .and you will lie down in torment” (v. 11c-d, f).


Ellen White said the same as cited by M. L. Andreasen in his 1928 Sabbath School Quarterly on Isaiah page 28: “The picture is that of a man in darkness, trying to get light by kindling a fire. All that results, however, is a few sparks. Refusing God's light, he tries to make one of his own. But he shall not succeed. "Many look to their ministers to bring the light from God to them, seeming to think this a cheaper way than to be at the trouble of going to God for it themselves. Such lose much. If they would daily follow Christ, and make Him their guide and counselor, they might obtain a clear knowledge of His will, and thus be gaining a valuable experience. For want of this very experience, brethren professing the truth walk in the sparks of others' kindling; they are unacquainted with the Spirit of God and have not a knowledge of His will, and are therefore easily moved from their faith. They are unstable, because they trusted in others to obtain an experience for them. Ample provisions have been made for every son and daughter of Adam to obtain individually a knowledge of the divine will, to perfect Christian character, and to be purified through the truth. God is dishonored by that class who profess to be followers of Christ, and yet have no experimental knowledge of the divine will or of the mystery of godliness.” Ellen White, Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 644.


Delitzsch argued that verses 1-3 is Yahweh speaking and the rest the servant including verse 9 and then at 11b Yahweh is closing with the words: “from My hand has this been.” The divine aspects of the servant is what Delitzsch is emphasizing (Delitzsch Vol. II 1890 page 257).

On this verse 11 Delitzsch further indicated that the evil will kindle fire not of divine wrath but the fire of wickedness, missiles are “their blasphemies and curses they hurl against the servant of Jehovah” (Delitzsch Vol. II 1890 page 257). My explanation here is that there is an eschatological last battle against the remnant explained in the Scripture where the Wicked comes against the remnant and the Warrior Messiah goes out to fight with fire [Hell] and extinguish them forever. That is the true meaning of “from My hand does this come to you [the wicked]” at that Hell event.

Delitzsch had the same idea as myself here when he said: But the destruction which they prepare for the servant of Jehovah becomes their own; they themselves are obliged to go into the burning fire and the fiery darts which they have kindled: the hand of Jehovah brings this about (cf. Mal. i. 9), suddenly reversing the former state of things; the fire of their rage becomes the fire of divine judgment, and this fire becomes their bed of pain.


Notice that Ellen White did not pull it through to the eschatological Hell fire. A criticism of myself and Delitzsch is in place here. Ellen White is correct since if one investigate Maleachi 1:9 and context where the same expression occurs of “this has come from Your hand” then it is not talking about the eschatological fire but about the kindling of fire in worship on the altar of the Lord in vain by the spiritually wicked people. Look again at Ellen White’s explanation above. She is the best explanation on this issue since that is what Maleachi is saying: If God does not desire us, in vain is our worship. If one does acts bona fide, God will not reject the person. If one acts mala fide God will not accept the person. Bona fide or mala fide only God and yourself reads the heart. Do not play with God. That is Ellen White’s message and also Maleachi 1 and probably then also the true understanding of Isaiah 50:11. Below is another statement by Ellen White also saying the same about the fire.


J. Mortyer the preterist is saying the same as Ellen White here in 1993 page 401: “Those who continue in their own way, dealing with life’s darkness by a ‘do-it-yourself’ remedy, are doomed”.


Some scholars thought that Isaiah 50 contains the 3rd Servant Song but that is not correct. They say the second one is in Isaiah 49 and the first one in Isaiah 42. There are also ones in Isaiah 45:4 and Isaiah 44:21 so that their numbering is not correct. These passages are mostly about the remnant of God who is to fulfill the role for God to spread the gospel in each generation. But the remnant is feeble and blind and deaf and in need of a Messiah Who is Perfect.


About the darkness in which the weeds of the remnant will find themselves in Ellen White wrote: “they cannot discern light from heaven, and will be inclined to accept a falsehood. This will affect the whole tenor of their thoughts, their decisions, their propositions, their counsels. The evidences that God has given are no evidence to them, because they have blinded their own eyes by choosing darkness rather than light. Then they will originate something they call light, which the Lord calls the sparks of their own kindling, by which they will direct their steps” (SDABC Vol. 7-A: 1147).


The preterist J. Mortyer said it similar to Ellen White in 1993 page 401: “The picture here is of people seeking to equip themselves, out of earthly resources, to deal with earth’s dark experiences.”



Dear God

We do not want to invent our own revelation when Revelation exists already. Your Word is clear to us that we should obey your prophets and in that we fear the Lord. This is the way we want to walk with You. Amen.